American Education Problems

Walk into any public school and talk to any teacher and you will hear the same complaints: Too many children in the classroom, not enough supplies or text books, students unable to sit quietly or focus on the teacher, and of course, teachers not paid enough money. If the list goes further you will find the physical conditions of the school itself is faulty. It comes down to the final question; how can we fix these problems?

Walk into any private school you will see similar problems but the students are seldom affected. Our politicians are puzzled by this and have decided to damage the concept of private schools in an attempt to make the governments schools more attractive.

This is an all out attempt by many elected officials to keep the level of academics as low as they can. What we now find are millions of teenagers, young adults and even grandparents who are unable to read or speak coherently enough to express themselves in or out of the voting booth.

I am often tempted to knock a few heads together in our august House and Senate and make them totally responsible for the downfall of American education. With many of their children safely enrolled in private schools their interest in education in general is not a factor in their voting agendas. The only fix any of them can come up with is higher taxes and more money to be poured into a failed system. It is time the American public stands up to this dereliction of their duties.

Every time the subject of vouchers comes up we hear the same old bromide "I don't want my tax dollars paying for private schools!" Okay folks, but consider this. The parents of private school students have been paying high property taxes for the public schools for their entire lives. Even seniors who haven't had a student in their lives for 40 years still pay for the education of the public schools. Don't talk to me of fairness when these schools are failing in their attempt to teach even the basics to the neighborhood kids.

Vouchers may not work anyway. The established private schools will not want any federal voucher as it could lead to mandated rules. The folks promise this won't happen, but we who have been there and done that know differently.

So we have over-crowded classrooms and hope for the lower or middle class parents to do a damn thing about it. The upper income parents have always had a chance at private schools and it is time for the rest to have a go at it too.

Let's look at how the system works. Every public school is required to take attendance every single day so the budget can be given to the State accounting department and the money made available. When a child stays home for even one day, the attendance shows less need for money. This is similar to owning a motel. When someone rents a room the income increases, when the room stays vacant, no income! Simple math could figure this out. The income from property taxes and the federal funds are based on the attendance.

So when children are removed from any school and attend private schools or home taught, the money is not available anyway so why not change the whole thing? The government legislators don't seem to realize that fewer students make for better classroom management but the down side is that the money received is less. So let's work with this information.

When a public school student attends private school the classroom size is improved and the students who remain are more accessible to the teachers attention. This corrects our first complaint. Right? Textbooks and supplies should be reused from one class to another. Why are these even a problem? I remember having to turn in my books on the last day of school and issued different ones at the end of summer. If a textbook is damaged, the student must pay for it.

Private schools charge the textbooks and supplies in their tuition fees. No cost to anyone in the neighborhood!

Classroom management means having students who behave like civilized humans. Silly isn't it? Public schools set lots of rules but never bother to enforce them. So scratch that one from an honest complaint.

Many private schools have the rules clearly outlined in the entrance paperwork and the parents and students must sign the list indicating they understand them thoroughly. Suspension is used as a good incentive to follow these rules.

Expulsion is used when suspension doesn't work. Tuition is non refundable to keep the parents on their toes to ensure their kids follow the rules.

This may seem cruel and extreme to many parents and they are invited to stay in the government schools where rules are just words on paper.

Keeping the physical facility in safe condition seems to be a problem within many areas of America. I have read where several schools are actually harmful to the kids. These are very rare and certainly not valid reasons for most teachers to use.

Private schools are responsible for the conditions of their campus and many times use the students to keep up the cleanliness of the classrooms and play grounds. Basically the private schools resent having to pay good money to pick up after the slobs who leave a trail of trash wherever they go. This, of course, will be listed on the rules book.

So we have taken a corrective look at the problems facing our children. The last problem is: How do we pay for it?

I have heard that many people actually refinance their homes to keep their kids in private schools. Others take second jobs to finance it. Many can't do this as they have too many kids to leave them alone for any part of the day or night.

