What was once a highlight of the nation’s mastery of learning is now a shadow of itself. The American public education system enjoyed glory during the industrial era, in which educators tailored the system to work with at the time. Decades after, little has changed to the structure, leaving it out of sync with today’s world.
What are the main reasons behind the U.S. public education system failing? This article explores some of the critical issues plaguing the nation’s current educational structure.
Lack of Adequate Funding
Funding for most public schools comes from the local and state governments. They allocate funds to educational institutions based on their revenue via taxes, royalties, and sales. This set-up limits these governments’ ability to match the actual funding the schools need to function correctly.
The educational system’s needs exceed its government funding. So, schools often have to make do with fewer tutors and resources.
The Dark Side of Technology
Today’s technology is alien to that of the industrial era. Now, you can access any information you need from your smartphone anywhere and anytime. These gadgets are beneficial to students, with schools incorporating various technologies into their classrooms and learning programs. Such a set-up helps to improve student engagement and learning efficiency.
But technology is a double-edged sword as it can be a significant source of distraction to students. Pupils spend hours on social media networks, playing games, or watching a movie on their smartphones. Also, students often abuse mobile phone features of accessing information quickly to cheat on exams and tests. This situation impairs the learning culture to a large extent.
A teacher’s salary is by no means impressive, with the average wage for tutors dropping in recent years. Many people see the profession as a placeholder and bide their time waiting for a chance to land a more financially attractive job. The low and declining pay rate is a disincentive to many people who are skilled tutors.
Growing Poverty Rate
Getting a higher education is expensive, and the increasing poverty rate makes getting one challenging for many people. Most of the students in the U.S.’s public schools come from low-income families and can’t afford to meet every educational requirement, such as textbooks, after-school tutorials, gadgets, and more. Pupils who hail from affluent homes tend to perform better academically than those from low-income families.
Mass Shootings in Schools
Recently, there’s been an alarming increase in mass shootings in educational institutions. Many students feel unsafe in their schools, with the government and educational administrations stumped at finding an appropriate solution.
One of the prevailing public opinions about solving gun violence in schools is granting teachers the right to bear concealed firearms and providing them with special training to diffuse such situations. Experts argue that such a set-up isn’t ideal as there’s a risk of injuries and accidents.
One of the main reasons the U.S education system fails is the rampant spread of violence and bullying across colleges and universities. In 2007, research showed that over 32% of high school students have at once been bullied.
Thanks to multiple campaigns against this act, recent years saw the figure drop to 20%. Despite this decrease, the occurrence of bullying in any form impacts educational development. Many bullied victims don’t report it; another reason the recorded reduction isn’t one to celebrate.
Students experience bullying in school, outside it, or online on social media. Such acts are traumatic for the victim, negatively impacting their studies and lives.
The Weight of Standardized Testing
Schools clamor to meet the standardized testing requirements, often prioritizing this goal over learning. This program judges educational institutions and their personnel based on their students’ test scores and subsequently pressures them into producing high scores. Teachers often take a teach-for_test approach to meet the target. Many experts view this situation as arguably the main reason for the United States education system’s failure.
The struggle to meet the standardized testing requirements also results in the public education system neglecting subjects such as Art, which are not tested.
Students are one of the most stressed demographics, especially during examination periods. They have to juggle their time between academic activities, personal chores, studying, sometimes work, and more. Over 50% of students in the United States both experience high-levels of anxiety.
Though schools do have counselors to help students manage their mental health, the set-up falls short of being adequate. The ratio of pupils to counselors in many public schools is above the recommended levels of 1000-1500 to 1.There’s also a general stigma that prevents children from taking advantage of this program despite the increasing awareness of mental health issues.
Overcrowding is another critical factor contributing to the decline of the American public system education. Many schools feature as many as 40 students per classroom, a figure that stood at an average of 27 for tertiary institutions and 21 for elementary. This situation reduces the efficiency of learning, and tutors can’t offer personalized classroom lessons.
The Drawbacks of Tenures
Sometimes the state awards an exemplary teacher a long-term tenure contract, granting them immunity from receiving the sack letter. The main reason for such a provision is to protect tutors from being booted out due to personal or political reasons. It also serves as an incentive to others to improve their work-rate. Teachers on tenures can speak freely and advocate for students without worrying about reproach from the school system.
Despite tenures being an excellent idea, its execution often misses the mark. Teachers with such contracts are in danger of becoming complacent due to their work immunity. It also makes it challenging to sack ineffective teachers.
Reviewing the United States educational system to reflect the current world situation will help bring it back to its glory days. Finding an alternative to the standardized testing requirements, improving college security, increasing school funding are some of the steps that can trigger the resuscitation of the nation’s public school system.
This article was written by Jennifer Smith, a professional writing tutor from PapersOwl. She’s worked in multiple mass media companies and served in an editor’s capacity for several co-produced books. Jennifer currently runs a blog where she provides top-tier tutoring on writing, editing, and more. She’s also a staunch lover of dogs and always volunteers without pay at her local animal shelter when she finds the time.