All of these social issues combined may be able to explain why there is an increasing number of teaching vacancies across the country; in addition to low salaries, frustration over sweeping bureaucracy within schools, difficulty passing state certification tests in specific fields, and problems of discipline and violence. According to Macionis, an increasing number of teaching vacancies will lead to larger class sizes for students and greater demands placed on teachers, affecting overall academic performance. (Macionis, 2015) Out of all the social issues and challenges faced by schools today, the most tragic of them all is the level of violence found from coast to coast and everywhere in between. In 2012, Sandy Hook Elementary School was the site of one of the most horrific instances of school violence in the history of the United States. But homicide in schools is not nearly as common as aggravated assault and forcible rape. Statistics have shown that the larger the school, the higher risk of violence, and the categories of people most threatened by violence in schools are African American or Latino males coming from low-income communities. With all of the problems permeating our nation’s education system today, it seems implausible and unrealistic to imagine a world where none of these saddening issues exist. Considering that only 13% of a child’s time is spent on school property and the remaining time is spent in the home or with family (Macionis, 2015) it seems that more focus needs to be placed on tutoring and parental involvement outside of the classroom. In the case of single parents and low-income families, perhaps after school programs can place more of an emphasis on studies as opposed to extracurricular activities or “free-time”. In addition, I think it is important that 5
disadvantaged students understand that there is hope for future success and that they are not doomed simply because of the family circumstance they were born into. Changing the mindset of young students may play a huge part in how they feel about themselves as they progress through school. In regards to the problems with school funding I believe that more states should take the same initiative that Vermont took in 1997 when they enacted Act 60; a law that combines school taxes all across the state and redistributes funding on an equal per-student basis, meaning that rich and poor communities have equal school budgeting. (Macionis, 2015) Upon identifying the various challenges are schools are facing today, it becomes quite clear that our education system is in crisis. Racial segregation and gender inequality are still
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- Fall '14