Today, national test score data shows that during the COVID-19 epidemic, when many American 9-year-olds were not physically in class, they took a big step backward.

According to CNN’s research, there was a significant decline in average math and reading results from 2020 to 2022:

The public school system in the United States was created many years ago to meet the changing needs of the turn of the century. What was formerly a period of expansion is now irrelevant due to changes in the economy and other factors. But where does the American public school system fall short, and how can we fix it?

This article will discuss the most pressing issues confronting the American public school system right now.

School Financial Shortfalls Caused by the Government

A major problem confronting the public school system in the United States today is funding, which is an issue that schools have always had to deal with. Local and state governments get the bulk of the revenue for K-12 schools (over 90%), mostly from sales and income taxes. But studies reveal that grants have not grown in tandem with needs; in fact, several states are still handing out less money than they had before the recession. With less money, there will be fewer programs and fewer teachers.

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School Safety Has Been Declining

Many people have died and many more have debated the topic of school safety following a spate of prominent mass shootings that occur in US schools. Students voiced worries about the possibility of gun violence on school grounds, with more than half worrying about it. Concerned about the safety of their kids and staff, educators throughout the nation are trying to find solutions to the problem of attack prevention. Critics worry that more firearms in schools would increase the likelihood of accidents and injuries, while proponents of stricter gun laws for educators and concealed carry claim that schools would be safer with these measures in place.

Difficulties Associated With Educational Technology

Although today’s kids have grown up with technology and anticipate it in the classroom, the extent to which it should be utilized in teaching is a matter of debate. Proponents of technology in the classroom argue that it has the ability to involve students more actively and gives them access to current information instantly, while opponents worry that it may divert their attention. Although there are many advantages to using technology in the classroom, there are also some difficult parts. For instance, kids may more easily cheat using cellphones and other easily accessible technologies, which might have a detrimental effect on learning.

The Voucher Scheme and Charter Schools are Contentious

The issue of student choice in schools is another current heated subject. Private and governmental entities work together to support charter schools, which are not part of the traditional public education system. With school vouchers, parents may use public money to send their kids to any school, public or private. Charter schools and voucher programs have their detractors who say they take money out of public schools that are having a hard time making ends meet.

Issues with the Common Core State Standards

To specify the knowledge that students ought to possess by when they finish high school, the Common Core State Standards were established. Its inception in 2009 was driven by a desire to ensure that all pupils were subject to uniform standardized testing standards in an effort to advance educational equity nationwide. Others argue that it limits teachers’ ability to be creative and adaptable in the classroom, while still others see it as an example of federal overreach into state education policy. When the criteria were first proposed, most states embraced them. However, since then, over a dozen states have either abolished or altered them.

Salaries for teachers were cut

In most jurisdictions, teacher wages have been declining for some time now, and they are far from remarkable. Indeed, studies reveal that public school teachers’ average salaries fell by approximately 5% from the 2009/10 school year to the current one. Massive teacher walkouts in 2018 were also felt in areas like Colorado and Oklahoma, where the decline was 16% and 17%, respectively. While general teacher salaries are low, there are a few states that have raised their pay, and some instructors have seen increases in benefits that might make up the difference.

Standardized tests are considered important

Standardized testing has also received more attention, particularly during the No Child Left Behind era, and with the implementation of Common Core. Many people think that the way schools and teachers are evaluated based on students’ test scores is unfair and inaccurate. Standardized testing has many detractors who say it is a major flaw in American education because it encourages teachers to “teach to the test” and diverts attention away from more subjective topics like art.

Debates over certification of educators

The purpose of tenure is to prevent school districts from firing teachers without good reason, which might be influenced by personal or political agendas. Public school teachers in many jurisdictions are eligible for tenure if they have maintained an acceptable evaluation record; however, this is not the case in all states. Some argue that tenured teachers are better able to speak up for their children because they aren’t afraid of retaliation, while others point out that it becomes more difficult for school districts to fire incompetent educators. Another argument against tenure is that it can make educators lazy and complacent.

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Bullying in schools

Bullying is one of the main causes of the alarming increase in violence in schools. Over 20% of kids in grades 6–12 have experienced bullying at school or on the way to or from school, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. While this is an improvement from 2007’s 32%, it is still much too high. Many bullied pupils do not come forward, which makes these numbers problematic. Numerous mental, behavioral, and physical health issues manifest in bullied children, which can have far-reaching consequences for their academic performance and overall well-being.

The issue of student poverty is becoming more problematic

More over half of America’s public school children come from low-income families, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Since 2001, when it was 38%, this is a considerable rise. Forty states have this issue, and forty percent of their public school pupils qualify for free or reduced meals. Student poverty rates above 50% in eighteen of the states. There is a robust relationship between family income and school accomplishment as evaluated by standardized examinations, and research has demonstrated that pupils from low-income families typically outperform their more privileged peers.

Classes are Becoming Too Full

Public school classrooms in the United States typically had 21 pupils in elementary school and nearly 27 students in secondary school during the 2011–2012 academic year. On the other hand, anecdotal evidence suggests that modern classrooms often comprise 30–40 pupils. Some argue that student results are better when class numbers are lower, and teachers and others who support this view believe class sizes affect the quality of education. One argument against reducing class sizes is the potential expense, which some believe is too high to be worthwhile. Class size limits were instituted in Florida in 2002, however a study conducted in 2010 found that fourth through eighth graders’ test performance were unaffected.

Student Mental Health Issues

An increasing number of Americans are worried about their mental health, and this includes students. Anxiety has been documented in younger children as well, and a 2018 research found that almost two-thirds of college students suffered from severe anxiety. There are obstacles for even the most impactful institutions. As an example, the average student-to-counselor ratio on American college campuses is 1,737 to 1, despite the fact that the suggested ratio is one counselor for every 1,000 to 1,500 students. Even though more people are talking about mental health, many students still feel shame when they seek help.

Parents should be more active

Public school educators have little resources at their disposal to help their pupils. The pupils’ personal and intellectual development might be influenced by the conditions at home after they leave school for the day. When parents do not have a bachelor’s degree or above, they might not be able to help their children with their schoolwork. No family is immune to the difficulties that students from low-income, middle-class, and affluent backgrounds confront at home. Many parents are too preoccupied with their careers to adequately fund their children’s schooling.

School closures are becoming more common

The disturbing rate at which schools are closing their doors is happening across. Class sizes and resource shortages will only worsen as a result of this. Even when school board members present objective facts, communities, parents, and educators impacted by closures may still feel singled out. When school closures are inevitable, communities should work to postpone them as much as possible and think of creative ways to put the building to use, such an adult learning center or community center.

Outdated teaching approaches and a lack of teacher creativity

The ways that were effective for students many years ago just do not cut it for today’s students. Standardized testing and the Common Core State Standards have contributed to a decrease in teacher creativity, which is a major problem in the American public school system. A reform in the public school system is necessary to remedy this issue, but unfortunately, this can only be achieved by a shift in government policy.

By Adam

Adam is a passionate writer dedicated to enhancing the educational journey for students worldwide. With a focus on education, student life, and university experiences, Adam shares valuable insights, tips, and tricks to empower students to thrive academically and personally. Through engaging blogs and informative content, Adam strives to inspire and support learners on their path to success. Join Adam as he navigates the dynamic world of education, offering guidance and encouragement every step of the way.

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