Public education is very important in the United States. The public education system is responsible for transmitting American culture and providing skills that benefit society as a whole; however, there are some serious flaws in the American system of public education.
Some of these flaws can be tied to inefficiency. Much of the first part of the school year is spent re-teaching skills that the students were supposed to have learned previously. Students are mainstreamed into the classroom, meaning that the teacher must effectively teach to the student of average intelligence, thus leaving ones with higher aptitudes unfulfilled and those with lower aptitudes left behind. A second inefficiency is the amount of bureaucratic paperwork is takes to run a public school system. Many of the meetings that take place within schools have little to do with pedagogy. Teachers are also expected to take roles outside of their expertise, such as social worker, due to the obstacles to learning that many students may have outside of school.
Many more flaws can be tied to implementation of public education. Many teachers spend more time on classroom management issues than they do teaching the material. Some of this is due to the compulsory nature of public education—this means that all school-age students must go to school regardless of their desire to be there. Teachers are given a certain way to teach their courses that is mandated by the state. These mandates have little leeway for adjusting to student needs and interest. Standardized testing is also a weakness of the public education system. It is impossible to measure all students equally when each child's home circumstances and ability are different. Many aspiring teachers leave the field well before they achieve tenure due to classroom management and other classroom issues, thus giving many students new teachers who lack training and experience. Many government officials who oversee public education have little to no experience in the education field. At the university level, public education suffers as many survey courses are taught by adjuncts or graduate assistants who do not have the experience skills and experience needed to help students transition from high school to college.
Another issue of public education is funding. The education field is not attractive from an economic standpoint due to its low pay relative to the amount of training it takes to get the position. Teachers have to fund their own classrooms out of this meager pay. The schools themselves are often overcrowded places with outdated facilities. There is often community backlash when tax increases to fund schools are mentioned. At the university level, public education suffers as adjuncts often make poverty-level wages and have an uncertain future since their employment is conditional based on class sizes—this means that it is impossible for adjuncts to gain tenure.