As we move into summer, I think US schools have major issues. Teachers have been through an incredibly stressful time in the pandemic, and now education seems to be a political football that politicians are running on and being successful. It’s causing teachers to leave, and it may push the US education system to a breakpoint.
Schools aren’t something to make a political football, and anyone who has been in or around education knows that many of the issues politicians are complaining about in the media are at best centered around bad teaching practices and at worst don’t exist.
Just think about it in a logical way. Public School teachers are required to follow state standards. While there are bad lessons, the vast majority of teachers are so concerned about requirements and their jobs that they are not going to color much outside the lines of those standards. Private Schools can formulate their own education theories and pedagogy, and if parents don’t like they can move schools. Basically, what I am telling you is that if you see it on the news, pay attention to the name of the school first, and if it’s a public school pay attention to what the school does as an effect of the bad lesson.
What’s happening though is that politicians are running with stories of bad lessons and are passing laws that affect teachers in negative ways. In some states, teachers are now required to turn in their lesson plans incredibly early and they are public for parents. In other states, parents are going to be able to sue teachers if they don’t agree with the content being taught.
You know what this is doing to teachers? It’s making them want to get out. Teachers as a whole are a profession that does it based on the love for it, and by adding punishments and intense requirements kills that love. Teachers who don’t need the job to survive (maybe they have a spouse whose job makes that possible) will immediately exit, and others will turn to other professions who like teachers like instructional design.
I am not arguing that there does not need to be a standard set. Schools and teachers should have some oversight to make sure that there is a level of education in the public school system. It just needs to be something that is set by actual educators. Really, state and federal legislatures should set the structure of where these decisions are being made, but then they should turn the decisions of what happens in the classroom to people who have actually been in one.