The Debate Over Improving Schools in the United States

Argonne National Laboratory researcher talks with students about fuel cell development at the 2005 Science Careers in Search of Women Conference. Taken on March 10, 2005
Organizations like the Argonne National Laboratory provide students with learning experiences in the sciences.

You hear and see ways that your school works to make itself better all the time. But did you know that the United States government and other foundations work to make schools better, too? There are debates about the best initiatives [plans] to improve education across the country.

The United States government has long played a role in trying to improve public schools [free schools that are paid for by public money]. In 2015, President Obama presented the Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA. The idea is that the more students show learning, the more funding [money] their school gets. The ESSA has had mixed amounts of success. Some areas have posted record-high levels of achievement. Others have not improved at all.

The current administration is looking for ways to continue improving education. One idea is to allow students of struggling public schools to go to a different school, such as a private school, magnet school, or charter school. People worry that both the ESSA and this approach do not do enough to help schools that are struggling.

Private foundations have worked to improve education, too. In 2011, the Gates Foundation had the idea that if they gave teachers additional support, student achievement would increase. They spent over $575 million on a system to train teachers in New York City. Many principals concluded that they did not like the system and chose not to use it. Other foundations focus on providing students with opportunities to learn more about topics like the arts, sciences, and music.

Many people have different ideas about the best way to ensure a high-quality education for our youth. However, most citizens agree it is one of the most important topics in our country today. In order to compete in our global economy, the United States wants to be bursting at the seams with driven and creative citizens.

What Do You Think? What do you think is the best way to improve education in the United States?

Photo Credit: U.S. Department of Energy