Major issues in the public education system include excessive class sizes, bullying, student health and decreased funding. Other key issues include increased poverty, high divorce rates, and the growing technological gap between teachers and students, reports Public School Review.
A large part of the problem is a lack of federal and state funding for education budgets. Under-funded school systems have fewer resources, employees and programs to deal with issues or prevent them in the first place, says Public School Review. Small budgets are also partially to blame for increasing class sizes. Larger classes harm the student-per-teacher ratio and limit individual instruction.
External factors play an important role as well. Poverty affects many students, limiting their access to nourishing food and a stable environment. These factors have been shown to interfere with children's ability to learn. Another factor is the increased overall instability in home life for U.S. children; divorce rates are high, single-mother households are becoming a new norm and domestic violence remains an issue. The ability to concentrate is negatively affected by chaotic home lives.
Finally, 2002's passage of the No Child Left Behind Act, which has shifted educational focus toward standardized testing, has proven to be highly controversial. Critics see these standardized tests as unnecessary and ineffective, according to Public School Review.