According to a recent study, American students in third through eighth grades have held steady in reading and math over the past few years but have fallen behind their peers in mathematics. The study examined academic progress in 4.4 million students from 8,000 schools. It only looked at students in person, so results aren’t particularly relevant to remote learners. Still, the data paint a more positive picture of the state of American education than they really are. Overall, more affluent schools score higher than lower-income ones.
The problem lies in the way schools are organized. In schools that serve large percentages of minority, poor, and immigrant students, the incoming teachers are less likely to be trained in current teaching methods. In these circumstances, the teachers are left to deal with arcane administrative requirements and drain resources from classrooms. Furthermore, these programs don’t promote the adoption of promising curricula. They also limit the options for students.
The US public school system is struggling to keep up with the needs of our children. The methods used decades ago are no longer effective in educating today’s students. Common Core curriculum and standardized testing have contributed to this lack of creativity. Federal education policy changes are needed to make these changes, but teachers must first become more knowledgeable and more innovative. It’s the teachers who have the ability to influence change, so they must speak out for their students.