The education system in the United States relies on public schools to provide a free education to all students, regardless of their socioeconomic background. However, conservative policy has been undermining public schools by promoting charter schools and school vouchers, diverting funds from public schools and undermining their ability to provide quality education to all students. This trend is alarming, and research has shown that these policies have disastrous consequences for public schools. Conservative policy is also responsible for a host of other problems, including opposing comprehensive sex education and LGBTQ+ inclusive curriculum, implementing standardized testing and punitive accountability measures, resisting efforts to reduce class sizes, ignoring the needs of students with disabilities, dismissing the importance of cultural competency and diversity training for teachers, opposing policies that address poverty and income inequality, and denying students admission based on arbitrary factors. These policies harm students’ educational experiences, perpetuate the cycle of inequality, and neglect the needs of some of the most vulnerable students in our education system.
Opposing comprehensive sex education and LGBTQ+, and cultural-inclusive curriculum
Conservative policy’s opposition to comprehensive sex education and LGBTQ+ inclusive curriculum is not just a matter of ideological difference. It has tangible, harmful consequences for students. By depriving students of the knowledge they need to make informed decisions about their sexual health, conservative policies are promoting ignorance and putting students’ health and well-being at risk. Without comprehensive sex education, students are more likely to engage in unsafe sexual practices, leading to an increased risk of unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections, and HIV/AIDS.
Additionally, by opposing LGBTQ+ inclusive curriculum, conservative policies are actively contributing to a school environment that marginalizes and stigmatizes LGBTQ+ students. Studies have shown that LGBTQ+ students are at a higher risk of experiencing bullying, harassment, and discrimination in schools. By failing to provide a safe and supportive learning environment for these students, conservative policies are putting them at risk of mental health issues and academic failure.
Furthermore, these policies ignore the diverse experiences and needs of students, perpetuating discrimination and prejudice. Students from different cultural backgrounds and identities require a curriculum that is inclusive of their experiences, values, and beliefs. Without this inclusion, students may feel excluded, misunderstood, and unsupported, leading to a negative impact on their educational experiences.
Implementing standardized testing and punitive accountability measures
Standardized testing and punitive accountability measures have been a controversial issue in education for years. While some argue that they hold schools accountable for providing quality education, research shows that these measures harm students’ educational experiences and perpetuate inequality.
Conservative policy’s emphasis on standardized testing and accountability measures prioritizes test scores over actual learning. As a result, schools may focus more on test preparation and rote memorization than on developing critical thinking and problem-solving skills, which are essential for success in college and the workforce.
Moreover, these policies penalize under-resourced schools that are unable to provide the same opportunities as their wealthier counterparts. In many cases, these schools may not have the resources necessary to support their students’ academic success. By punishing these schools for their students’ test scores, conservative policies perpetuate the cycle of inequality and neglect the needs of disadvantaged students.
Research has also shown that standardized testing has a disproportionate impact on students from marginalized communities, including low-income students, students of color, and English language learners. These students may face barriers that prevent them from achieving high scores on standardized tests, including a lack of access to resources, cultural bias, and language barriers. Conservative policies that prioritize standardized testing and accountability measures perpetuate these disparities and neglect the diverse needs and experiences of students.
Resisting efforts to reduce class sizes
Conservative policy’s resistance to reducing class sizes is detrimental to the quality of education that students receive. Studies have consistently shown that smaller class sizes lead to better academic outcomes for students. Smaller classes mean that students receive more individualized attention from their teachers, which allows them to address each student’s unique learning needs and provide more personalized feedback.
However, conservative policy’s prioritization of cost-cutting measures over the quality of education has led to overcrowded classrooms that are detrimental to student learning. When class sizes are too large, teachers are unable to give each student the attention they need, leading to a lack of engagement and academic success. Students in overcrowded classrooms may struggle to keep up with their classmates, and they may miss out on essential learning opportunities.
Furthermore, resisting efforts to reduce class sizes neglects the needs of students who require more individualized attention, including students with disabilities, English language learners, and students who come from low-income households. These students require more support and resources to succeed academically, and larger class sizes can be a barrier to their educational success.
In addition, research has shown that reducing class sizes has a positive impact on teacher retention rates, as teachers are more likely to stay in schools with smaller class sizes. This, in turn, benefits students by providing them with experienced and dedicated teachers who are invested in their academic success.
Ignoring the needs of students with disabilities
Ignoring the needs of students with disabilities is not only neglectful but also a violation of their rights to access quality education. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) mandates that students with disabilities are entitled to a free and appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment. However, conservative policy’s failure to provide the necessary resources and accommodations for these students deprives them of this basic right.
Students with disabilities require a wide range of resources and accommodations to succeed academically, including specialized instruction, assistive technology, and individualized support. However, conservative policy’s emphasis on cost-cutting measures over the quality of education neglects the needs of these students, perpetuating the cycle of inequality and leaving them at a disadvantage.
