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Political factors influencing education

Updated April 17, 2017

In this modern, technology-dependent world, it is imperative to get a quality education. While economic and social factors are often solely blamed for educational inequities, there are many factors that affect education legislation. Through taxes, political promises for special interest groups and efforts to encourage international competition through technology and academics, millions of students are affected by educational policies that are not always created with their best interests in mind.

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Public Policy

Public policy has had both positive and negative effects on education. Many policies meant to increase accountability, such as No Child Left Behind, often have adverse effects. Monetary rewards and other benefits promised by lawmakers are contingent upon students achieving a minimum passing grade on required standardised tests. In order to guarantee success, educators are instructed to only teach students topics and skills that are covered on the tests. Other policies for advanced placement incentive programs and adult education work to improve higher education and continuing education enrolment.

Public Funding

Most of the funding for state schools and institutions of higher learning are provided by the American public. Through property taxes, schools are built, and teaching materials and technology are provided. However, property taxes in low-income neighbourhoods are much lower than neighbourhoods with higher income. This often results in lower-quality schools and unprepared students. Through grants and federal loans, students are able to attend colleges and earn degrees that can help them obtain good jobs and increase their quality of life. However, some students cannot find steady work in a bad economy and end up in debt from their inability to pay back loans.

Local Politics

As in any political arena, the potential for corruption or misappropriation is always present. Sometimes money meant improve schools is cut from the budget and spent on something else. Local politicians often run on the platform of school reformation with promises to increase test scores, provide more funding and improve conditions. While some politicians running for offices in the school board and local government follow through with their promises, other political factors -- involving economics, redistribution and pleasing constituents -- can also serve to guarantee their re-election.

Globalisation

With the advent and rise of technology, the world has essentially become a global community. Through trade and political connections, this technology-based global community has also impacted education. Due to the almost instant exchange of ideas and information, students are no longer just competing with other local and national students; they are competing with students from around the world for admittance to colleges and for jobs. This development has forced school systems to increase already rigorous curricula in order to prepare students to compete in this global arena.

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About the Author

Ayisatu J. Taylor is a graduate of Smith College and has been writing for more than six years. She is attending graduate school for a degree in emergency health studies with a concentration on disaster response and recovery management. Taylor's work on travel, health and gardening can be seen on numerous websites.

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