Media, political agendas, and myths influence the public and policy-makers, resulting in the formulation of ineffective education policies (Marchant, 2011). Currently, numerous myths influence policy formulation in the education sector. Mostly, the myths have negative impacts on the school system. One of the myths holds that people have to part with a substantial amount of money for their children to get a quality education.
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The myth argues, “We get what we pay for in educating our children” (Marchant, 2011, par. 5). While money may help to purchase necessary teaching materials and improve the learning environment, it is imperative to appreciate that quality education requires more than just money. In countries like Australia, spending a lot of money on education does not necessarily enhance performance. The amount of money spent does not matter. What is important is how the money is spent to boost the quality of education.
Fowler (2013) cites the time myth as one of the beliefs that have adversely affected the school system. The legend holds that time is essential and children should not have long breaks. Policy-makers have used the myth to minimize holidays and reduce staff days. Students spend a lot of time in the classroom, which affects their performance. Research shows that spending a lot of time in class does not guarantee performance. Students require balancing between learning and co-curricular activities.
The myth of grades, which holds that marks are excellent indicators of performance, has resulted in students spending a lot of time studying. The tale fails to appreciate that learning should be all round, and high grades do not necessarily show that one is intelligent. Fowler (2013) argues, “Students view grades not as a description of their achievement, but rather as an end in and of itself” (p. 76). In fact, the majority of learners strive to improve their grades rather than to grasp the information, logic, ideas, or skills central to the task.
The New York Political Culture
The New York state’s political culture is portrayed as individualistic. According to Mondak and Canache (2014), states that observe an individualistic political culture view government as apparatus for dealing with issues, which affect individual citizens. Mondak and Canache (2014) hold that people in such a political setting relate to the government just the way they would to a marketplace. They believe that the government has an obligation to provide essential goods and services. On the other hand, the bureaucrats and public officials who provide essential services expect to be remunerated for their efforts.
I agree with this portrayal. According to Chen, Jing, and Lee (2012), “the individualistic political culture originated with settlers from non-puritan England and Germany who initially settled in the mid-Atlantic region of New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey”(p. 1353).
One feature, which confirms that New York State observes an individualistic political culture, is the push for tax breaks. The New York state advocates tax breaks as a measure to enhance its economy and support entrepreneurship. The New York state governor offers incentives to attract investors (Mondak & Canache, 2014). In New York, the majority of the citizens engage in politics to pursue personal interests. They discard politics upon realizing that it does not benefit them. In an individualistic political culture, electoral competition is not based on policies. Instead, the public supports individuals based on their political affiliation. In New York, voters do not consider the personalities of the presidential candidates. Instead, they consider the political party and do not put up with third-party candidates. For instance, at least 62% of the New York population supports Democratic Party (Chen et al., 2012).
Difference between Political Culture and Political Ideology
Heywood (2012) defines political culture as “the underlying set of values and beliefs about politics and the system of meaning for interpreting politics by a given population” (p. 42). Political scientists associate political culture with diverse beliefs and values. One of the sets of values attributed to political culture is social relations and authority. The values concern public opinion regarding the influence of social elite.
According to Heywood (2012), political culture involves the welfare of individuals versus group interests. It defines the nature of the society; whether individualistic or collective. Individualistic political cultures focus on personal interests and are against government initiatives aimed at leveling the economic playing ground. Heywood (2012) argues that socialization, experiences, and events shape political culture. Heywood (2012) asserts, “Defining events can shock society and overwhelm the tendency of the political culture to resist change” (p. 44). For instance, the September 11 attack resulted in shifts in the American collective political culture.
According to Welch (2012), political ideology refers to “a belief system that provides people with a perspective on the proper role of elected officials, which types of public policies should be prioritized, and how the various elements of society should be arranged” (p. 77). The majority of the people possess an ultimate political ideology. In the United States, the majority of the people view themselves as moderate, liberals, or conservatives. In other countries, many people regard themselves as Marxists, socialists, or anarchists. Most ideologies are distinguished based on their rank on the political spectrum. Examples of political ideologies include communism, liberalism, conservative, moderate, and socialism among others.
Chen, F., Jing, Y., & Lee, J. (2012). “I” value competence but “we” value social competence: The moderating role of voters’ individualistic and collectivistic orientation in political elections. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 48(6), 1350-1355.
Fowler, F. (2013). Policy studies for educational leaders: An introduction (4th ed). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.
Heywood, A. (2012). Political ideologies: An introduction (5th ed). London, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.
Marchant, G. (2011). Myth-based education policy. Web.
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Mondak, J., & Canache, D. (2014). Personality and political culture in the American states. Political Research Quarterly, 67(1), 77-93.
Welch, S. (2012). The concept of political culture. New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press Inc.