There is no denying that the education system in America currently has been impacted by overpowering, external forces that have all but decimated the promise of affordable education…from budget cuts, to increasing tuition costs, and ultimately higher accumulated student debt. All of these are prohibitive to the quality education that so many want and need.
The student to teacher ratio has been steadily increasing in the public sector. With more students in the classroom, the learning environment is not what it once was, nor needs to be for the more focused and guided instruction. The classroom environment is not set up for proper learning as students are not getting the particular attention they may need to succeed in the classroom. Technology advancements and its associated curriculum, vitally necessary for our up and coming students to compete, are still too slow to find their ways into classrooms.
When it comes to budget cuts, the first programs to go are the extracurricular. Public schools have been losing funding for sports, after-school, and the theater and arts programs to name a few. Without these funds in public schools to prompt these activities early on, it is no surprise that children are becoming more focused on the internet gaming, and “app sharing” as their desired way to express their abilities and talents. But, of course, these new habits do little to truly advance the intellectual health of our students. Students need a well-rounded education, and should be given the opportunity to participate in activities that stir their individual growth.
This year’s election results directly affects how the nation’s education problems will be faced. The President-elect has outlined some of his ideas within the education system and it includes the immediate infusion of a $20 billion Federal investment towards school choice. This will be done by reprioritizing existing federal dollars. He intends on giving states the option to allow these funds to follow the student to the public or private school they attend. Distribution of this grant will favor states that have private school choice, magnet schools and charter laws, encouraging them to participate. He also wants to establish the national goal of providing school choice to every one of the 11 million school-aged children living in poverty. If the states collectively contribute another $110 billion of their own education budgets toward school choice, on top of the $20 billion in federal dollars, that could provide $12,000 in school choice funds to every K-12 student who are living in poverty today. Beyond the K-12 education, another major crisis is the rise in tuition costs and increased student debts.
Due to increasing tuition costs at universities and junior colleges many Americans are unable to afford a higher education. Tuition costs have increased sharply over the last 20 years with no signs of slowing unless some actions are taken to counter these increases. In that time, the average tuition and fees at private National Universities jumped 179 percent, out-of-state tuition and fees at public universities rose 226 percent, and in-state tuition and fees at public National Universities grew the most, increasing a staggering 296 percent. With the rise in tuition costs, student loans have followed suit. More and more Americans are taking on student debt to offset the total upfront cost to attend a university, college, or vocational school. Student loans are often difficult to pay off due to the lack of jobs available for students once they graduate. Many times the graduates are forced to pay back on their debts immediately following their graduation date, although some differ in their grace period. The President-Elect intends on working with Congress on reforms to ensure universities are making a good faith effort to reduce the cost of college and student debt in exchange for federal tax breaks and tax dollars. He also wants to ensure that the opportunity to attend a two or four-year college, or to pursue a trade or a skill set through vocational and technical education, will be easier to access, pay for, and finish.
Only time will tell if the problems that face our Nation and our education system will be fixed. However, this is not a time to sit and wait; rather this is a time to act; this is a time to make the necessary changes; a time to get our education system back on track. Join us and help get education back on track by helping the young minds of America; learn, grow and ultimately lead our great nation.
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