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Walnut High School | 400 Pierre Rd. Walnut, Calif. 91789

the hoofprint

Walnut High School | 400 Pierre Rd. Walnut, Calif. 91789

the hoofprint

Walnut High School | 400 Pierre Rd. Walnut, Calif. 91789

Lack of change in education slows students’ learning progress

Crisis in American education stems from a pandemic fallout, however, the failure of an educational reform worsens the educational loss.
Photo source: Letgrow

Back in 2020, the Burbank Unified School District in Los Angeles County decided to ban To Kill a Mockingbird and Of Mice and Men, — both of which are currently taught in the WHS freshman English curriculum — citing racist content that was inappropriate for students to study. 

Now, in 2024, the consequences of book banning movements are being followed by a dire educational crisis. 

Conservative politicians have made their utmost effort to ban reading materials that allude to themes of racism and sexuality and scorning “woke” educators, distorting how students learn and understand history and society. On the other side, liberal politicians have been quick to condemn conservatives for compromising the quality of students’ education and spurring culture wars as a political statement.

The American education system is entrenched in hyperpolarized culture wars that distract from a fundamental issue: students, from elementary to high school, are not receiving the education they deserve. Although education is regarded as the leading indicator for projecting a country’s future success, the U.S. has continually failed to make strides in meaningful educational reform – from only 32% of American elementary-aged children reaching proficient reading levels to subpar high school results in the PISA international standardized test. 

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To date, students have not been able to make up for the learning loss that came as a byproduct of prolonged school closures during the pandemic, with low-income districts bearing the brunt of the issue. 

In 2014, San Francisco’s school board spearheaded a policy that prohibited students from learning algebra in eighth grade, quoting that Asian and white students were being given an undue advantage in math. The consequences of the policy simply exacerbated education gaps for Black and Latino students against their white peers, with Black high school juniors performing at the math level of an average fifth grader. 

Forwarding to 2021, San Francisco education officials focused their self-proclaimed “educational progress” on renaming schools that included the names of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and other historical figures who were deemed as “tarnished.” The school board only halted their efforts after receiving mass public ridicule. 

It is not just blue, liberal leaning states that are performing the best based on standardized test scores — they also include red states such as Florida and Utah. Thus, bipartisan educational legislation must be prioritized, especially given that the endeavor began to flicker after the Obama administration. 

There have been proven actionable solutions that have been shown to be effective in democratizing educational progress. Just in Dec. 2023, California invested $53 million to train educators and purchase learning materials alongside designing a comprehensive and targeted curriculum that better served struggling students. In Texas, Dallas adopted an optional “opt out system” for students to choose to take eighth grade algebra, leading to tripled enrollment that highly benefited Black and Latino students. 

Educational reform, although sometimes difficult and challenging, can also be accessible and simple. Currently, far too many students are being educated in an environment that is only promoting failure, and it is paramount that education officials shift their concentration from purposeless contention to rebuilding student education. 

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About the Contributor
Kaelin David, Opinion editor
Hi! My name is Kaelin David and I am in the 12th grade, serving as the Opinion editor for The Hoofprint. In my free time, I love playing around with website design and reading literary magazines.
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