The 10 Biggest Failures of the American Public Education System

The Top 10 American Public Education Mistakes

Not all of the reforms being fought for by policymakers to the American public school system are good ones. A tremendous lot of back-and-forth throughout the years has left the public school system in disarray. While some of these difficulties are new and the result of technological advancements, legislative changes, and general life changes, others are well-known and have been there for a while.

There are always going to be supporters and detractors of each program or policy that is implemented, just as every story has two sides. An outline of some of the most significant problems plaguing the American educational system is provided below, along with viewpoints from opposing parties.

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The top 10 mistakes that the American public school system has made are as follows:

1. Shortages in the public education budget.

In reality, one of the main problems confronting the public education system in the United States today is funding, which is a constant source of concern for schools. State and local governments provide money for approximately 90% of K–12 schools, with the majority of this revenue coming from income and sales taxes. However, research reveals that financing has not kept up with demand; in fact, several states continue to provide money that is less than it was before to the Great Recession. Reduced resources, fewer activities, and fewer teachers are the results of lower financing.

2. A reduction in school security.

Numerous high-profile mass shootings in American schools have led to discussions over school safety in addition to the deaths of dozens of people. According to a survey, more than half of teens were concerned about the potential for gun violence at schools. The challenge of preventing assaults and preserving the lives of students and staff falls on educators across the nation. Critics contend that having more firearms in schools may increase the number of accidents and injuries, while some think that specific courses for teachers and the carrying of concealed weapons could make schools safer.

3. Issues with technology use in the classroom.

There are disagreements on the extent to which technology should be used in education, yet kids of today have grown up with it and are accustomed to it in the classroom. While some argue that technology might be a distraction, proponents argue that it offers the possibility of more active student interaction and fast access to current information. Although using technology in the classroom offers many advantages, there are also drawbacks. For instance, kids may now cheat more easily and there is a potential for learning to be severely impacted by cellphones and easy access to technology.

4. The dispute around voucher and charter school initiatives.

School choice is another popular subject in education these days. Parents may provide their children choices besides traditional public schools by using school vouchers and charter schools. Charter schools function independently of the public education system and are supported by a combination of public and private funding. With school vouchers, parents may send their kids to whatever school they choose, even private ones, by using public monies. Charter schools and voucher programs are criticized for diverting funding from public schools, which are already having financial difficulties.

5. Issues with the Common Core State Standards.

The precise knowledge that students have to possess prior to receiving their high school diploma is outlined in the Common Core State Standards. It was created in 2009 with the goal of promoting educational fairness nationwide by imposing uniform standards on standardized testing for all pupils. Some claim that the issue stems from federal meddling in state sovereignty over education, while others argue that it prevents teachers from being creative and adaptable in the classroom. When the criteria were first presented, the majority of states followed them; however, over a dozen later changed or abolished them.

6. A reduction in teacher pay.

The majority of states have seen a steady decline in teacher pay over the past few years, making them by no means spectacular. In reality, studies reveal that between the 2009–10 academic year and the present, the average pay for public elementary and secondary school teachers decreased by over 5%. States like Colorado and Oklahoma had a 16% and 17% decline, respectively, and in 2018 these states also witnessed widespread teacher walkouts. Of course, there are states where teacher salaries have gone up, and some teachers have seen an increase in benefits; nevertheless, these increases may or may not be sufficient to make up for generally poor pay.

7. A focus on exams that are standardized.

Standardized testing has also received more attention in addition to Common Core, particularly during the No Child Left Behind years. Student test results are used to evaluate schools and instructors, however many contend that this is an unfair and imprecise indicator of effectiveness. Standardized testing, according to many critics, is one of the main issues facing American education. They contend that the pressure to get high test scores causes teachers to focus more on teaching to the test and less on non-tested areas like art.

8. Conflicts about the tenure of teachers.

The purpose of tenure is to shield educators from being fired for political or personal reasons; nevertheless, the school system must provide proof of reasonable cause. Public school teachers who have continuously gotten positive evaluations are eligible for tenure in many states; however, other states do not offer tenure at all. While detractors claim that tenure makes it more difficult for school systems to fire ineffective teachers, proponents argue that tenured instructors may speak up for pupils without worrying about negative consequences. Additionally, others contend that tenure can promote complacency among educators, enabling them to work as little as possible.

9. Bullying in schools.

Bullying is a major factor in the growing problem of violence in schools. The National Center for Education Statistics reports that more than 20% of children in grades 6 through 12 had experienced bullying, either at school or while traveling there or back. Although this percentage has decreased from 32% in 2007, it is still much too high. The problem with these numbers is that a large percentage of harassed pupils choose not to come forward. Numerous behavioral, emotional, and physical issues affect bullied adolescents, which can have an effect on their academic and overall well-being.

10. The issue of student poverty is getting worse.

The National Center for Education Statistics reported that low-income kids made up over 50% of the student body enrolled in public schools in the United States. Compared to 38% in 2001, there has been a notable growth. With 40% of public school pupils in 40 states being eligible for free or reduced-price lunches, this is a national issue. Over 50% of students lived in poverty in 18 of those states. Research indicates that pupils from low-income families often do worse than those from wealthy families, and there is a substantial relationship between family income and standardized test scores.