There are few people who would ever argue that education in the United States is exactly as good as it should be. There are fewer still who would say that there is no way to improve the quality of the schools, the classrooms and even the teachers in most areas of the country. Still, the problem lays when you start digging deeper and actually trying to find out where you can improve and how you can go about doing it.
National school testing is one way that has been used for quite some time to at least give our elected officials a way to judge how one area of the country or state is doing compared to all others but when we use that as an end all and a be all we miss valuable data. Having testing requirements and understanding what they mean for each school is not always a cut and dry area of the educational field. It becomes even less cut and dry when you start talking about the numerous different outside influences that can affect everyone who is involved in the educational process. If teachers know there are tests out there which make it virtually impossible to score high on these national tests they will either work even harder to meet the standards or simply surrender and pronounce it a futile effort.
When the teachers begin to accept a sense of fatalism, it isn’t long before everyone else involved from the school administrations on down to the school boards and the parents and students themselves decide it is a lost cause. When the educational habitat becomes one that is toxic for all involved no learning and certainly no improving at even the most basic levels is accomplished. Instead you have a system that begins to fold in on itself.