Last year I heard Al Gore come up with a proposal to give tax deductions for college tuitions for Americans. Well, there it is. Why not give a deduction for any family who chooses a private school? Gosh this solves all the previous problems doesn't it?

I can hear Gephardt bitching about tax credits for the rich! I ask him again to define "rich" and set his terms, sit down and shut up! Every time I hear his whining voice I can't get to the volume control fast enough. I am tired of having our social structure and education systems based solely on our income. This is the epitome of snobbery and it is time we demanded a chance at some real equality and get our kids into decent schools.

We have known for hundreds of years how to teach the basics to our kids. Would someone please tell me why we don't do it? There are millions of kids walking around with high school diplomas who can't find a verb in their sentences. There is little we can do about that but we can stop the progression of any more being ignored by the system. The cost of education in America is

ridiculous! Many countries educate their children at a quarter of the cost and those kids make mincemeat out of our American kids.

We will never change the government schools but we can remove our children from them and place them in the schools that we know have been successful. I have to warn you though that many private schools don't have the luxuries of buses or cafeterias or many of the extras that public schools have. We parents are so grateful to have readers and writers in the family we get very used to driving the kids in carpools instead of buses.

How do we find good accredited private schools? I will share with you how I did it. I called the local universities in my area. UCLA, Caltech both got calls to their admissions office and I was given several good schools whose students were well prepared for their schools. I found an excellent high school in my area of the San Fernando Valley. I called their admissions office and asked what good grammar schools sent them students that excelled. In about 10 minutes I had the schools of my choice for my kids.

My choice came down to a new system of phonics that had just opened in the valley and I looked into this new way of teaching. I visited the administrators and bought a book called "Let's Bring Them Up Sensibly" that was written by Mae Carden. It made such incredible sense that this jewel of a woman had given the parents and teachers all the tools needed for successful child development.

I'm certain that there are many more systems in America but I just wanted to tell you how delighted I was with the Carden system. Oh yes, I had to go back to work as my husband didn't want private schools and the fight was on! Nothing deterred me from my desire to educate the kids is the most superior way possible.

I won the battle and dumped the protagonist! The second thing I did was dump the television too. Life was looking up!

How can we work on this tax deduction for private schools? It will take an enormous pressure on our House Members and of course the Senate. We can do it if we organize. We have the Internet and we must find a way to use it in such a way as to sell our plan to everyone.

Outside of Gephardt, the next big flack will come from the teacher's union. Hey, bring them on they had their chance to do what they were paid to do and they fell off the boat.

I would welcome any suggestions or comments on this idea. I will be approaching my own congressman before they break for the summer and hopefully he will give us some pointers. He is a good fellow and loves any independent ideas from his constituents.

Copyright © 2001 All rights reserved.

fell off the boat

I can tell by this author's tone that she has never stepped foot inside a classroom and attempted to teach anyone. She states that public schools have rules but don't ever enforce them. Funny, I don't remember her coming into my fourth grade classroom and asking me about my rules and how I enforce them. I also noticed that she doesn't give any direct support for any of her statements. Public education is not perfect and may never be. I am sure that there are teachers in our profession who should be doing a better job, just as there are people in every profession who should do their job better. However, there are many many teachers out here who work extremely hard everyday to provide a high quality education within the public school system. If Ms. Price would like to take her children to a private school that is her choice and I hope they do well. I would hope that in the future she would take the time to do real investigation and gain some hands on experience before she makes disrespectful and inaccurate remarks regarding a profession full of dedicated educators.

Jeff Schultz
Russell Elementary
St. Louis Missouri

qucik question does anyone

qucik question does anyone know how to site this article

Cite this article?

Hi Anonymous (@2009-12-15 22:19),

There are several ways of citing web articles. Common ones include MLA (bibliography citation) and APA (research papers). Both are included as examples.

Modified for Web(copy and paste):

- MLA Style:

- APA Style:

For Print:

- MLA Style:

Price, Sandra. "American Education Problems."
     from Reason to Freedom. 22 May 2001. Web. 15 Dec. 2009.

