Action Research Topic: Literature Exploration

6 June 2016

Education plays an important role for individuals to fully reach their potential and it also substantially contributes to the development of the society as a whole. The processes of teaching and learning are greatly embodied in the concept of education wherein educators help students to learn knowledge and acquire skills about different subject matters and fields.

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However, most people, especially those who belong to the middle and lower class, often have the perception that education is a privilege rather than a right because for them good education usually comes with high cost. Nevertheless, the government of most countries, like the United States of America provide education for those people who cannot afford to spend a large sum of money for education through public schools.

The problem is for proper and good education to be fully realized in public schools, stakeholders should give due consideration and attention to several factors such as: school budget, competent educators, active participation of parents, standardize school system, and many others (Hochschild & Scovronick, 2004). In most public urban schools in the United the States, the common issues are: the insufficient funds coming from the government, the lack of support coming from parents, and school violence.

Among the many problems of educational institutions, one of the most common issues that almost all public schools complain about is the insufficient fund or budget that is given to education. According to the study of Maguad (2007) entitled: Lean Strategies for Education: Overcoming the Waste Factor, teaching and learning are regarded as important activities in school but these processes are largely driven by financial realities.

Maguad pointed out in his study that most educational institutions, especially public schools have to face financial problems that have a huge effect in the quality of education that they render to students. Educational programs cost money, which any educators and other stakeholders in educational institutions are aware of. Being the case, efficient funding and competent budgeting is necessary in order for schools to operate properly.

Maguad even cited the work of Thomson and Wood, which state that the lack of good budget will eventually result to the absence of schools. In line with this, he also described the relationship of funds and the school system where sources of funds are finite while educational needs are infinite, which is why it is necessary that the prioritization of programs are done (Maguad, 2007).

In the study of Maguad, he acknowledged the lack of sufficient funding in education institutions, especially in public schools. The lack of budget is rooted from the very relationship of funds and educational needs because the former is regarded as finite while the latter is infinite. Due to the problem of most schools regarding insufficient funds coming from the government, Maguad proposed in his study that schools must take the delicate responsibility of balancing anticipated revenue resources with the planned expenditure of the school.  In cases where in revenues are inadequate, school programs needs to be scaled back.

The condition of static and declining revenues usually entails that schools require cutting costs. Maguad suggested that the less painful way in order to address the lack of funds of schools is by improving the operational efficiency of the educational system through the elimination of waste using lean techniques. Waste is defined as “anything in the process that does not add value for the customer” (Maguad, 2007: 249). The process of waste reduction can be done by means of disseminating individual and organizational learning throughout the whole organization (Maguad, 2007).

The study of Maguad indeed shed more light on the problem of schools regarding insufficient funds coming from the government. He was able to point out the importance of sufficient funds and competent budgeting in order for educators to establish programs that will substantially help in the teaching and learning process among educators and teachers. In relation to this, Maguad also explain the relationship of the sources of funds and educational needs in order to explain the cause of insufficient funding.

However, the proposed solution of Maguad that entails balancing school revenue and expenses used at schools by eliminating waste still needs to be further proven. Maguad should also give due attention to schools that really lack budget to the point that they do not even have waste to start with because funds are very limited. Moreover, Maguad should also further emphasize on the other ways of accumulating funds that involve the active participation of the private sector.

Another pressing problem in schools, especially those that is funded by the government is the lack of active participation of parents. Both the mother and father of most students usually have their respective works. The parents of children in public schools have to work in order for them to earn the necessary income to provide for their family, especially for the needs of their children. However, work usually gets in the way of most parents to play an active role in the learning process of students. Parents’ involvement in the studying of their children is necessary because educators need their participation in order to properly teach and guide students. The aforementioned adage is proven in the research study of Fan and Chen entitled: Parental Involvement and Students’ Academic Achievement: A Meta-Analysis.

According to Fan and Chen (2001), the idea of parental involvement has been perceived to have a positive influence on the academic achievement of student. The belief is rooted from the very perception of educators and the society as a whole that parental involvement is an important factor in addressing many problems in the educational system. Fan and Chen studied a vast proportion of literature regarding parent involvement and its relation students’ academic achievement by using the qualitative and non-empirical method of research. A meta-analysis is done in order to synthesize the results of the study wherein findings reveal that parental aspiration and expectation has the strongest relationship on students’ achievement. On the other hand, parental home supervision has the weakest relation to students’ achievement (Fan and Chen, 2001).

Fan and Chen were able to provide numerous and reputable sources in order to conduct a meta-analysis study. Since the study is non-empirical it is only based on existing literature review, it sometimes fails to reflect the reality of incidents that cannot be properly represented in just mere literature study. Parental involvement and its effects to students require empirical study since it is a sociological phenomenon that cannot be easily quantified.

Lastly, educational institutions, especially urban public schools also have to deal with violence within the school. Increasing incidents of school violence are often reported like gang wars however, it is also important to point out that bullying is also a form of violence that must be addressed. Nansel et al. (2001) conducted a research study entitled: Bullying Behaviors among US Youth, the main motivation of the researchers is to study bullying since there are no national data regarding the prevalence of bullying. The researchers aim to measure the prevalence of bullying behaviors among the US youth and to identify the relation of bullying and being bullied with psychosocial adjustment.

The results show that there is a substantial prevalence of bullying among the US youth. In addition, bullying is also related to concurrent behavior, emotional difficulties, and possible long-term negative consequences for the youth. Being the case, the issue of bullying needs due attention, especially in conducting future research and preventive intervention.

The study of Nansel et al. was able to provide important attention to the issue of bullying, especially since this aforementioned form of violence lacks the necessary national data. The research study was able to give information to the issue of bullying and also the corresponding causes and effects of such actions. However, the study of Nansel et al. can still be further improve because there are still a lot of factor that must be explored about bullying, especially when it comes to its relevance to problem of security and safety in educational institutions.


Fan, X., & Chen, M. (2001). Parental Involvement and Students’ Academic Achievement:

 A Meta-Analysis. Education Psychology Review, 13, 1-22.

Hochschild, J.L., & Scovronick, N. (2004). The American Dream and the Public Schools.

United States: Oxford University Press.

 Journal of Education, 128, 248-255.

Nansel, T.R., Overpeck, M., Pilla, R.S., Ruan, J., Simons-Morton, B., & Scheidt, P. (2001).

Bullying Behaviors among US Youth. The Journal of the American Medical

Association, 285, 2094-2100.

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