American schools have been a topic of debate for decades, with many calling for changes to improve student outcomes and keep up with the rest of the world. Despite significant investments in education, the United States continues to lag behind other countries in academic achievement, particularly in STEM fields. In this article, we explore how American schools can be changed to improve student outcomes and better prepare them for the future.
- Emphasize STEM Education: STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education is crucial for preparing students for the jobs of the future. However, American schools have historically lagged behind in providing quality STEM education, particularly in low-income and minority communities. To improve student outcomes in STEM fields, schools must prioritize and invest in quality STEM education, provide access to advanced coursework, and promote equity in STEM education .
- Support Teacher Development: Teachers are the backbone of the education system, and supporting their professional development is crucial for improving student outcomes. Schools should provide teachers with ongoing training, mentorship programs, and opportunities for collaboration to improve their teaching practices and promote student learning .
- Promote Innovative Teaching Methods: Innovative teaching methods can help engage students, promote critical thinking, and improve learning outcomes. Schools should explore innovative teaching methods such as project-based learning, inquiry-based learning, and blended learning to promote student engagement and learning .
- Foster a Safe and Inclusive Learning Environment: A safe and inclusive learning environment is crucial for promoting student well-being and academic success. Schools should prioritize creating a welcoming and inclusive environment that fosters respect, tolerance, and empathy. This includes providing support for marginalized students and addressing issues such as bullying and discrimination .
- Promote Parent and Community Engagement: Parent and community engagement are critical for promoting student success. Schools should actively involve parents and community members in the education process, provide opportunities for engagement, and foster a strong sense of community within the school. This includes providing parents with regular updates on their child’s progress and providing opportunities for them to participate in school activities and events .
- Increase Funding: Funding for American schools has been a contentious issue for years. While there have been some improvements in recent years, many schools still struggle with inadequate funding. Adequate funding is critical for providing quality education to all students, particularly those in low-income and minority communities .
- Improve Access to Technology: Access to technology is becoming increasingly important in education. American schools must provide access to technology and ensure that students and teachers have the skills to use it effectively. This includes providing access to high-speed internet, providing devices such as laptops or tablets, and providing training to teachers on how to integrate technology into their teaching .
- Reduce Class Sizes: Research has shown that smaller class sizes are associated with improved student outcomes. American schools should reduce class sizes, particularly in low-income and minority communities, to provide students with more individualized attention and support .
- Prioritize Early Childhood Education: Early childhood education has been shown to have long-term benefits for students, including improved academic achievement and reduced rates of delinquency and crime. American schools should prioritize and invest in quality early childhood education to provide students with a strong foundation for future learning .
Improving American schools is critical for preparing students for the future and ensuring the country remains competitive on a global scale. By prioritizing STEM education, supporting teacher development, promoting innovative teaching methods, fostering a safe and inclusive learning environment, promoting parent and community engagement, increasing funding, improving access to technology, reducing class sizes, and prioritizing early childhood education, American schools can provide students with the tools and skills they need to succeed in the 21st century.
- National Science Foundation. (2021). STEM education data and trends. Retrieved from https://www.nsf.gov/statistics/stem-ed/.
- Darling-Hammond, L. (2017). Teacher professional development as a policy target for educational reform. Review of Research in Education, 41(1), 1-32.
- EdTech Magazine. (2021). Innovative teaching methods: 5 strategies for the modern classroom. Retrieved from https://edtechmagazine.com/k12/article/2021/02/innovative-teaching-methods-5-strategies-modern-classroom.
- National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments. (2013). Creating a safe and supportive learning environment: A guide for working with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth and families. Retrieved from https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/oese/safe-supportive-lgbtq-youth.pdf.
- National PTA. (2021). Family engagement in education. Retrieved from https://www.pta.org/home/family-resources/Family-Engagement-in-Education.
- National Education Association. (2021). School funding: The basics. Retrieved from https://www.nea.org/advocating-for-change/new-from-nea/school-funding-basics.
- The New York Times. (2019). The digital gap between rich and poor kids is not what we expected. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/03/us/politics/digital-divide-internet-school.html.
- National Education Association. (2021). Reducing class size: What we know. Retrieved from https://www.nea.org/advocating-for-change/new-from-nea/reducing-class-size-what-we-know.
- Heckman, J. J. (2016). Invest in early childhood development: Reduce deficits, strengthen the economy. Retrieved from https://heckmanequation.org/resource/invest-in-early-childhood-development-reduce-deficits-strengthen-the-economy/.