- APA Style:

Price, Sandra. (2001, May 22). from Reason to Freedom: American Education Problems. Retrieved December 15, 2009, from

All are specific to when you posted your comment. So, others would need to change the 15 Dec. 2009 to whatever date you first read the article.


M.J. Taylor
from Reason to Freedom

What the two code blocks look like:

Price, Sandra. "American Education Problems." from Reason to Freedom. 22 May 2001. Web. 15 Dec. 2009. <>

Price, Sandra. (2001, May 22). from Reason to Freedom: American Education Problems. Retrieved December 15, 2009, from

The author of the main complaint

I agree with you Mr. Schlutz!
This person is actually reflecting a lack of instruction in several ways. One can not simply generalize and put down a whole system, a person is not able to define millions of teachers and educational environmnets especially in a country as big as The USA. All countries, all systems have a bit of everything. A good way of adding credibility to an article, especially one that the whole world will be able to read, is acknowledging the good of that that we critique. Critizicing negatively tends to make our opinion vulgar and not solid. Obvious! Everyone has the right to have their own opinion and such opinion will always tend not to be flawless. But our systems are in great need of models and people who will act against faulty areas. There are enough accusers.
I am a honduran teacher, I taught Spanish in a private school in South Carolina. My three years of college, at the time and my work experience gave my education the equivalence of a U.S. Bachellor's degree. Still, I so wish my country had a fifth of the resources and maturity some areas of the educational system in The USA has. Include facilities, salaries, actualization, and other pluses.
The challenge of educating is fascinating and beating the obstacles can only help us grow as we contribute to improve the system in our little area. Let us not missuse so much time critizacing. Our kids need education and the society is permeated with the wrong teachings already.
Have great learning and teaching day.
Pher Acosta

Underground History of American Education

Hi Jeff,

Speaking of taking time to do 'real investigations,' please do some of your own, so that you may understand the US public school system has had a hundred year plan in place to make it the failure it is today.

The Underground History of American Education
by John Taylor Gatto

The debate isn't if some teacher, like yourself, isn't hard working or cares, the debate is on the bigger picture. The corruption of government and the collusion of the teacher's unions in that corruption.

Might I suggest you start helping the situation, instead of bitching at the people exposing the problems, and becoming a private teacher paid directly by the parents of the children you teach? Someone qualified to teach Fourth grade is the perfect person to be hired by a group of homeschooling families to teach their elementary age children.

Best Regards

M.J. Taylor
from Reason to Freedom

Government Education

This is an issue with many problems, and many to hold the blame. A few of the statments made are not accurate...the best schools in the world spend alot more on education than the researching industrialized nations we rank at the bottom on spending. Secondly, it's not an easy decision for a teacher to teach in a public or private school. When the government takes over, the public does not take on ownership as it should. Take for example our public restrooms....deplorable!! Privately owned restrooms are immaculate, they have to be, someones' living is at stake. There needs to be a choice for all. Schools need to be private...all of them. We all deserve to be in an environment in which learning is of importance, and those that disrupt the learning should leave. Teachers deserve to be paid upon their efforts and work, just as the real world of business does. Paying the same amount for every teacher regardless of effort and time in is ridiculous! All schools need to teach to the children that have learning disabilities, have been born with defects, drug addicted at birth...etc. Honestly, teaching in a private school would be wonderful, but how does a top educator accept a salary that places them in poverty with little to offer in benefits? I ask those of you that have graduated at the top of your class....would you work for 18,000 a year?

Teaching in general.

