American teachers and students across the country have faced numerous problems during the last couple of years. From the COVID-19 pandemic, which has undoubtedly impacted schools everywhere, to the recent teacher shortage, new issues have emerged, forcing policymakers and school managers to rethink traditional strategies. Although the healthcare crisis has been tamed and most teachers and students have already returned to normal, the lingering effects of the pandemic continue to affect education today. Moreover, other major issues, such as inadequate government funding and ineffective use of new technologies and platforms, continue to impact the US education system.
There is no question that the US education system is currently facing numerous challenges, from state funding cuts to the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and more. However, the good news is that the Biden Administration has recently reaffirmed its decision to develop concrete solutions to advance education and provide teachers and school managers with the best solutions to their problems. On World Teachers’ Day, the White House issued a statement saying “the Biden-Harris Administration is committed to celebrating and elevating the teaching profession, and to addressing the challenges facing teachers.”
Let’s take a look at the major issues that are now impacting the US education system.
Recruiting and Retaining Teachers
According to the White House, the current administration hopes to address the challenges facing teachers through “comprehensive actions to recruit, respect, and retain educators.” The teacher shortage crisis is undoubtedly one of the most significant issues facing education today, and it could become even worse unless effective solutions are found quickly. Policymakers hope to address this challenge by increasing salaries and improving working conditions for American educators. Moreover, the Biden Administration is also trying to develop high-quality pathways that would make it easier for people to become teachers, while also improving overall teacher retention rates.
Teachers Spend Too Much Time Working
Recruiting and retaining teachers might be easier said than done, considering the fact that American teachers spend too much time working compared to their peers across the world. According to EducationWeek, the Organization for Economic Development and Cooperation has recently released a report showing that US educators at most grades spend more time at work than their foreign peers. Except for preschool teachers, American teachers tend to spend more hours per year at work than at home. However, it is worth nothing that the workloads of elementary and secondary teachers from other countries around the world have also increased since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Ongoing Effects of the Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly reshaped many education systems around the world, particularly by forcing both teachers and students to adapt to remote and hybrid courses. The healthcare crisis proved just how important it is for countries to invest in training teachers to keep up with the use of technology in classrooms. However, there are other significant challenges that have either emerged or grown in size during the pandemic. Stress and anxiety among teachers are among the most serious, with K-12 teachers and workers now being the most burned-out workers in America, according to Fortune.
Government Funding and Financial Support
According to Trade-Schools.net, many states are still providing schools less financial support than they did before the Great Recession. For this reason, insufficient government funding and financial aid have become some of the most important issues currently affecting the US education system. However, the good news is that the US Department of Education has recently announced new investments under the Supporting Effective Educator Development (SEED) program. These new investments include 22 new three-year grants totaling more than $60 million to support the recruitment and retention of a talented and diverse workforce.
Ineffective Use of New Technologies
New technologies and platforms have undoubtedly helped both teachers and students adapt to the social distancing measures imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, while technology has always been a powerful tool, it can also interfere with learning. A recent study suggests that students who multitask on a laptop score lower on tests compared to their peers who do not multitask. Considering that, during the healthcare crisis, both teachers and students were forced to quickly adapt to new technologies and platforms, the study’s findings seem to indicate that more research is needed to adapt current learning methods to these new technologies.