Just kidding (or am I). Seriously though, this is what I was assigned:
"Select a current public policy issue, research both sides of the issue, and summarize your findings in your essay. Next, take a position on the issue and defend that position. Also include in your essay how civic participation (voter participation, voter registration, lobbying, membership in interest groups, etc) affects the policy issue you chose and how it can influence the decision making process. Conclude your assessment by explaining which level government would be best to solve the issue."I talked to a family friend who teaches, and read up on multiple arguments on the opposing viewpoints in context website. I've come down to some basic details:
* Private schools: Offer "better" education, but also take rich and influential parents away from public schools. This leads them to disapprove of paying taxes for an institution which they do not use (which is understandable), the same goes for middle class families using charter schools.
* More funding: Schools need more money to afford a better teaching environment, this involves hiring more teachers, decreasing class sizes, and making a more engaging academic atmosphere (field trips, labs, guest speakers, better technology, etc).
* A focus on younger kids: The teacher I talked about told me this, and as heartbroken as it makes me feel, I agree with it: "The focus on making a productive student out of a child should be early on, as in if they aren't on the standard by sixth grade then you might as well give up." Personally, I feel that it isn't the teacher's fault that a fourth grader can't read Magic School Bus or that a high school junior struggles with reading Goosebumps books, it's the fact that the parent(s) never read to the kids when they were younger, or never tried hard to teach them to read. If parents never teach their kids early on how to read and write well, they will struggle in school and give up by the time they're teenagers. And don't you dare tell me otherwise, I grew up with these kids, and those examples are what I've seen over the years. To summarize, if some parents aren't going to teach their kids one on one to at least the standards of the schools they go to, then it is up to the teachers to fix that, which is why elementary schools should have tiny 10 on 1 classes.
* The subjects covered in schools should be academic and useful: While I don't mind having to do conics even though I'm going to college for International Relations, I think elementary, middle and high schools should have curriculums for different types of skills.
-Elementary school should teach kids the basics: reading, writing, math, science, history. It should help build a curiosity or hunger for knowledge; teaching healthy study and work habits as they progress through grades.
-Middle school should teach kids advanced subjects, but also cover some "useful" subjects: Health education, basic civics, and career planning.
-High schools should be more about living on your own, being a citizen, how to do taxes, apply for a job, etc. Stuff kids should be ready for once they graduate.
And no, this doesn't mean I hate my classes, I just feel that knowing how to do a W2 form is more important than making a fake letter to a character in a book you're not that interested in.