Big Ideas About America's Schools: The Year's Most Memorable Educational Essays (2023)

OfBev Weintraub

learning loss Lack of teachers. The role of parents in the education of their children. Tutorships. Mental health student. The science of reading. Following the ESSER money.

There is a widespread consensus about the nature of the challenges facing America's schools, teachers, and students as the country cautiously and stumbles to return to normal in the wake of COVID-19. But as to what to do about these challenges, opinions are mixed and quite controversial.

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That tension has spiked in our opinion pages over the past year, fueling debate and perhaps (we hope) guiding discussion about the best ways to help kids, schools, and educators bounce back when the pandemic finally recedes. These are the 18 best essays we published this year:

Schneider: Inside new data suggesting American education is still built on 'lies'

grade inflation: In March, the results of the latest High School Transcript Study were released, and unfortunately, wrote Mark Schneider, director of the Institute of Educational Sciences, they support the charge that schools routinely mislead their students. Many data points, if they were true reflections of reality, "should lead us to celebrate our students' success," but the evidence "shows a disconnect," he writes. "We see 'inflation' in grades and course titles, but stagnation in student performance."

Big Ideas About America's Schools: The Year's Most Memorable Educational Essays (2)

Educator's point of view: I understand my students because I have been there:

Child poverty: When contributor Kristina Eisenhower was in fifth grade, her teacher told the class to take $1.25 to a pizza place. She had no money and she was afraid to ask her father, who worked 7 to 5 and could barely pay the bills. When she told her teacher that she only had 62 cents, she sent her to the cafeteria for lunch instead of celebrating with the class. Sixteen years later, that memory remains clear. But as an elementary school teacher at a Title I school, Eisenhower understands her students and her struggles. And no child who has ever passed through your classroom has had to miss a party, whether they brought money or not.

Big Ideas About America's Schools: The Year's Most Memorable Educational Essays (3)

post secondary education: A recent survey asked a representative sample of 1,000 teens to compare their plans for graduate school before the COVID-19 pandemic with what their intentions are now, two years later. Your answers should refer to higher education institutions, because the next generation seems less interested in the traditional college track. Interest in enrolling in a four-year university fell 14%. And those students may never return. Contributors John Kristof and Colyn Ritter had the meltdown.

Big Ideas About America's Schools: The Year's Most Memorable Educational Essays (4)

When grades and test scores don't add up, who can parents trust?

grade inflation: Contributor's daughter Alina Adams is an outstanding student at her New York public high school. But on one of the two state regents tests she took this year, she didn't even score well enough to qualify for "mastery" in the subject. Adams' daughter is not alone in this disconnect; it happens all over the country. Grade inflation has been a problem for decades, and with the cancellation of standardized tests due to COVID, it just got worse. But these scores are a kind of second opinion. They confirm the teacher's opinion of her child, or at least they should inspire the parents to take a closer look.

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Big Ideas About America's Schools: The Year's Most Memorable Educational Essays (5)

How 232 Schools Across America Are Challenging 5 Big Assumptions About Education

Innovative Schools: Many of the challenges facing schools, writes contributor Chelsea Waite, are actually long-lasting structural failures that predate COVID-19. “Fortunately, a wide range of communities are working to reinvent education in pursuit of their visions for thriving youth and families,” Waite writes. “Not all learning environments they are designing and redesigning look the same; in fact, far from it. But what they have in common is challenging key assumptions about education to create more equitable, joyful and welcoming learning environments that reflect community values ​​and priorities.” These learning environments are now the focus of a growing national effort called The Canopy Project, a data set that documents the practices of 232 schools with a long history of innovation.

Big Ideas About America's Schools: The Year's Most Memorable Educational Essays (6)

New education calculator estimates COVID learning losses by district and costs of educating children

learning loss: Our friends at Georgetown University's Economics Lab have released a revealing new tool that will allow parents and policymakers in 8,000 school districts to estimate how much help area students will need to recover from COVID learning losses, how much may this acceleration of learning cost in the form of tutoring and how those costs compare to the federal aid funds recently allocated to the district. Read more about how these estimates are calculated and try the calculator for yourself; all you need is the name of the state and county.

