The public education system needs big changes because it no longer works effectively. When the American public school system was developed, our nation was populated by immigrants from a variety of cultures and predominantly agrarian. Schools were generally closed during summer months due to the demand for child labor in the fields. The skills focused upon in schools were basic reading, writing, and mathematics, skills necessary for interacting responsibly and effectively with others in an agrarian society. Job skills and higher learning were taught elsewhere. These skills were developed through apprenticeships, family businesses, and at university.
In recent generations, the public school system has struggled to keep up with ever increasing demands being placed upon it to teach social and professional skills, as well as academic skills, to keep up with technological developments, and to care for neglected, abused, and disabled students. As with most successful endeavors, trying to do too much is the fastest road to failure.
Staying focused on goals
Limits must be set regarding the education system’s objectives. It is not financially or physically possible to provide for every need, interest, or agenda. The goal of education must return to the primary directive of giving students the tools they need to be successful in today’s society.
Get politics out of schools
The education system needs big changes because of the risk for political corruption and financial favoritism, because teachers need and deserve better pay and control in the classroom, and because there is a limit what can be accomplished within the classroom environment. The public education system relies heavily upon public funding for teacher, administrator, and maintenance salaries, school buildings and other facilities, and teaching materials. Human nature, being what it is, has lead the public education system to become a pawn of local politicians and powerful school book publishers and education supply companies. This paradigm must be broken to eliminate wasteful spending on unnecessary and duplicate supplies that profit everyone except students and taxpayers. Rather than being subject to political agendas, the education system must focus on the need to teach useful skills that are relevant to modern society.
Another reason why the education system needs big changes is because of the big changes that have occurred in family life. Traditionally, mother stayed at home and supervised children and stressed the importance of education and responsible behavior. Today, two income families, economic hardship, school violence and bullying, and a plethora of distraction make it difficult for students to learn. If the education system takes these societal changes into account, academic results can improve, creating a better educated and more responsible generation.
No longer the teacher of simple, basic skills, teachers, the most valuable aspect of the system, are paid and treated the worst, while the least productive components, such as higher level administration personnel, receive six figure salaries and interfere with the learning process at every step of the game. By treating teachers as less than the highly skilled professionals they are, many gifted teachers are lost to other industries. Teachers are professionally trained and personally dedicated to promoting learning for each student in their classroom. It is that dedication and skill set that must be the focus of improvements in the education system.
The education system needs big changes because control of the educational process has been separated from the realities of today’s classroom. Over spending, excessive goals, and unrestrained administration are all interfering with the educational process.