As an American Public School Teacher, what can be done to make public schools better?

As an American Public School Teacher, what can be done to make public schools better?

What do you think?

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  1. To start, they should pay you more. Teachers are one of the most important job roles in society, and in the US, at least, they are often treated like second-rate citizens. I have several friends working on teaching degrees that often joke about who will have the best”Job number 2″. Heartbreaking.

    As far as the school systems, I graduated a while ago now, so I dont know how up to date my info is, but a couple of things come to mind.

    Learning more practical skills on top of just academics, I’m going to be 30 soon, and my mother still does my taxes for me, lol. We had one lesson about this in grade 4 or 5.

    Better lunches, for the love of all things holy. Cheap low quality options that never really tasted good and never really were too healthy either. Seeing some of the lunches students from other countries get compared to the US is crazy.

    I think schools need to better understand that not every kid is going to go to college. I understand pushing it, but back in the day, the tactic to encourage it was essentially “get good grades for college or you’re going to be a loser” was all scare tactics. I think options should be available for students who don’t see their future in higher education to learn about still having a fruitful life through occupations that don’t require a 4 year degree.

    Homework, especially depending on your classes when school is in its nonstop. You spend the majority of your day in school and then come home and have sometimes 5-6 assignments a night. Leaves no time for rest/leisure, which has always felt incredibly backward to me. Especially when so young, not having that time to rest is extremely mentally taxing. Maybe limit the amount of HW a teacher can give weekly? Don’t know the fix for this but it was by far my least favorite part of being a student.

    More mental health help avaliable for students. We had one guidance counselor per grade, and each grade had 1000~ students. Wasn’t even close to enough.

    This list goes on. I don’t want to write a book here. But I really hope the public schools here see improvement over time. I also know it’s very district dependent, and some are in much better shape than others.

  2. Stop viewing schools as a one stop shop for mental health services, food for food insecure families, a place to teach basic manners and socialization skills, etc.

    Start thinking of schools as places to learn, and fully fund other social programs that fix the other problems.

    The biggest issue with American education is that it is the government’s way to hide the lack of basic social safety nets that the government itself should be providing to its citizens instead of building more predator drones.

  3. The way that schools are funded needs to be entirely redrawn. Private and religious schools should be outlawed. Homeschooling should only be allowed in extreme cases of disability or remote location. If you want to indoctrinate your own child, do it on your own time during the summer. Get rid of fundraising organizations, such as PTO’s, in their entirety.

    Every state should have their funding allocated by child, not by district. There should not be rich and poor schools. There should just be all of the schools in a state, funded by every person in the state.

    I know that’s not popular, largely because rich people don’t want to fund poor rural children’s education, but the largest flaw in our current system is the massive wealth inequality. When rich parents are forced to fund public schools instead of their own child’s school, they invest in the state as a whole. It allows for a more equitable education that starts to break the cycle of income-determined quality of education. Every child deserves a chance to have a good and fair education and that’s how we start.

    If every parent in America had to send their child to a public school, and had to invest in the system as a whole, we could make huge strides forward as a country. Some states, such as Virginia, and European countries have adopted parts of this model and it works amazingly. The results produced for students are unquestionably beneficial.

  4. I’m a teacher: stop saying every kid will go to college. No they are not. I have teenage students that can’t do fractions or read at a 4th grade level. How do you expect those kids to go to college?

    Also start bringing punishments back. I had a kid the other day choke another student. No punishment. I have a kid that hasn’t come to school in 4 weeks and the kid is not sick. I have a student who has only done 3 assignments out of 10; district policy says to only count the work the kids actually done so she has an A.

  5. • Stop homework. Offer reading and/or bonus work instead to incentivize learning. My son is in 7th grade and his math teacher offers study guides aka homework as extra credit. It is the only homework he brings home. My youngest son is in 5th grade and they are finally starting to only send unfinished work home. (Imo, that’s ALL homework should be – unfinished work.)
    • Enforce the no bullying policy. No really, actually enforce it. Posters and brief morning chats about being kind isn’t working. Stop turning a deaf ear and blind eye to bullying by blowing it off as kids being kids. Or worse, it’s building character. We need more ears and eyes in classrooms. I believe when schools began icing parents out of the classrooms and volunteer spots – kids became more emboldened with their bullying.
    • Pay teachers more so more want to teach. We need to correct the horrible teacher:student ratios. One teacher cannot effectively teach or monitor 30+ children. Period. I don’t care how amazing of a teacher you are – you’re ONE person to 30!
    • Hold teachers accountable for their bullying behavior. My sons have experienced horrible teachers. They’ve also had a few incredible ones.
    • Give teachers mental health days. Allow them the space to take a break when they need so they can effectively teach.
    • Don’t run the cafeteria like a prison. It’s disgusting how the staff walks around with their hands behind their backs monitoring every move. Yes, supervise but don’t act like you’re a prison guard and hate your inmates aka students.
    • Quit telling children they can’t use the bathroom. Period. Using the bathroom is not a privilege, it’s a basic function of life. For those kids who enjoy taking breaks to the bathroom, maybe they just need a break. If they play in the bathroom address the playing, not the right to use it.
    •Lastly, 🛑STOP! with group punishments! It’s asinine. I absolutely hate it. Punishing an entire table for the actions of 1 or 2 is ridiculous. The 6 other children following the rules and listening shouldn’t be responsible for the 1 or 2 who refuse to listen. A 5th grader cannot control the actions of another 5th grader. It infuriates me when my child is listening but because his table partner is not they both lose a privilege. I will NEVER believe this helps anyone. All it shows the listeners is that is doesn’t pay to listen. All it shows the instigators is that they don’t have accountability.

  6. In many cases, the problem isn’t the schools as much as it is cultural. There are far too many people who simply don’t place any value on education.

    I received a fantastic public school education, but I hear former classmates talk about how poorly they were educated. The reality is that they made no effort because their families never instilled in them the importance of an education.

  7. Reduce the amount of content taught so we can focus on more depth of learning.

    Retain students that don’t perform.

    Suspend students that disrupt the learning evironment.

    Force students not progressing to attend Saturday intervention classes.

    Less paperwork. Give me a secretary or cut it out already.

    Fire ineffective administrators.

    Offer relevant training.

    Stop moving heaven and earth to accommodate students in a gen ed setting that should instead be placed in a classroom better suited to meeting their needs.

    Peer review used for teacher evaluation instead of administrative review.

    More parents need to care about their child’s failure enough to do something about it.

    If students are more than one year behind grade level, don’t put them in a regular class. Trying to teach multiple kids (often more than half for me, if you can believe it)that are more than 2 years behind slows everything down and reduces the quality of grade level instruction.

    I’m sure there’s more. People always talk about salary or having to buy supplies, but those are easy fixes. We need structural change.

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