Serious Challenges Facing Public Education Today
What is it that’s making our nation suffer from excelling in education? Not many would argue about the importance of excellence in education. Problems such as teacher attrition, lack of parent involvement, and teaching high-stakes testing may hinder progress in education. An education is an indispensable and essential tool, unfortunately, with all the jaded judgments; our students aren’t valuing or able to value their education. An Education can open the doors to opportunities that would have never been possible if it had not been for the knowledge and preparation that one received while in school. With the fluctuating economy and hesitant times, it is more important than ever for our nation’s children to receive the proper education and training that will allow them to acquire a good job and produce the revenue needed to live. Unfortunately, there are many problems facing our education system today, and several of them are having negative effects on the quality of the education our students are receiving. Would one feel comfortable fifty years from now, when the children who are victim of the disadvantages of teacher attrition, lack of parent involvement and a majority of their education being how to take a high stakes test, are running this nation? How soundly can one sleep knowing that their decisions on a bill deciphering how much of a pension someone will receive or what’s legal and what’s not is at stake? Should these problems be quietly swept under the rug and addressed again in another five years, or is it best bite the financial bullet and at the very least, acknowledge there is an issue? A serious problem that is attacking the education system in America is the alarming attrition rate of teachers. Only those not involved with education at all will argue that it is an undemanding profession; in actuality, it is a very demanding profession with an often overwhelming amount of pressure and responsibility tied to it. However, it can also be a very rewarding profession. Unfortunately, many teachers simply cannot overcome the immense responsibilities well enough to stick with the profession for any length of time. Jalongo and Heider (2006) present staggering statistics in their article, saying that forty-six percent of new teachers in this country quit teaching after five years or less, with that percentage growing to fifty percent in urban areas. Even more shocking is the fact that ninety percent of teachers who are hired in this country are replacements for teachers who have left teaching for some reason other than retirement (p. 379). There are many reasons that the rate of teachers leaving the profession is so high. Anhorn (2008) very concisely sums up some of the major problems in her article when she says, “Difficult work assignments, inadequate resources, isolation, role conflict, and reality shock are some top reasons for the horrendous attrition statistics with the widespread “sink or swim” attitude that is prevalent in so many schools” (p. 15).It is easy to see why the beginning teacher attrition rate is so high. There is simply so much to do these days, between extracurricular responsibilities and high-stakes testing, it is easy to get overwhelmed. In her article, Sitler (2007) sums it up quite nicely when she says,
No one expects the first years of teaching to be easy. No one expects that Teaching assignments will never change. But no one expects either that One’s first years of teaching will be compromised by administrative Systems that make instability and disillusionment routine occurrences Rather than exceptions. (p. 22)
If teachers received more support from the administration and less of the strong arm effect, educators wouldn’t be so timid in teaching and instead bring more value to the classroom. Many of us probably remember our parents being very involved with our...