As a student growing up,I noticed how class was always rushed. Some students learned faster than others, or say caught on a lot faster than some. This is a problem whether your in public schools or private. Learning was always the same no matter how big the class was. I do beleieve a teacher, if given a smaller class, can teach more effectively because she can slow to better educate
I think with unions, teachers get paid regardless of their ability to do the job well. Since joining the real world and having to work and pay for things my self, I noticed the harder or more effecient I worked at my job the better I got paid. I think teachers should be held accountable for the ability to educate. With understanding that there are less people going to colledge to become teachers,I think it becomes a strain on how to give incentive's to even teachers who are ineffective at teaching.
With ineffective teaching the only real people effected by this are our children, the students and point blank the future of our nation.It seams that other countrys who lead in education might have the right plan of attack when it comes to how teachers educate.Possible research in to this could help excellerate the change in our educational system.
It seams to me we are a nation filled with dreams. In reality a proper education would be the beginning step towards filling the dreams of our young. But if teachers who get paid well dont educate well, then we have wasted money and let our children completely down.
I also know that as a child before I was allowed to go out an play with my freinds, my homework had to be done. So with that aspect I think parents need to step up and help or find help if a child is in need of help. As children we need the guidence of the adults around us to guid us in the direction we should go. In a society where all things are possible it seams we cant figure out how to properly educate all children. I think in the end if we can all step up even in communitys and offer assistance to this problem we can solve it. And if we decide not to we can just leave it up to people who as today goes cant even figure out how to run a country less it profits them.


Is it just me or did anyone else notice how the author does not know how to edit any of her writing. Here's some advice: Commas are your friend and make your writing much clearer, as they emulate natural pauses in speech patterns.

[As a note: Sandy Price is 70 (80?) and I'm sure learned a different rule set for writing than you did... --MJ]

listen to what the she is

listen to what the she is talking about

Problems in Education

There are many problems in our education system today. If you are interested in learning about them visit

J Daley


Not all public schools are as terrible as the author makes them out to be. Actually, alot of rural public schools do quite a good job and usually have pretty excellent students. Its probably inner city schools that this article would most apply too.

And I feel bad that their are parents out there working themselves to a death and loosing their home just so they can send their darling little kids to a private school. They have to pay taxes for public schools anyway. So why not just move out of their stupid cities and move into a decent rural area and send their kids to school there?

I agree.

Most elementary schools do not have this problem, but in most middle schools, you begin to see a glimpse of problems. In my previous high school, things were really bad. I live in Texas, and I can find one public high school that is considered to be good. The main reason of problems like this is because the students just do not want to learn, and that effects the other students. Sadly, many teachers have given up trying on rebellious students. In the Garland ISD, you almost have to try to fail a grade now. It's horrible. The government is just bumping the kids up a grade so that we do not have to deal with it. Public schools are the main reason why I love college so much. If people do not want to be there, they are not there! Classes are better controlled, and the environment is finally calm.

How did this all begin?

I am sure someone knows. The problem exists, no doubt about that, but what was the first step American took to ruin education for us all?

John Taylor Gatto

Hi Tyler,

If you're looking for the history behind the destruction of the US education system see, "The Underground History of American Education: A School Teacher's Intimate Investigation Into the Problem of Modern Schooling," by John Taylor Gatto.

I added the Amazon details to the end of this page for convenience.


M.J. Taylor
from Reason to Freedom

Re: John Taylor Gatto

Thanks. I look into getting that book. I've always wondered were we went wrong. All I know is that the 'No Child Left Behind' thing screwed us all over. It lowered the bar too much. I have a feeling that it's not the source of it though.

[Hi Tyler, No, 'No Child Left Behind' isn't the source, and I'd bet that if someone were to look further back than Gatto did, there would be other "sources" to the mess as well. Hope the book helps and have you looked into homeschooling your own? --MJ]

Solutions for education problems (Opinion)

