Reviewed by Riko Arfiyantama

Submitted as the synthesis  paper in Dual Degree Program UNNES

            School is a place where the teachers teach and the students learn. Everyone can find schools everywhere they go. Some schools are considered as an elite school and some belong to the struggling schools. The elite school is funded well with enormous financial supports to build a luxurious building and facilities. On the other hand, the struggling school has small building in rural area with a big size of students from poor family. However, school cannot be defined as simple as what has been mentioned. The measurement of how good the school is also deals with the school accountability and other aspects. The development of school has taken on several changes, movements, reforms, issues, and problems attached toward its education track record. Since what happened in the past, education still has many obstacles to provide the equal opportunity for their entire citizens nowadays.

In the past, both Indonesia and United States (US) had some issues in their education track record. Teacher education might be deemed as the new field compared by other knowledge which came in advance i.e. science, social, economy and etc. Since the US government knew that preparing teacher is very important, they decided to establish the normal school to overcome the teacher shortage. After that, the regional state university followed and got the change to fulfill the demand of teachers. In that period, the society became aware that education should be prepared well. The more skillful teachers were needed than just producing a big amount of teachers without high quality. Then, in 1870s and more, some elite universities were born such as University of Lowa, Michigan, Columbia, Harvard, Berkeley, and Ohio State. The teacher education in the past tended to teach their students the content knowledge without having pedagogical knowledge. This situation can be accepted because as the new knowledge, the education experts had not found the strategy of how to teach (pedagogy) and even the curriculum. They only thought that teacher education had to transmit what they know (content) to the students. Therefore, some deviations happened at schools such as: the violence that made some children did not want to go to school, the racism that resulted almost all students at schools were from white people, and sexism that treated the woman in an inequity. The situation and society in the past seemed to have a big role to what happening. Accordingly, there was a relationship between the society and the school. The school could not independently hold the education by ignoring the society surrounding because the culture or habit formed by the society had a big influence to the school inside (Spring, 2008).

In line with US, Indonesian education movements also have many unsolved problems. Since the colonized era, Indonesia had to fight against the colonizer and struggle to provide the education for their citizens. Most of Indonesian did not get education at schools except those from Priyayi (high status people). The women were treated unfair because they had very smaller opportunity to study rather than men. Education held by the colonizer for poor people was aimed to get cheap labors by teaching insufficient knowledge to fulfill the low status jobs for the colonizer’s need. Some schools were established, however, they never touched the poor people.

After Indonesia got its independence, the government tried to build the nation from zero. All the changes of the social, economy, education, and politic were set. Education was also taken into account as the important part of the nation building. The education purpose was set in the correct way. Education was not only for Priyayi, men, or getting cheap workers, but education is to humanize truly human.

Government as the policy-maker also had an important role to drive the education movement. Since the shortage of teachers in independence era, the government established some schools to provide as many teachers as possible in a short time and minimum funding. The effort might result as what the government had expected, otherwise the teacher education outputs were not good prepared. What faced by US also occurred in Indonesia that the teachers’ performance tended to teach the content without the pedagogical knowledge. The government also did not support the teacher education with good salary. Accordingly, they could not give most of time to their students because the teacher salary was not enough to fund their family. They had to work in other places besides teaching at school. Somehow it cannot be blamed if most teachers in Indonesia did some deviations in their teaching such as indiscipline in teaching, less motivation, and ignorance of their main profession. The salary issue seems to emerge regularly in both Indonesia and US. In some cases as what happened at some elite schools, if the teachers are well paid, it will result to good achievement. Teacher as the key player of education must be paid well because their profession does not stop after the school finishes. Furthermore, they have to think such activities as how to maintain the classroom better, they have to correct the students’ assignment, they must prepare the upcoming material, and they are also encouraged to conduct research to improve their pedagogy. Indeed, there is no real evidence that good salary always results better toward teacher performance because that effect is dependable on the teachers themselves. They must have awareness from their own hearth to improve their teaching. Somehow, in order to make the dream school, the teachers who are paid well must be included as a requirement.

Going to the modern era, the government has initiated to provide the education for all. The US government has started by doing some efforts such as giving the school-voucher and establishing charter school for low-income family. To build a good education system, it is necessary to allocate good financial support for the schools. It is aimed to provide the equal opportunity for all citizens in having education and to improve the school quality. In line with that effort, the Indonesian government also initiated to give a free education in the basic level by giving BOS (school operational assistance). Those efforts must encourage the education stakeholder to work harder in improving the education quality. Furthermore, they also give an additional salary for teacher through certification. In fact, by holding certification, the teacher education profession which was not favorable in the past tends to earn more attention from the society. Teacher education profession can come to be the first choice for some people. It can be a good sign for the education era to have good inputs for the teacher education candidates.

The curriculum embodied to school also assists the crucial role. Since the centralization era considered ineffective, the Ministry of Education and Culture (MOEC) had implemented the decentralization as the new change. The curriculum includes the LCC (Local content knowledge) as the new reform embodied the decentralization actually could give opportunity for the teachers to conduct the education at school which meets the student need. Nevertheless, since the decentralization to some following curricula enacted by MOEC, the education seems to run in place without any good and improved practice in the educational situation. Bjork (2005) may give one example of holding a good education process at school. The example is St. Timothy’s Junior High School. It runs the education through different way by playing their autonomy and resistance. It modified the curriculum given by the MOEC by omitting and adding some aspects in order to make education which meets with the member of community. In fact, school like St. Timothy may give an inspiration for MONE (Ministry of National Education or MOEC in the past) to provide more flexible curriculum which meets the recent situation namely KTSP (School-Based Curriculum). MONE seems to learn what happened in past education track record and decided to change into the new curriculum. What MONE changed may be considered as the good decision to improve the school quality and give more opportunity forward schools in Indonesia to make their appropriate and relevant education at school. But then, what most schools done in Indonesia, they tend to keep doing the same thing without any significant improvement. They seem to be failed in making a new reform of education era although MONE has initiated the new curriculum. Therefore, it is still envisioned to have an effective and efficient curriculum to cover the entire schools need and to meet with the nowadays situation.

The dream school will come true if it has had these elements: the high-quality teacher, a good curriculum, a good education system, good facilities support, high parental responsibility, high achievements, high accountability, good teaching learning process, equal opportunity to get education, and good community. Those criteria may answer the issues and problems which have taken place in both US and Indonesia along centuries. It is not only a dreaming to have students output who have abilities to lead fulfilling lives, to be responsible citizens, to be creative, to have enormous innovations, and to make good choices for themselves, their families, and our society (Ravitch, 2010, p. 224).

As the conclusion, establishing such dream school is not easy. It needs a big struggle and sacrifice to create it. But then, a big thing is built from the simply one. Teachers as small part of education may play a crucial role if they know what they must do. They must start by doing their duty in the discipline way such as: they have to be punctual when teaching. They must give more attention to students. They should provide a sustainable feedback by giving some correction of students’ assignment. They should do some researches to know the students’ progress and try to know what they need. They must emphasize the process of learning rather than the product. They should treat the student as the central of the teaching and learning process. They have to able to develop their content knowledge, general pedagogical knowledge, curriculum knowledge, pedagogical content knowledge, knowledge of learners, knowledge of educational contexts, and knowledge of educational ends, purpose and values (Shulman, 1987 p. 8). If the teachers do so, the people may change their mind so that they consider teacher education as a reputable profession. They also deserve to have high salary for what they have done.



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