5 Major Problems Facing Public Schools

Public school systems worldwide are facing a set of challenges relating to their region and country. Barely any public school system is exempt from such issues, including overcrowded classrooms, low quality of education, minimal funding, and the list goes on.

Because the value of education can’t go unnoticed, in this article, we’ll highlight 5 major problems facing public schools and present solutions and actions that could put an end to these matters.

1. Classroom Sizes

Today’s public school classrooms are oversaturated with children, and by that, we’re referring to 30+ students per classroom. While many resort to blaming the school’s acceptance rate for that exceedingly high number of children, the underlying issue is actually the classrooms’ size.

Due to the significant funding cuts that these schools face, they have no other option but to increase the classroom capacity, even if their scope doesn’t allow it. What else can they do besides accommodating students?

2. Education Quality

When classroom numbers increase to that extent, education quality suffers. Numerous teachers have shared that they can’t manage and effectively teach students if their number goes above 30 per class. 

Again, many people blame the teachers and their skills, but their claims are actually supported by research. A study by the Tennessee Star cited by Class Size Matters revealed that K-3 classes with just 15-17 students were the most productive for both students and teachers. 

3. Perceptions of Teachers

All of the issues are somehow intertwined with each other. Accordingly, the next major issue relates to the perception of teachers; there has been this stereotype going around that teachers are only teaching because they have nothing better to do or can’t find jobs. 

Even if it’s not bluntly said, they’re implied through different rhetoric everywhere, be it in the media, TV, or even politics. The most visible indicator of such perception is reflected in how underpaid most teachers are despite their tremendous role in society.

Naturally, this influences the schools’ cultures for both the students and the teachers. On the teachers’ front, some understandably become passive participants, while students tend to carry less respect for their teachers.

4. Perceptions of Students

Teachers aren’t the only ones having a rough time because of stereotypes; students are stuck in the same issue as well. Countless educators are, unfortunately, enforcing their own biases on children coming from different backgrounds.

For instance, sometimes, expectations from students of poorer backgrounds are significantly lowered, limiting their potential and expecting just the bare minimum from them.

5. Neglecting Liberal Arts Education

Since public schools face budget cuts all the time, they’re faced with a tradeoff between which programs to fund and which to cut. More often than not, maths and sciences are preferred over arts since art education is considered a “luxury.”

What’s not recognized is that art education provides countless benefits for students, unleashing their creative mindsets and allowing them to explore their critical thinking skills while developing visual-spatial skills.

What Now?

There’s a lot that can be done to improve or resolve the issues we’ve discussed. Below are some of the essential ones that can truly make a difference if considered.

Address biases

This sounds rather cliché, but it can indeed go a long way. It’s about time where teachers should address their biases with students, and leaders should address their perceptions of teachers to prevent their bleeding into the education system.

Introduce a Social-Emotional Learning Curriculum

SEL curriculums teach students to process their emotions, develop self-management skills, and adopt responsible decision making. With such skills, students acquire the foundation they need to set the right path for the rest of their lives. 

Build district relationships 

Unity is key. School districts should come together to develop solutions for this laundry list of challenges and collaborate to find ways to solve them, especially when it comes to funding. When dialogue takes place, solutions will be found!

Final Thoughts

Reflection is the start of improvement. The idea of compiling a list of the major problems facing public schools isn’t to demotivate educators but rather a step towards improving the educational system for leaders, teachers, and students. This is just a start to a better system!