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Many different factors have had an influence on education in the United States. One major contributing factor is religion. In the early days of school in the United States, students were not taught subjects like reading and mathematics. Instead, they were taught about religion and ethics (Goldin, 1999). The idea behind such schools was that society would be better off if all individuals were trained to value things like family and religion. Eventually, society realized that things like reading and mathematics were important. There are still some religious schools, but they also teach students about other subjects.
Racial issues played a role in the early educational system in America. Members of minority races were not allowed to attend most schools (Young & Laible, 2000). In addition, access to education was not equal in all parts of the United States. In many areas of the southern United States, public schools did not exist. Wealthy families would pay tutors or would pay to have their child attend a private school. Over time, the educational landscape changed. Society eventually realized that the whole country is better off if everyone has equal access to education. The Civil Rights Movement put an end to school segregation. Members of all minority races had access to things like public and private schools after the government passed laws against discrimination.
As the United States has changed over time, there has been an increased amount of attention being paid to education. One reason is because the current job market is highly competitive. Individuals with no college degree may have a hard time finding a high paying job in the current economy. As a result, more and more people are starting to pay attention to education. Parents are teaching their children the value of getting an education. The government is giving out loans to students who cannot afford to fund their own education. In addition, some politicians are allocating more taxpayer money to the schools in their districts.
Schools are not the only organizations that are dedicated to education. Companies that offer services like tutoring are also geared towards helping people learn. In addition, some charitable organizations are dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of having access to education. Non-profit organizations spread education by going to other underdeveloped countries and giving resources to teachers and students. In general, the practice of education is a team effort. Teachers, school administrators, and parents can all be mobilized in the effort to help students learn. Problems can sometimes occur in a student’s education whenever there is no team involved. For example, if a teacher works hard to give information to a student, but then the student’s parents tell their child that he or she has no chance at succeeding in school and should spend time doing other things like finding a job. The most optimal educational environment is one in which students have support from both school workers and also their parents. As students get older, they become more independent with regard to their learning habits. Many college students are able to learn information on their own, even in cases where a professor did not explain a concept to them fully. The Internet has made information more accessible than it was in the past.
The roles of educational leaders vary depending on what institution they work for. Teachers who work in lower grade levels have the task of working with parents in order to develop curriculums that are best suited to the children that they teach (Deal & Peterson, 1999). Teachers that work with younger children also have the task of identifying any learning disorders that may impact a student’s success. If a student with a cognitive disability is not given a specialized educational plan, then it could have major implications on the student’s life. The student may be unable to pass coursework and pursue higher education. Parents also play a role in identifying any disabilities that their child demonstrates.
Educational leaders in colleges have a different role. Rather than telling students everything they need to know, many college professors are more interested in spurring students to research things on their own and to think critically about them. College students are more independent with regard to their learning experience. Professors still give out information, but students spend a large amount of time conducting independent research on whatever topics are raised in class.
Understanding and applying leadership theories can help people who are involved teaching and education. The trait theory of leadership is based on the idea that individuals are born with certain traits that make them a good leader (Colbert et al., 2012). For example, traits like confidence and intelligence are typically associated with strong leaders. Some traits can be developed over time. Having knowledge of what traits someone does or does not possess can be useful. For example, someone who lacks most of the traits associated with leadership could opt for a career that does not have a high level of leadership or management. On the other hand, a person can seek to improve certain traits if they are lacking them. A person who is indecisive can practice making decisions and trusting their own judgment. People who lack social skills can spend more time interacting with other people in order to improve their social skills. Educators can benefit from studying what traits great leaders possess, and then seeking to improve those traits in their own lives.
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