Big Ideas About America's Schools: The Year's Most Memorable Educational Essays (7)

New studies show that charter schools generate profits for all children in public schools

charter schools: Thirty years ago, when the charter school movement was just getting started, devotees of big-city school systems feared that these new options would drain critical funding, harm children left behind, and create a system in which race played a role. big role. central role, but often unrecognized, even more unfair. However, in recent years it has become increasingly clear that concerns about the damage inflicted by charter schools are misplaced, as evidenced by a pair of new studies that found large and statistically significant gains for all students enrolled. publicly as charter schools expand. Collaborators Michael J. Petrilli and David Griffith take stock of the new research.

Big Ideas About America's Schools: The Year's Most Memorable Educational Essays (8)

The biggest blind spot in education: the role of parents in their children's learning

Country: The focus on tutoring, summer school and extended days to make up for lost learning reveals perhaps the biggest blind spot in education, says contributor Alejandro Gibes de Gac, because engaging families is the only comprehensive, cost-effective way and culturally responsive to increase instructional time and accelerate learning recovery. Parent involvement is the most powerful predictor of children's academic success, yet policymakers and administrators focus almost exclusively on improving schools, where students spend only 13% of their waking hours. Ignoring the role parents play in their children's learning leaves the door open for inequality to run rampant.

Big Ideas About America's Schools: The Year's Most Memorable Educational Essays (9)

There's no "big stop" in K-12 education, but schools have specific job challenges

lack of teachers: Economists have called this the Great Quit: millions of employees leaving their jobs in search of better wages and better working conditions. Is this Big Quit happening in education? According to contributor Chad Aldeman, the data suggests the answer is no. While turnover rates are setting new records in the private sector, they appear to be quite normal in public education. This is not to say that there are not employment challenges in K-12, but these issues are less in magnitude than those facing the private sector and have much more to do with specific schools and specific roles within schools. Districts, Aldeman writes, must respond accordingly with solutions, including those that involve targeted salary increases, tailored to the real challenges schools face.

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Big Ideas About America's Schools: The Year's Most Memorable Educational Essays (10)

King & Davis: The science of reading gives children the best chance to close the literacy gap

read science: The new NAEP reading scores showed that the need for immediate and effective action has never been more urgent. While districts invest their federal COVID relief dollars in extended learning time and intensive tutoring, say taxpayers John B. King and Jacquelyn Davis, they should not neglect their collective responsibility to strengthen basic education for all children. The best lever to accelerate learning in America is to use the science of how children learn to read. The human brain is designed to speak and absorb language, but not to read. Most children need instruction in phonics, vocabulary, and basic knowledge to understand the written word.

Big Ideas About America's Schools: The Year's Most Memorable Educational Essays (11)

Tutorships: Effective tutoring is one of the few educational interventions with a strong research base. Best Approach: Groups of four or fewer students meet several times a week with a trained and consistent tutor using a high-quality curriculum. But high-impact mentoring is hard to scale. How do you find enough qualified adults to work with millions of students in small group settings? And how can schools know if the high-tech learning products they buy are effective? In this essay, contributors Kevin Huffman and Janice Jackson describe a grant program that seeks to promote effective innovative strategies to improve student learning.

Big Ideas About America's Schools: The Year's Most Memorable Educational Essays (12)

What if innovation, not more educators, is the solution to the teacher shortage?

rethink teaching: Amid the debate over looming teacher shortages, a key point is missed, says contributor Brian Greenberg: Even if schools could revert to the old one-teacher-in-class approach, they shouldn't. A better approach to the status quo is possible, and innovative educators are working on creative solutions that put more focus on each student, amplify the impact of the best educators, and reshape the role of the teacher. Here, the Silicon Schools Fund CEO points out some noteworthy developments.

