There are many nagging issues with the current education system in the US. Some of these are obvious. And defenders of the system can make long lists of the things they’d change. The underlying issues aren’t incompetent design, but scale, complexity, and stasis. The education system is charged with creating better human beings, but progress is slow and uneven.
A more fundamental issue is the curriculum itself. Students who are underprivileged do not have equal access to a rigorous education. The curriculum is often arbitrary and inadequately challenging. Students who go to private schools are often denied the opportunity to graduate from a high-quality college. Public schools fall behind in math, science, and reading compared to other developed nations. And while standardized testing is important, it is not the only issue.
Too many students are placed in classrooms where they’re too small to make any real progress. As a result, they are not held responsible for their failures. Parents tend to blame other factors for their child’s shortcomings before knowing the facts. In addition, teachers fail to recognize that the students are struggling. This creates a vicious cycle of blame and miseducation. It makes students less likely to learn, and it also causes teachers to become ineffective.
School funding remains a key issue. The federal government, through the Department of Education, exerts control over education, but the federal government is threatening to cut funding if the federal budget cuts continue. In addition, the No Child Left Behind Act and Race to the Top both attempt to centralize education, despite the fact that private schools are widely available and are largely independent of the government. In addition, private schools are generally non-government entities, and educational accreditation decisions are made by voluntary regional associations.