The struggle to improve our schools didn’t end with the Save Our Schools March. Awareness of the problem is only the first step toward solving it.
Our current efforts now focus on continuing to highlight problems and offering solutions that will improve the education students receive and, possibly, most important of all, provide strategies that offer reasons for real hope because resilience requires hope.
When we list the problems affecting schools, it seems overwhelming. But if we take a step back and consider where we came from and where other places in the world still are, there is also much to celebrate. Is it possible that focusing on the negatives contributes to student and parent apathy about public education?
While the lofty goals of the Save Our Schools March are not forgotten, we are shifting part of our focus toward solutions that we can control, that can be implemented without the cooperation of Washington or even local politicians. We’re taking a leaf out of Reinhold Niebuhr’s Serenity request because we believe that regardless of your status as a theist or atheist, the words contain wisdom:
Grant me the serenity to accept that I cannot change everything today,
Courage to change the things I can do something about today,
And wisdom to know the difference.
So, while we continue discussing big picture, lofty goals we may not be able to change today, we also give attention to those we can solve now and partial solutions that move us closer to the goals. Focusing on the whole menu of desired changes is a bit like attempting to eat a whole cow in one bite. When the entire focus is on the final goal, children who could benefit from the things we can change today suffer because we’re focused on problems that need big solutions that we cannot change in time to help today’s students.
We want solutions that make a difference today. In some cases, we provide workarounds and in others we provide solutions that can be used at the local level, even in a single classroom.
If you are interested in improving equality, access to, or educational outcomes, we provide information you can use and share. We search for solutions that are working, innovative ideas, and keep our finger on the pulse of important movements of interest to educators, parents, and students. Evidence-based ideas and experience-informed practices grab our attention.
Everyone involved including students, teachers, parents, and the greater community are affected by every issue that changes educational outcomes. Topics we’ve identified to cover include:
Mandated Issues that Impact the Quality of Education
- NCLB (No Child Left Behind) – replaced by ESSA in December 2015
- ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act)
- Campus violence
- Classroom management
Student factors that affect Educational Achievement
- Teen pregnancy
- Dropping out
- Drugs and alcohol
- Student attitudes
- Student empowerment
- Mental health
- Physical health
- Sleep deprivation
Teacher Issues that Affect the Quality of Education
- Lack of resources
- Curriculum best practices
- Teaching to the test
- Standardized thought
- Passing for participation
- Lack of relevancy of curriculums
Other Factors Affecting Educational Outcomes
- Student health
- Access to care
- Student mental health
- Politicians and decision-makers who don’t have real-world knowledge
- Sleep deprivation research and school hours
Home Environment Factors that Impact Educational Outcomes
- Parent involvement (too much and too little)
- Violence in the home
- Overwhelmed parents
- Home environments that are hostile to learning
- Requirements to care for other family members
- Lack of food
- Dangerous communities
- Noise pollution
- Crying babies
Funding Issues that affect the Quality of Education
- School choice
- Teacher compensation
- Classroom size
- Safety of buildings (mold, leaks, etc.)
Accessibility issues that affect Educational Achievement
- The cost of attending college
- Making poor financial decisions related to college attendance
- Making ill-informed decisions about choosing a college major
While we’ve separated the issues into safety, mandates, funding, student, teacher, home, and other factors affecting the quality of education students achieve, we recognize that all these issues are intertwined. Schools are systems and each part influences other parts of the system.
We cover education from pre-school through advanced University degrees, offering information, advice, and solutions.
Do you have an innovative solution of a problem we haven’t listed? Shoot us a note about it. We want to know your pain points and what is working in the classroom today.