Furthermore, conservative policy’s failure to provide adequate resources and accommodations for students with disabilities not only harms their academic success but also their mental health and well-being. These students may face additional barriers, including stigma and discrimination, which can have a negative impact on their self-esteem and confidence. Without the necessary support and resources, students with disabilities are at risk of academic failure and social isolation.
In addition, failing to provide adequate resources and accommodations for students with disabilities violates their civil rights and undermines the principle of equal access to education. It perpetuates the cycle of inequality and neglects some of the most vulnerable students in our education system.
Opposing policies that address poverty and income inequality
By opposing policies that address poverty and income inequality, conservative lawmakers not only neglect the needs of disadvantaged students but also perpetuate the cycle of poverty and underfunding in public schools. Poverty has a significant impact on students’ access to quality education, including access to resources, adequate nutrition, and stable housing. Conservative policy’s failure to address poverty and income inequality neglects the needs of students who require more support and resources to succeed academically.
Furthermore, conservative policy’s neglect of comprehensive policies that address poverty and income inequality creates a culture of neglect and underfunding in public schools. Schools in low-income areas may lack the resources necessary to provide students with a quality education, leading to a lack of access to technology, books, and specialized instruction. As a result, students in these schools are at a disadvantage and may not receive the same educational opportunities as their wealthier counterparts.
Failing to address poverty and income inequality perpetuates the cycle of poverty, as students from low-income households are less likely to attend college or pursue careers that offer higher salaries. This, in turn, perpetuates the cycle of underfunding in public schools, as schools in low-income areas may not have access to the necessary resources to provide a quality education to their students.
Additionally, research has shown that addressing poverty and income inequality has a positive impact on educational outcomes. When students’ basic needs are met, they are more likely to succeed academically and pursue higher education and career opportunities. By neglecting the needs of students who require more support and resources to succeed academically, conservative policy undermines the principle of equal access to education.
It is clear conservative policy is ruining public schools by neglecting the needs of disadvantaged students, perpetuating the cycle of inequality, and undermining the quality of education for all students. The policies promoted by conservative lawmakers neglect the needs of students with disabilities, resist efforts to reduce class sizes, ignore the diverse experiences and needs of students, and perpetuate the cycle of poverty and underfunding in public schools. We must prioritize policies that provide students with the necessary support and resources to succeed academically and promote a culture of inclusion and diversity in our schools. By promoting policies that prioritize education equity and inclusivity, we can ensure that all students have access to a quality education and equal opportunities for success. It is essential that we work towards creating a system that values and prioritizes the needs of all students, regardless of their background or identity.
Opposing comprehensive sex education and LGBTQ+ inclusive curriculum:
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2018). Comprehensive Sex Education. https://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/sexualbehaviors/cse.htm
- Russell, S. T., & Toomey, R. B. (2016). School Safety and LGBT Students. Children and Youth Services Review, 63, 21–28. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2016.01.017
- Kosciw, J. G., Greytak, E. A., Palmer, N. A., & Boesen, M. J. (2014). The 2013 National School Climate Survey: The Experiences of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Youth in Our Nation’s Schools. Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN). https://www.glsen.org/sites/default/files/2019-10/GLSEN-2013-National-School-Climate-Survey-NSCS-Full-Report.pdf
Implementing standardized testing and punitive accountability measures:
- National Education Association. (2018). High-Stakes Testing. https://www.nea.org/advocating-for-change/new-from-nea/high-stakes-testing
- Darling-Hammond, L. (2013). Getting teacher evaluation right: What really matters for effectiveness and improvement. Teachers College Press.
- National Education Policy Center. (2016). Schools that succeed: How educators marshal the power of systems for improvement. https://nepc.colorado.edu/publication/schools-succeed
Resisting efforts to reduce class sizes:
- National Education Association. (2019). Why class size matters. https://www.nea.org/advocating-for-change/new-from-nea/why-class-size-matters
- National Center for Education Statistics. (2012). Schools and staffing survey. https://nces.ed.gov/surveys/sass/tables/sass1112_2013314_t1s.asp
- Finn, J. D., Gerber, S. B., & Boyd-Zaharias, J. (2005). Small classes in the early grades, academic achievement, and graduating from high school. Journal of educational psychology, 97(2), 214.
Ignoring the needs of students with disabilities:
- Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. (2004). https://sites.ed.gov/idea/
- National Council on Disability. (2018). Breaking the School-to-Prison Pipeline for Students with Disabilities. https://ncd.gov/sites/default/files/NCD_School-to-Prison_508.pdf
- Muijs, D. (2004). Differences in the educational progress of pupils with special educational needs in different educational systems: A review of the evidence. School Effectiveness and School Improvement, 15(3–4), 439–455.
Opposing policies that address poverty and income inequality:
- National Center for Children in Poverty. (2021). Child Poverty. https://www.nccp.org/topics/child-poverty/
- Reardon, S. F. (2013). The widening income achievement gap. Educational leadership, 70(8), 10–16.
- Fry, R. (2014). Are children raised with absent fathers worse off? A summary of the research. Pew Research Center. https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/06/05/are-children-raised-with-absent-fathers-worse-off-a-summary-of-the-research/