Theories of Communication

zahira schmidt

Exploration of Communication

Communication is essentially a process, the production and exchange of more than just information; as a term, it encompasses such a wide variety of definitions.

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Waiting for Superman


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Education in America’s public school system has shockingly disappointed the nation’s future.  Arguments attacking the private school system have been founded as well, claiming the private system is experiencing just as much controversy; however the documentary entitled “Waiting for Superman” focused solely on the Public School system with its strengths and downfalls. The statistics of students and correlating proficiency-testing scores in America are depressingly below global standards. The design of the public system and its educators is the heart of the problem. It does not compensate for the downfalls of a lazy, unmotivated teacher nor does it reward a motivated, influential and dedicated teacher. The documentary, although controversial as most documentaries are, brought to light an existing issue requiring immediate focus. Our children of today are the world’s leaders of tomorrow. How can educators guarantee an educational reformation to provide more success in our children’s attitudes regarding the standards of their education? The film focused on five students who are mentally and emotionally focused on achieving college educations despite the roadblocks set by location, demographics, and attitudes, and the major figures struggling against complacency to transform predetermined failure to all-encompassing success. In a global economy, the success of education is pertinent to success as a nation. The demand for high-class education is undoubtedly higher than the supply of positively enforced quality educational facilities causing a shortage in the most important facet of success… education. As a meek alternative, a lottery for education has become the only hope and unfortunately so. The supply and demand of quality education and educators, the required assets in order to achieve success, and the individuals paving the controversial road to achieving success, prove that a failure in education is a failure in the global economy.

America has only a minute amount of time left to reach the goal of one hundred percent proficiency in reading and math. The “No Child Left Behind” program has not been a success and the performance gap between America and the international world is dismal at best. The demand for higher quality education in the nation is superseding the supply of valuable educational facilities. The amount of money spent on education has more than doubled since 1971 and test scores nation-wide have remained inadequately low. Following five students across the nation, the documentary focuses on the reality reducing low-income urban area children’s potential to a cataclysmic failure with success solely contingent on the fate of winning the lucky ticket. Success has been cheapened to nothing more than a lottery of who attains the opportunity to succeed and who is condemned to a mess of abysmal schooling. The eagerness to learn in young students is clearly being dampened by overcrowding in schools, poor teachers, and administrative neglect. This does not bode well for the future of the American economy. Americans are not keeping pace with the increased educational requirements of this age of advanced technology. In only a few short years, if educational supply of quality education does not begin to meet the current high demand, there will be a surplus of highly-skilled high paying jobs that we will not have the educated populace to fill and as the demand for such educated positions increases, the supply of workforce will have to come from other countries subsequently with dire consequences for the middle class and the entire U.S. economy. A sincere transformation of the educational system is required in order to produce higher levels of success.

The need for “good teachers” has never been more apparent in our school systems. A non-effective teacher on average will cover only fifty percent of the required curriculum in one school year; alternatively, an effective teacher is capable of covering one hundred and fifty percent meaning in one school year, students achieve about one and a half year’s worth of learning from the strongest teachers and only about half a year from the weakest. Unfortunately, there are no incentives for good or effective teachers and no consequences or bad or ineffective teachers. Evidence that the most experienced teachers may not be the most effective teachers should prompt policy re-examination. If a teacher’s effectiveness as an educator is not being taken into account, students are ultimately paying a price increasingly more detrimental to the nation than reducing the nation’s teaching force. The concept of tenure, although beneficial to effective teachers, can be considered evil when applied to mediocrity. Tenure makes no distinctions between effective and lazy work and offers the worst teachers the same rights as influential teachers and guarantees a job for life. The required assets for improving the education system have been explored and introduced by individual reformers but unfortunately, met with extreme prejudice.

Michelle Rhee is a very charismatic but controversial individual in the reform against poor education. Considered to be one of the leads in educational reform, Rhee has always had one motto: put students first. In 2007, she was assigned the Chancellorship of the D.C. public school system and immediately began to create a tidal wave of reform. Instilling on the educational system that children require the skills and knowledge demanded to compete in a global environment. During her term, becoming the most discussed reformer, she fired every objectively bad teacher and the principals that inherently protected them and their jobs. She closed failing schools, stirring up major debates, and confronted the teachers’ union. She decided that children needed to receive the education they deserved, and in turn began to clean house of ineffective leadership. As an influential reformer, Rhee understood that this would be her downfall but continued to push for educational improvement and reformation. The trials and consequences of pushing for controversial school reforms will always be apparent because there will always be those individuals or organizations who will impede accomplishment for selfish reasons. There are currently several individuals and organizations pushing for the recognition of fantastic educators and the absolution of bad teachers. Economic growth has raised the value of education and increased the importance of high quality and effective education. The goal is a successful improvement of the teaching and learning in schools nation-wide.

The concept of reform based on school choice has not led to substantial improvements in the educational system. What separates the current reform from others is the degree of which millions of American students are suffering, dropping out, or being labeled as failures at an early age. Our children’s futures depend on good and efficient teachers. In every other career field, employees are acknowledged for exceptional contributions and teachers/educators should be no different. The success of our students depends on the success of our educators and should not be determined solely on zip codes. Students are assigned to public schools based upon location and this forces far too many children forced into chronically failing educations when every student should have equal access to excellence in education. There are reformers every day pushing for excellence and equal educational opportunities. The future depends on this. The required assets for success begin with the educational system and those governing the statutes of academia. Educators should have the recognition for excellent leadership and alternatively the exposure for weak and insufficient educational skills. The supply and demand for education in our country needs to be re-examined and repaired with haste. Not only will our children face economic challenges for which they will not have the tools to succeed, but also they will be forced into economic change that requires the American jobs currently available for the students of tomorrow to be ripped from their hands and placed into other countries’ power for lack of educational equivalence. Teaching is an art that requires full dedication because without teachers, the world cannot benefit from the likes of doctors, lawyers, etc. We place our children’s futures in the capable hands of educators every day in order to prepare them for the economic whirlwind that beckons at the world. The concept of preparing children to fail is outrageous and no individual who does not have the heart to teach should be allowed in the profession. Good teachers are the heart of success and must be acknowledged. Educational reformation in America’s school system is crucial to the future success of America. We must keep and praise effective teachers and on the other hand, dismiss those who will not be a benefit to the growing and thirsty minds of our nation’s future leaders.