Brian Eckert: Revamp education nationally

In all honesty, I’ve never read a column before. I’ve never even read a newspaper. When I was younger my parents would read two papers everyday and I just assumed I would pick it up too. I never did.

This column will be primarily about school and education and different things that go on in schools and things that students go through. I’m completely pro-education, considering it opens up so many doors and presents opportunities on a golden platter with a little hard work and commitment. Over the last 12 years and counting, I’ve spent approximately one-third of my life asleep, one-third of my life at school and I honestly have no idea where the last third went. Probably eating. So I’m pretty well-informed about education.

To me education is something that, as a society, we need to devote more resources to, whether that be monetary resources or just researching how to teach more effectively and efficiently. In 2015, the U.S. Department of Education spent $922 billion on K-12 education. Even with all the money spent, we are still ranked behind many countries that spend much less as the article states “…the United States is a world leader in education investment. However, nations that spend far less achieve higher levels of student performance.” This is absolutely unacceptable.

The way education is set up within the Constitution, the states hold the power. I’m from Indiana so that’s where my educational experience pertains to, and in Indiana the education system is completely upside down. My school corporation receives cuts every year in the form of teachers being cut, the arts programs shrinking and academic team funding disappearing. This is partly because of dropping enrollment, but it is combined with cuts from the state which leads to a lot of cuts in a short period of time. Eventually the school board was forced to enforce a referendum.

Considering 2016 is an election year, I’m hoping for some changes so that my friends and family no longer have to deal with these problems. Educators already face enough of challenge by trying to reach every student in ever-growing classes. I know first-hand considering my parents are both teachers and I spent 12 years in our education system. Students and educators should be able to focus on learning and teaching respectively instead of how they’re going to fit all of the students in one room, if they’ll have a job next year or if they’ll have to drive 40 minutes to school instead of 10.

Education needs to change with the times. Students should be held to a national standard instead of state standards that change annually. With a national standard, all students will be taught the same material. All students take the SAT or ACT to get into college, so why should they take different standardized tests until they want to apply for college? Something needs to be done, and the journey of 1,000 miles starts with one single step. Let’s take it.

Brian Eckert is a first-year finance and economics double major.