Public education has played a very important role in the development of this country and it continues to do so. After all, public education is largely responsible for the outstanding achievement in every field.
However, not everything is rosy with public education. There are a number of problems that we are going to discuss.
The total expenditure for public elementary and secondary schools in the United States in 2013–14 amounted to $634 billion, or $12,509 per public school student enrolled in the fall (in constant 2015–16 dollars).
Those numbers don’t include private elementary and secondary school spending or dollars spent in homeschooling.
Let us see what $12,509 per child per year has accomplished:
1. Class size
The average elementary and secondary classroom in the US has 23 kids. There are variation between schools and some school districts are better than others in that respect, but generally speaking there is one teacher and 23 little ones (and in many cases up to 30) in our public classrooms. I have two children in elementary school and I have never seen a classroom with fewer than 25 kids. I have witnessed how the day goes in such classrooms as a classroom volunteer. Teachers can devote very little time to individual students although study after study and common sense tell us that children need individual attention to thrive. While these conditions are not conducive to an optimal learning environment for any child, they definitely affect the low income, minority and special need children the most.
2. Teacher pay
While there are those who think that teachers are paid too much who may also be the same people who think that "those who can do, do and those who can't do, teach", I would argue that teachers don't get paid nearly enough considering that we entrust them with our future and light of our eyes.
The average middle and secondary school teacher salary in the US is $43.906 which is comparable to a graphic designer, plumber and a pipe fitter. While I don't mean to disparage plumbers, pipefitters or graphic designers, these are professions that don't require a professional degree. If we don't pay teaches their worth, we are bound to attract those who can't do to teach our children and that is unacceptable.
3. Kids academic achievement
Measuring our kids academic achievement is a more difficult proposition than it may appear to be. Read link if you are interested in our take. One way to figure out how much our kids are benefiting from their education is evaluate where they stand among their counterparts around the globe.
One of the biggest cross-national tests is the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), which every three years measures reading ability, math and science literacy and other key skills among 15-year-olds in dozens of developed and developing countries. The most recent PISA results, from 2015, placed the U.S. as the 38th out of 71 countries in math and 24th in science. Among the 35 members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which sponsors the PISA initiative, the U.S. ranked 30th in math and 19th in science.
Younger American students fare somewhat better on a similar cross-national assessment, the Trends in international mathematics and science study. That study, known as TIMSS, has tested students in grades four and eight every four years since 1995. In the most recent tests, from 2015, 10 countries (out of 48 total) had statistically higher average fourth-grade math scores than the U.S., while seven countries had higher average science scores. In the eighth-grade tests, seven out of 37 countries had statistically higher average math scores than the U.S., and seven had higher science scores.
4. Our kids well being
We don’t have enough studies on the subject and the ones that we do have, do not agree 100% of time. However, on average 17% of our kids rate their mental health as poor, 12% have had serious thoughts of suicide and 7% report low self-esteem. Almost a third report high levels of stress and psychological distress. Both conditions have increased over the past few years.
Also, according to the American Test Anxiety Association, the majority of students report being more stressed by tests and by schoolwork than by anything else in their lives. About 16-20% of students have high test anxiety, making this the most prevalent scholastic impairment in our schools today. Another 18% are troubled by moderately-high test anxiety.
It is obvious that public education alone is not enough when it comes to educating America's future.
Our children need alternatives and Freedom Tutors was founded with to achieve just that. Our mission is to supplement what public education already achieves. We offer families a way to find the best instructor for their children at an affordable price.
If your child is struggling at school, find a qualified tutor here
If you are a certified tutor and or licenced teacher and would like to make a difference in young people’s lives, apply to become a Freedom Tutor here
If you would like to volunteer or donate to help public schools, please fill this form and we will pair you with a public school teacher.
We welcome your comments or suggestions.
Reference: http://www.oecd.org/pisa/aboutpisa/ ; http://amtaa.org/