Big Ideas About America's Schools: The Year's Most Memorable Educational Essays (13)

What will $50 billion in COVID relief funds buy?

Federal Aid Funding: Nearly a year after Congress approved $122 billion in emergency COVID relief for middle and high schools through the American Rescue Plan, school districts and charter organizations have focused their spending on three priorities: recovery academic, staff, and school facilities and operations. A new analysis by FutureEd, an independent, nonpartisan think tank at Georgetown University's McCourt School of Public Policy, is the first to detail how $50 billion in emergency funding for elementary and secondary schools (ESSER III) they are flowing through 3,056 school districts and charter organizations. . educating 60% of the country's public school students. Contributors Bella DiMarco and Phyllis W. Jordan examine spending in seven main categories and 78 subcategories.

Big Ideas About America's Schools: The Year's Most Memorable Educational Essays (14)

Parents need to know the truth about learning loss. NAEP proves it

learning loss: New NAEP scores quantify how catastrophic school policies and practices were in the pandemic era. But many leaders aren't mustering the political courage to talk to parents about the scope of the problem. Schools have obfuscated what learning loss means. Some states were slow to release test score data; in others, school officials downplay the importance of tests. This new round of data from NAEP, says contributor Andrew Rotherham, should put an end to any doubt about telling parents where things are and what needs to be done. Eliminate the last excuse for not providing honest accounting: now.

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Big Ideas About America's Schools: The Year's Most Memorable Educational Essays (15)

Higher education:While the pandemic has accelerated the national decline in college enrollment, the crisis has been building for decades. Although a college degree has increasingly become a prerequisite for stable, well-paying jobs, the cost in money and time has become increasingly prohibitive. Addressing these fundamental flaws, say contributors Dumaine Williams and Stephen Tremaine, means questioning some of the foundation. For example: Why should college education begin at age 18 and only after the student graduates from high school? In this essay, the dean and CEO of Bard Early Colleges describes programs across the country that start low-income students on the path to college while they are still in high school and provide tools to help them persist until graduation. .

Big Ideas About America's Schools: The Year's Most Memorable Educational Essays (16)

Most students who dropped out of college during COVID want to return, but many can't

College Pipeline:A report from the National Student Clearinghouse shows that total post-high school enrollment dropped by approximately 685,000 students in the spring of 2022. Following COVID-19 losses and disruptions, US colleges and universities lost 1 .3 million students in the last two years. Why? A recent study by the Gallup-Lumina Foundation shows that while there is great demand and interest in higher education, many students cannot access or pay for it. In this essay, Lumina contributor Courtney Brown sheds some light on these barriers and what can be done about them.

Big Ideas About America's Schools: The Year's Most Memorable Educational Essays (17)

A crisis in slow motion: Gen Z's battle against depression, addiction and hopelessness

Mental health: The mental health crisis among America's youth was a simmer now raging in the wake of COVID-19. New research from the Walton Family Foundation and Murmuration shows that more Americans born between 1997 and 2012 are struggling with depression, hopelessness, addiction and suicide than previous generations. The symptoms often go unnoticed, manifesting themselves in awkward silences at the dinner table and closed bedroom doors. But the pandemic has taken too heavy a toll to ignore. Contributor Caryl M. Stern, CEO of Walton, breaks down the numbers and points out some organizations with innovative ways to help.

Big Ideas About America's Schools: The Year's Most Memorable Educational Essays (18)

Latino students will soon account for 30% of public school enrollment. Now what?

bilingual education: US schools enroll more than twice as many Latino students as in 1995, federal data suggests, and by 2030, Latinos will account for roughly 30% of public school enrollment. These students bring a rich diversity and a variety of strengths to the classroom, writes Conor Williams, 74 staff, but also a long history of segregation and poor service. Williams suggests three ways educators can meet the needs of this rapidly growing student demographic: diversify the teaching force, ensure broad access to bilingual education, and prioritize their enrollment in early childhood education programs.

