Educational issues are a hot topic of debate across America and worldwide. Our school systems are in a constant state of flux and reform, so there is never a shortage of delicate, complex issues worthy of discussion and debate. Providing solid education - from Kindergarten to college - is obviously vital for the future. A well-informed populace is necessary to move humanity forward in terms of social progress, technology, medicine, and more. This is often why education policy issues tend to trigger passionate arguments. We all have an investment in the future, and we all want children and young adults to receive the best educational opportunities possible.
Some problems with education reflect current political issues and social issues, with problems like income inequality, gender divides, and civil rights issues bleeding into our school systems. The ongoing gun debate affects school safety. The rising cost of higher education shows the increasing class divide in America. Even though parents, students, faculty, and political parties can't agree on how to fix these current problems, we can all agree that reforms around safety, testing, and funding are necessary as we race toward a more technologically-advanced and populated economy.
What's wrong with education programs today? Which issues need to be tackled immediately? On-campus safety issues? Bullying? Loan-forgiveness? Below is a list of issues surrounding education in America. Vote up the issues you find the most important and urgent.
Many modern day factors play a role in the importance of physical education. Child obesity, modern technology, and urban environments are all relevant. But should P.E. be a standardized practice among all kids?
Sex Education In Schools
Out of the 24 states that require public schools to teach sex education, only 20 require information be medically, factually, and technically accurate. Should sex education be taught in the classroom at all and - if so - should there be more done to ensure students receive accurate information?
Teacher Wage Increases
Teacher walk-outs and protests around weak wage increases have been dominating east coast school districts. With the rising responsibility on campus to teach multiple subjects, what should wage increases look like for teachers nationwide?
School Choice allows parents to send students to a school of their choosing rather than one in their district. Advocates say it benefits low income families, giving them more options than those provided by schools in their district. Opponents say the program siphons money away from low-income schools, failing to address larger systemic problems.
Are we doing enough to combat bullying? And how effectively is it addressed in the classroom?
There have been 290 school shootings since 2013 and issues like sexual violence and aggressive bullying also plague classrooms everywhere. While Congress works to pass legislation protecting the nation's students, some feel regulations are not strict enough. How can educational programs work to combat such acts?
School Discipline Policies
Every school has a code of conduct that each student must abide. But are discipline policies applied in a fair and consistent manner, regardless of race, gender orientation, and other factors?
Social Emotional Learning (SEL)
Recent research shows that SEL (Social and Emotional Learning) is a key fundamental in children's (and adult's) education. SEL focuses on building strong relationships, practicing empathy, decision making, and learning how to manage emotions. Should we be pushing for more SEL in the classroom?
It's a topic of conversation extending beyond the classroom, but our educational institutions need to be setting the example. Are classrooms teaching students about current issues surrounding civil rights? And are students of all races receiving equal treatment in the classroom?
Rising Cost of Higher Education
Since 1988, the cost of college has risen 163 percent. Is college really feasible for the average person anymore? What can we do to curb costs and make higher education more accessible?
Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)- No Child Left Behind
The controversial "No Child Left Behind" act replaces federal evaluations with state sanctions to create rules around grading, punishments, and general school standards. Some think this ensures schools are up to standard nationwide. Others think too much federal control means government evaluations dictate what curriculum is and is not taught.
While independently run, free from some regulations, and sometimes operated for profit, Charter Schools remain publicly funded. Some feel Charter Schools provide a better learning experience for students. Others feel Charter Schools are a sign public education is becoming too privatized.
Government Spending On Education
With the threat of massive cuts to education spending on the rise, should the government be putting more money into schools? Or are educational cuts reasonable if government money is needed elsewhere?
Length Of School Days
The research on how much longer school days improve learning is still unclear. Is the extra money and time required for increasing classroom hours worth it without significant improvement? And are students spending too much time in the classroom?
Are we doing enough to integrate multicultural lesson plans, literature, and holidays into the classroom to represent our increasingly diverse student bodies?
Diversity In Gifted Education Programs
Gifted education programs can enrich a student's academic experience and provide access to invaluable opportunities later in life. Are we doing enough to make sure we include students of a variety of racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds in gifted programs?
Religion In The Classroom
How much can we teach about religion in public schools? And can students engage in activities related to their faith - such as praying - inside school walls?
With class sizes growing each year - sometimes with 40 kids in a single teacher classroom - are students getting enough individual attention? And how is this affecting their education?
The Common Core
In the same vein as standardized testing, The Common Core sets a standard of what students should know depending on their age and grade. However, is the Common Core based on solid research? Does it factor in that children develop at different rates? Where do you stand?
The Achievement Gap
Achievement gaps - such as the ones between male and female students, white and minority students, and native and non-native English speakers - are the result of a variety of social and economic issues. Should we be doing more to make sure all students have an equal opportunity to succeed?
Technology In The Classroom
In addition to basic questions of whether cellphones, laptops, and similar devices should have a place in the classroom at all, there's the issue of accessibility. Poorer schools generally have less money to put towards equipment like computers, which could put their students at an educational disadvantage.
The Availability Of Assistive Technology
Students with physicals disabilities require certain technologies to keep up with other classmates. How can we make sure these technologies are readily available in every school in America?
Gender Discrimination In STEM
From elementary school to college, female students feel unwelcome in STEM courses. Are there systemic issues pushing women away from this type of curriculum?
Standardized tests are used to determine college eligibility. They are also used to assess a school district's overall success, and schools may receive favor in the form of funding and grants for high test scores. But some say these tests don't really measure intelligence and put students that lack test taking skills at a disadvantage.