The Future of Education in America
Education is the key to success and development — which has proven to be especially true in today’s United States, where merit is commonly determined by the highest level of education an individual has completed. A disproportionate number of jobs now require a high school diploma, a college degree or a number of years’ experience in a given professional field.
President-elect Joe Biden has formulated a platform detailing plans to ensure a successful future for the kids of America, driven by the high-quality childhood education needed to achieve this.
One of the biggest problems in the American education system is the underpaid workforce: teachers. Teachers are given full responsibility for shaping the future of the U.S. through the education required to live successful lives and maintain the evolution and development of our country.
Biden plans to triple Title I funding. Title I is a federal program implemented by the No Child Left Behind Act, passed by President George W. Bush. The program provides funding for the assurance of a high-quality public school education.
The federal government will require this tripled funding to offer competitive salaries to teachers. In turn, this will provide more incentive for teachers to teach their students thoroughly and encourage people to seriously pursue a career in teaching. The funding will allow educators to decide where their district needs money most, thus addressing inequities.
In addition to increased teacher salaries under Title I, teachers will also have the opportunity to gain certificates, free of charge, allowing them to have better access to teaching all types of students. Certificates can include bilingual education and special education.
Consequently, education will be individualized to each student, giving them the best chance of success. This goes hand in hand with Biden’s plan to give extra funding to the Disabilities Education Act of 1990, which allows teachers to understand each and every student in their own unique setting.
Other measures to support teachers include the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, which grants teachers relief from direct loans with qualifying requirements. Biden wants to reduce eligibility provisions so that teachers more easily gain that support. No specifics have been given yet by the Biden administration, but his goal is to simplify and fix the program’s funding.
Biden also wants to guarantee a safe and exceptional outlet for all students and their mental health. Statistically, one in five students experience mental health problems, including: depression, anxiety and substance abuse, yet there are about 1400 students for every psychologist in the American education system.
With the lack of individualized attention on each student experiencing these issues, there will be a doubling of public school counselors and psychologists. By increasing this amount, students will have a better chance to feel as if they have a trusted person to talk with about their problems. This support will help fulfill basic health and social service needs that some parents can’t give their children.
Biden also plans to create community schools: these school operate through utilizing community resources (which have not been specified) to help kids who don’t have the financial support or time from their parents.
Biden’s official plan also includes preparing high-quality, affordable pre-kindergarten and kindergarten schools, giving each parent that option if they deem necessary. Although, Biden has not quantified what affordable will mean to parents in low-income districts.
Biden aims to close the gap between the difference in funding for affluent majority-white schools and underprivileged majority-minority schools. The gap is quantified to be $23 billion annually, according to his campaign website.
Most of the time, the disparities between white and non-white schools are similarly prevalent in high-income and low-income districts. With this extra funding closing the gap, Biden desires to hit three main targets:
1) Ensuring competitive salaries for teachers in low-income schools.
2) Granting more three- and four-year-olds to access to preschool, even when they might not have the necessary funds.
3) Offering rigorous coursework, maintaining a certain standard across districts for all students. The standard has yet to be set, but Biden did offer a contingency — districts will be allowed to allocate these funds wherever they may please after all of these conditions are met. States will also be required to match the federal funds given to each district, providing districts with even more monetary resources. If all goes as planned, schools are looking to receive a lot more monetary resources in the near future.
Other unnamed education programs from Biden may administer even more money towards public schools, especially those in majority-minority or low-income districts. Many public schools actually pose a handful of health risks due to the lack of proper infrastructure. Without enough funding, schools apportion the funds they do receive to issues that need immediate attention, and often cannot get around to fixing basic infrastructure issues.
Biden would like to rebuild low-income schools and build new schools based around the ideas of innovation and energy efficiency. In these new schools, students are expected to have more resources to be creative and explore their interests.
Furthermore, Biden plans to extend the role of Pell Grants, giving more high school students financial coverage to take classes at community colleges via dual enrollment programs. This will advance their knowledge and award them with college credits if they choose to attend a university after graduation.
In comparison to President Donald Trump’s administration, Biden’s approach to education centers on a huge increase in funding to many programs and districts.
Trump’s proposals gave more freedom to students by offering school choice and supplemental access to charter schools. School-choice and charter schools allow students to go to school in a “better” district, or even go to a specialized-interest school.
By doing this, parents are really given nearly every option when curating their children’s education. At times, costs are subsidized when students choose to attend a school outside of their district.
On the other hand, Trump and Biden both aim to cut back Americans’ loan commitments.
Overall, Biden plans to enforce a very money-driven effort to enhance the quality of public school education. If everything goes by the book, Biden attacks the disparities between low-income, majority-minority schools and wealthy majority-white schools head on.
Biden points out the roots of the problem as being the lack of funding for teachers and an overall dearth of resources for public schools. The next four years could alleviate these issues and help Americans reflect on how to invest in their future workforce.