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What is the main idea of education in America? ›

“The main purpose of the American school is to provide for the fullest possible development of each learner for living morally, creatively, and productively in a democratic society.” “The one continuing purpose of education, since ancient times, has been to bring people to as full a realization as possible of what it ...

What do you think is the biggest issue in the American educational system? ›

Many American critics believe that the major problem with public education today is a lack of focus on results. Students aren't expected to meet high standards, the argument goes, and the process of education takes precedence over analyzing education results in policy-making circles.

What are the major issues facing the US school system today? ›

Deficits in government funding for schools.

Funding is always an issue for schools and is, in fact, one of the biggest issues facing the American public education system today. For more than 90% of K-12 schools, funding comes from state and local governments, largely generated by sales and income taxes.

What is good about the American education system? ›

That's because American schools are well known for providing high-quality education through a balanced, tried-and-tested curriculum. The US education system is informed by cutting-edge research, which helps develop students into critical thinkers with well-rounded social-emotional skills.

What are the 3 important goals of education? ›

To impart knowledge and skills to prepare students for the real world. To produce learners, who can think deeply and solve problems. To create an authentic learning environment, where students can apply their learned skills and knowledge to solve real-world challenges and come up with meaningful solutions.

Why is education important to US essay? ›

Education certainly determines the quality of an individual's life. Education improves one's knowledge, skills and develops the personality and attitude. Most noteworthy, Education affects the chances of employment for people. A highly educated individual is probably very likely to get a good job.

What is one example of how America's education system is in trouble? ›

A lack of investment in education and educators is one of the 10 reasons the U.S. education system is failing. Simply put - educators as professionals are undervalued, and by extension, students are missing out on improved educational outcomes, predominantly affecting low-income students.

What are the top 3 major problems concerns issues specifically for college students? ›

Common Issues for College Students.
  • Social anxiety, general anxiety, test anxiety, or panic attacks.
  • Family expectations or problems.
  • Depression, lack of energy or motivation, hopelessness, being overwhelmed, low self-esteem, homesickness, loneliness.

What are some of the social challenges by schools today? ›

9 challenges students face in school are poverty, homeless families, child abuse and neglect, bullying (including cyber bullying), violence, obesity and eating disorders, sex and pregnancy, suicide, drugs, and dropping out.

What are the four major problems of school students? ›

The Common Problems Faced by Students in School
  • Poor Teaching.
  • Humiliation.
  • Stress Boredom.
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  • There Is No Place Like Home.
Feb 1, 2021

How would you describe the American school system? ›

K-12 education system

K-12 stands for 'from Kindergarten to 12th grade'. This equates roughly to a school starting age of around five through to Grade 12 at around the age of 18. The system is broken down into three stages: elementary school (Grades K–5), middle school (Grades 6–8) and high school (Grades 9–12).

Does the United States have the best education system? ›

In general, developing nations tend to offer their citizens a higher quality of education than the least developed nations do, and fully developed nations offer the best quality of education of all.
Education Rankings by Country 2023.
CountryUnited States
Rank (2021)1
Rank (2020)1
2023 Population339,996,563
76 more columns

What is the most important purpose of education? ›

If it weren't for education at all levels, you wouldn't be able to read, write, speak, think critically, make informed decisions, know right from wrong, effectively communicate, or understand how the world works.

What is the purpose and goals of public education in the United States? ›

Public schools exist for three primary reasons: Develop a productive workforce. Create an informed citizenry. Provide for social mobility.

What are the 4 basic purpose of education? ›

These four above include implicit assumptions about the aims of school being: 1) academic achievement, social mobility; 2) character/mindset development, math learning; 3) social cohesion, and; 4) social equality.

What are the importance of education in 5 points? ›

Education helps you develop critical skills like decision-making, mental agility, problem-solving, and logical thinking. People face problems in their professional as well as personal lives. In such situations, their ability to make rational and informed decisions comes from how educated and self-aware they are.

