While it might seem that education should be devoid of politics, it is actually not true. Most of the decisions that influence the educational system are partisan, but not all. Core requirements and budgets are two of the most frequently debated matters. Here is how politics affect the field of education in the United States.
One of the hotly debated topics in the last decade has been the implementation of the Common Core State Standards Initiative. The idea, Common Core for short, is that the performance of students will be improved by governmental standards being placed on teachers.
It is the foundation for this legislation that politics must affect rules to improve education. Sponsored by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, it was established to create a base set of minimum standards for education.
There are as many professionals in support of Common Core as there are those who adamantly oppose the concept. Just the fact that the entire structure of the educational curriculum in the United States is mandated by legislation clearly indicates a strong presence of politics over education.
The next aspect of education that is closely associated with politics is the school budget. While there are private institutions that do not rely on government funding, most of the students in America attend public schools.
These schools receive much, if not all, of their operating funds based on a legislated budget. Some of these monies are legislated at the state level and others come from federal funds. The most important part of this picture is that the amounts designated for education are debated across the political aisle.
At the national level, there is a dedicated department entrusted with overseeing education in the United States. The United States Department of Education has a specific branch in charge of the budget process at the federal level. Schools must have money to operate and these monies are legislated through a political process.
These are the two most evident associations between education and politics. There have been many others over the decades. Segregation, or school diversity, is another area where politics plays a vital role.
Anyone who might think politics doesn’t affect every student would be mistaken. Legislators make decisions on behalf of all students. Two of the most important decisions they make are what is taught, and how much money is available to teach them.