Education is an important, and oft-overlooked, aspect of our current President's agenda. So much so that on the list of 2nd term promises he recently released, out of over fifty talking points, only two were education related: pushing patriotic education and promoting more school choice.
Neither of these are functional fixes for any of the problems in our country's education system, but to understand that would be to understand something and it appears our President, unfortunately, doesn't.
When students, like the ones giving their opinions below, know more about what needs to be done than the President you can be both hopeful for the future while fearful of the present.
Reddit user, u/Electrical-Ad3893, wanted to hear the truth from those closest to the situation when they asked:
Take Care Of The People Who Take Care Of Us
Pay teachers much more and just generally try to ensure that there are actually good or at least decent teachers who know what they're doing, don't hate kids and are not doing it just because they weren't accepted anywhere else. Teachers, the good ones who actually care, deserve the world.
I would also love them to have some basic psychology training. I'm pretty sure they should have that already, but it certainly doesn't seem like it a lot of the time...
Also, I would like there to be more focus on actually practial things (like taxes and finances in general, writing academic papers and doing correct citations, public speaking, researching things correctly and working with information, writing on computer with all fingers, first aid, ......).ElsaKit
If You Don't Teach, You'll Never Learn
Make sexual education mandatory and make sure its well financed, not optional.
At Least Remove The Pressure Placed On Them
removed standardized testing
Most studies have shown that it leads to teaching based on passing a specific test instead of teaching to properly impart understanding of subjects, and since funding gets tied to standardized testing requirements the schools engage in all sorts of f-ckery to remove students that underperform and punish teachers that don't get high enough results from their students.
Kids Need A Different Sort Of Education
Put more emphasis on mental health
This is probably one of the biggest problems, and no one is doing much about it. Mental health matters.
Not sure if OP is referring to a specific class on mental health, but I would reform the overall health system in schools, starting with the counseling offices. Mental health care at my high school was a joke, and even after an on-campus suicide, virtually nothing was done to help the students. More emphasis on the importance of mental health, not just through a class but through administrative work, would be ideal.
Not Everyone Is Going To College. And That's Okay.
Bring back shop classes and the Arts. First of all they can teach you useful life skills like how to wire something.
Second these offer alternate paths for people who are legitimately not the college type and gives them a reason to stay in school ie Jim is okay in math and English but absolutely excels in wood shop; He has decided to join an apprentice program to be a carpenter, a well-paying job.
For the college-bound kid it opens their eyes to different concepts and possibilities ie because Mike took music classes, he was introduced to guitar and is now majoring in musical theory.
School Leads To Life. They Need That Balance.
Bring back good food for school lunches to boost moral on school.
Drop subsidized testing and put in extra subjects to actually help people. Cooking, finance class, mechanics class, home ect and basic carpentry class, ect. Give kids skills they will use daily as adults instead of a bunch of useless facts to memorize.
Math, reading and writing are important and so is history, but folks need to learn how to manage their daily adult lives too
Schools Might Like To Pretend It Doesn't Happen, But...
Take bullying seriously, idk about schools everywhere else but in the uk bullying is almost never punished and it does lead to a lot of students struggling with depression
What I dont understand, and I keep seeing so many stories and anecdotes of this being the case, is how a kid can be bullied for a long time (months or even years), and despite talking to teachers/staff like they're supposed to, nothing is really done.
Until the bullied kid stands up for themselves. And only then does the hammer of the f-cking law come slamming down. After begging for help from adults, after their parents demand that the administration do something, after all the sheer apathetic inactivity, it takes the bullied kid fighting back one time for the teacher to suspend (or even expel) both kids. Or just the one whose been getting bullied in some extreme cases!
Like just.... fucking why wasn't this kind of reaction available at the start for the victim?
Sometimes Situations Need A Critical Eye
Zero Zero Tolerance Tolerance Policy.
Zero Tolerance policy means you have a set (typically too strong) punishment for a specific activity, regardless of any reasoning that may have made it acceptable for an individual situation.
One example frequently of its poor use is fighting. Zero tolerance for fighting means anyone involved in any fight gets the same punishment, such as detention or suspension. However, if the fight is just one kid beating the sh-t out of the other kid with zero tolerance it doesn't matter that the other kid getting beat up didn't initiate or cause the fight, it just matters that he was involved.
Basically it is removing any nuance, critical thinking, or exceptions to any rules, which is completely absurd and counterproductive. It is extremely lazy leadership.
School Start Times Are Based On Outdated Work-Day Models
Not start classes at 7:30 in the morning for high school students (which seems to be widespread in the US). I get that the bus schedule needs to be staggered so that the youngest students get to school for 9 or so, so I don't have a real solution. But getting ready for school at the crack of dawn can't be that helpful for learning, especially if students are working on homework until late.
Ready For A Deep Dive? Let's Talk Property Taxes
Change it so property taxes isn't what funds schools.
What are the other problems this would fix?
It would stop the cycle of poor families being stuck with poor schools producing poorly educated kids that turn into poor adults. It would equalize education and allow for more attempts at universally improving it instead of just improving it for rich districts.
People often talk about what makes a lot of European schools better than American ones. They talk about shorter school days, funding for arts, no standardized testing, smaller class sizes, higher teacher pay and all sorts of things. But two things they rarely bring up for Nordic schools is that each school gets the same amount of funding from the national government and there aren't a lot of private schools. Because of this poorer neighborhoods still get lots of funding and rich families have a strong incentive to make sure the schools are great.
And like many things in the US, it also has a racist cause.
White people didn't want to live with and/or help educate black people. In the south this manifested really clearly, massive "No Blacks" signs and Jim Crow segregation; utterly awful but at least honest. The north, however, was still racist; they were just subtler. So they sidelined blacks into black-only neighborhoods (a common tactic was real estate agents just lying about what was available, the justification being that if a black family moved into a middle class/upper class neighborhood the property values would go down), and combined with how property taxes funded schools this meant that white-only schools were funded by their white parents while black-only schools were funded by their black parents.
It's astounding how many systems in the US are in place solely because white people didn't want to help black people, even if it was in their best interest (see conservatives whining about "welfare queens" to justify shutting down/slimming welfare, even though welfare queens don't really exist in the numbers they say they do).
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