What is the importance of education essay in 100 words? ›

Importance of Education Essay 1 (100 words)

It develops confidence and helps building personality of a person. School education plays a great role in everyone's life. The whole education has been divided into three divisions such as the primary education, secondary education and Higher Secondary education.

Why is education important short answer? ›

Proper education improves people's understanding of the world around them, making them less susceptible to the influence of others. Proper interpretation of information requires education, as it improves knowledge. An educated person better understands their own and others' purpose in society, and their rights.

What are the three biggest issues in education today? ›

Several of the present issues of education are:
  • Government funding for education. On any list of current issues in education, school funding ranks near the top. ...
  • School safety. ...
  • Disciplinary policies. ...
  • Technology in education. ...
  • Charter schools and voucher programs. ...
  • Common Core. ...
  • Standardized testing. ...
  • Teacher salaries.
May 19, 2022

What is the biggest challenge facing education today? ›

Challenges in the Education Industry: The Post-COVID Reality

The primary challenge is the imbalance between the efficiency, the pace of learning, quality, and overall learning experience in offline and online classes. There is a huge demand for lifelong learning to cope with social and technological changes.

What are the 3 main issues problem to be resolved in the educational system in the Philippines? ›

These include high dropout rates, low pupil performance, poor teacher quality in a system where teachers are central to the education process, irrelevant learning materials, excessive centralization, and inadequate financial resources.

What are the major problems faced by elementary and secondary schools in the United States today? ›

10 Major Challenges Facing Public Schools
  • Classroom Size.
  • Poverty.
  • Family Factors.
  • Technology.
  • Bullying.
  • Student Attitudes and Behaviors.
  • No Child Left Behind.
  • Parent Involvement.
May 18, 2022

What can schools do to improve equity? ›

8 meaningful equity in the classroom strategies
  • Start with yourself. ...
  • Model equity for your students. ...
  • Be flexible with online learning. ...
  • Address inappropriate remarks. ...
  • Create an equitable classroom environment. ...
  • Accommodate different learning styles. ...
  • Examine your teaching materials. ...
  • Give students a voice.
Jun 3, 2022

What are the problems faced to bring equality in education? ›

The reasons behind these failures are: Poverty: Poverty is one of the main reasons for inequality in educational opportunities. Poor Children does not get as much opportunity as the children's' from wealthy families get. Due to poverty lack of adequate opportunity also arises.

What are the common problems of students in school? ›

Some of these immature, irritating, or thoughtless behaviors or “classroom incivilities” include:
  • lateness or leaving early.
  • inappropriate cellphone and laptop usage in class.
  • side conversations.
  • disregard for deadlines.
  • grade grubbing.
  • sniping remarks.
  • cheating.

What are the 5 challenges facing the first year students at universities or colleges? ›

10 potential challenges and how to deal with them
  • Homesickness. One of the first challenges you may face in university is missing home. ...
  • Effective studying. ...
  • Relationships. ...
  • Partying. ...
  • Physical and mental health. ...
  • Cost of an education and student debt. ...
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What are the problems faced by students in learning? ›

There are too many distractions

There are so many external stimuli these days that it's little wonder that many students feel distracted. Social media, friends, phone, television, video games and outings all have a part to play in wreaking havoc on students' ability to focus on studying.

What are the 3 M's of education? ›

It's Magic, Method and Mastery.

What are the 3 major components of education for the future? ›

Effective teaching involves aligning the three major components of instruction: learning objectives, assessments, and instructional activities. Taking the time to do this upfront saves time in the end and leads to a better course.

What are the three 3 types of education? ›

Types of Education
  • primary education.
  • junior education.
  • intermediate education.

What are the 3 areas of education? ›

It is all about gaining experience and therefore we can divide education into three main types:
  • Formal Education.
  • Informal Education.
  • Non-formal Education.


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