Dear Editor,

I am very concerned about our public schools in the United States. In the article, “American Education Problems”, it perfectly relates to the conditions in today’s schools. If you walk into a public school there are many complaints. For example, the school is too crowded or there are too many kids in the class, then you have kids not able to listen or focus to the teacher. These all impose big problems, and on top of that there are even more problems. At the moment, the big question is what can we do to fix this nation’s educational problems? In the article, it states that in private schools you can see similar problems as in public schools, but they are not affected by it. Meaning, they can learn more in the same conditions as public schools. I believe that it is a false statement. Students can not learn in that kind of environment. I am a student myself, and I get easily distracted when my classmates goof off. But, it is not just me that is only distracted; my fellow classmates get distracted too. The solution I can think of is that the teachers need to set up policies to discipline the students more. It is a simply policy that will not cost any money; it is just basic rules that will ensure more discipline towards the students, so they can have an easier environment to learn in. In the future I hope that schools do take this action and have the future generation improve academically.



Let me first state that I agree that their are problems in the American educational system. Along with this, I further agree that a lot must be done to change the system.
I'd like to comment, however, on the idea that there are no guidlines for discipline.
In my school, we have very clear rules and the teachers work very hard to enforce them. The problem is that parents run the schools. As soon as I try to discipline Johnny, his mom calls and reams me out. The language I have heard from parents is appalling. Of course johnny would NEVER do something bad. Then mom calls the principle and the superintendent. Since no one has any resolve(balls), they give in to the parents and we are told not to pick on Johnny. When this sort of things happen enough, and believe me it does, teachers begin to get discouraged. The students start to feel smug, and the whole things begins to unravel.
When I was in school, if I got in trouble in school, then I got in even more trouble at home.


The only thing I can say is "Amen"!

Dear Andrew, I agree with

Dear Andrew,
I agree with your solution except there is a huge factor. The students parents. They would complain that there children are getting punishment that other students dont get. Even if they know that they deserve it. They would complain to the school or the board and most adults would rather not bother with conflicting parents. Its stupid but it is unfortunatly how it goes in life.


I'm a 21 year-old sailor in

I'm a 21 year-old sailor in the U.S. Navy, I completed high school and also went to college for two years.

I was homeschooled until 5th grade, where I then slowly began losing intellect and the desire to learn. It took until probably my junior year of high school before I really started to learn anything of importance. The rate at which material is taught in schools is embarrassingly slow. The amount of down time (time where there is literally nothing to do in class, but talk and bitch about how school is wasting your time) in class is ridiculous. In high school, half of the students spent their days texting other students. Half of the students, including me, slept through most of the classes. I could spend 10-15 minutes reading out of my textbook and learn everything I missed in class, assuming that the entire hour period was spent "teaching." Now don't get me wrong, there are good teachers out there. Having so many terrible teachers made me appreciate the good ones, and really respect the great ones. You would think, that with the large pool of English teachers available, that English would be the least of concern in public schools. On the contrary, the worst teacher I've ever had, taught English. I believe that it should be entirely supply and demand. Bad teachers should get fired to make room for good teachers. Teachers should have more rights in terms of disciplining children. Students need to be educated at an early age, the importance of an education in our increasingly technological-based society. My friends in various private schools all received much greater educations in their respective schools, vice what was offered at my schools.
One of the main problems is the idea that everyone should pass every grade and progress at the same rate. This idea supports mediocrity, which gets nowhere. How is everyone being taught at a rate that accommodates the slowest learner in class, beneficial to anyone but that slow learner? The idea of getting held back, exists for a reason.
I'm in the Nuclear Power program in the Navy, and it's estimated that we learn as much in one day, as students outside of our program learn in one or two weeks. Too many kids think that being an American means they should be able to just go to school (or skip, depending on the student), and then the rest of their day is free time. Playing video games, surfing social networking sites, watching cartoons, etc.., should all be a privilege given to those who are succeeding in school. I encourage active play time, but studies come first. There is so much wasted time each day at school, sitting in class while the teacher is out doing something else, or grading papers, or just doesn't feel like teaching that day. Might as well just get rid of ALL of that time, and turn them into study halls, and have teachers available during that time that you are encouraged to go to, to seek help in various subjects. During teaching time, the material will be taught at a quicker pace. Cell Phones should be banned from schools.

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