Victoria Duncan

The American public education system is something that I’ve always had issues with. As they demonstrate time and time again that they care more about test scores and our attendance than our mental well-being. You see, in the American education system schools are funded because of attendance and test scores. So because of this our test scores and attendance are seen as higher of importance than what we actually learn. This leaves most kids feeling as though they are not cared about because how could anyone feel cared about in such an environment? As mental illness and the number of teen suicides climb at an alarming rate this has left many asking the same question. How can we improve our education system? Well, I have a few ideas I would like to propose. 


The way in which schools are funded

The way in which schools are funded is something I’ve always seen as a driving force in the issue of our education system. Schools are funded based on test scores and attendance rates. This is an issue as it makes attendance and test score rates take precedent over the child’s mental well-being. Whereas if schools all had a set number of government funding based on the number of children in the school then it would help largely with the issue of schools and teachers valuing test scores and attendance over actually helping their students succeed.

School Counselors

The requirements and education needed to be a school counselor should be much higher than they are, as the majority of school counselors don’t actually care about the mental well-being of of the students they are “helping.” More times than not, children will just be told to go back to class and their struggles are not heard or cared about.


The number of absentees a child can have should be higher than it is right now, as not everyone can afford to go to the doctor’s when they are sick and get a doctor’s note. Furthermore, sometimes things happen that are out of the student’s control which causes them to miss a lot of school. Such things include family emergencies/issues, family vacations, and most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic. With the rise in technology, the vast majority of schools in America can have children complete all absent work online. So there’s really not much good that comes from being so strict about absences. If the number of absentees children are allowed to have was increased it would increase student morale and their mental well-being.


Having breaks in school is something that should be required. Breaks should be required because in the workplace you’re legally required to give employees a 30 minute meal break for 8 consecutive hours of work. So how is it fair for us to give children less break time than adults? Most schools have only a 20 minute lunch break, which is shorter or longer depending on the school, which in the workplace would be illegal. So how can we say that we are preparing these children for the “real world” when they are working longer than grown adults are?


Homework is something that should be illegal to require because if an assignment is not important enough to be assigned in class then it should not be assigned at all. It has been scientifically proven that homework does nothing but harm children. It not only causes them stress but takes away from the very few hours of free time they get.


Bullying is an issue that has plagued schools across the country for decades. However, regardless of the fact that this is such a widespread issue, it’s an issue that has been widely overlooked by school administrators. The wide majority of schools would much rather avoid the issue f bullying completely and turn a blind eye whenever it is brought to their attention. Instead of teaching any lessons they just want the kid to “apologize and be friends” which leads to continuing. Studies have shown that the majority of school children report being bullied but are too afraid tom come forward about it due to the fact that they know their school has a history of inactivity when the matter is brought to their attention.

Mental Health

Mental health has become an epidemic amongst teens in recent years, teenage suicide rates are at an all-time high. However, it is one of the most overlooked issues in all of the American public education system. There should be much better school counselors available for students and homework should not exist. There should be a study hall or easier deadlines as some students have an environment in which they are unable to complete schoolwork. Teachers should be paid more and have the time to care for each individual student instead of simply giving out packets and just being there to “do their job.” As I believe that taking care of your students is part of a teacher’s job.

How useful is the information that they are actually learning

How useful is the material they’re learning is something that comes up arguably the most in the debate against the education system.

Well I say that the things they are taught are truly not all that helpful when applied to real world situations. Schools claim to prepare their students for the “real world” which is a statement that is simply untrue. All schools do is prepare students to be good workers in society. Schools don’t teach kids how to work well with others, how to manage their finances, or how to find new solutions. Instead they drill into their brains that there is only one solution to every problem and that working with others is wrong. If someone speaks in class without raising their hand even if the teacher is not speaking they are seen as disrespectful and get in trouble. When in a real world situation this kind of power dynamic is simply not going to happen. In fact in the “real world” that they claim to prepare us for working well with others is considered a valuable skill not something that deserves punishment. Instead of teaching every single kid high level science, social studies, math, and etc. We should be teaching them the foundations of those skills and then teaching them real world skills such as the stock market, how to balance a checkbook, how to do their taxes, how to clean, how to cook, how to do CPR, how to notice signs of mental or physical illness in themselves or others, how to change a flat tire, and the list goes on of all these extremely useful skills that could be taught. If we taught these life saving skills over a box and whiskers chart or the periodic table we would have a much better society as whole. Such skills could change and save people’s lives but instead we value memorization of formulas to complex math equations they’ll never once have to use again after leaving school instead. 

Expense of College

The expense of college is simply outrageous and impossible for a lot of people to afford. Students should not have to drown themselves in debt that they will be paying off for the next years of their lives. If the degree that they are going to be given for going to college can’t pay off the amount of debt they are going to accumulate while in college then the expense to get that degree should not be that high. College students should be able to pay off their student debt within a maximum of 10-15 years after getting their degree as long as they work in the field in which they got the degree. 

Bathroom Breaks

Forcing school children, teenagers especially, to ask for permission to use the bathroom is something that’s very demeaning and to be quite frank, humiliating. Now I’m aware of the fact that teachers and administrators need to know of the child’s location. That’s not the problem. The problem is the fact that the teachers can deny children permission to use the restroom. Under no circumstances should a human being ever be denied the right to their bodily functions. We as humans can not control when we have to relive ourselves and instead there should be a sign-out sheet for children to use when they have to use the restroom. Obviously, we can’t have every child going to the bathroom for hours at a time and such. But every child should be able to use the restroom at the very least once a class period if they so chose to. Some may bring up the issue of children abusing this and using the bathroom to hang out with their friends. But if children were allotted time to hang out with their friends then they would not feel the need to abuse the restroom. 


These are simply a few issues that I have cited and there is still so much more that can be done, said, and debated over. But what would the perfect school look like to me? In my eyes, the perfect school would be a school where every child is welcomed and taken care of not only physically but mentally. Such a school where busy work is nonexistent. Instead, children are given work that helps them grow not only their intelligence but who they are as a person. Such a school where instead of forcing every child to learn the same thing children pick what they want to learn with a core curriculum they all have to take yes. But the opportunity for them to have the freedom to explore the subjects they find interest in and only learn what is necessary for subjects they don’t really care for. Such a school where you don’t see children shoving headphones in their ears to drown out the noise of their surroundings just trying to ward off their panic attacks. Such a school where children don’t stare at the ground, no, they stare straight ahead! Ahead towards the future! Ahead towards progress! Ahead towards better times! Such a school in which there would not be a frown in sight! Such a school where kids are not only there to learn and survive, no, a school in which students can live and thrive. Such a school where every child has the opportunity to not only pass. But to be the best version of themselves that they can achieve.