There are many factors that affect the educational outcome of students. Their relationship with their teachers and parents is critical, hence there is a need to look at various factors affecting the teacher-student-parent relationship. This paper explores the issue of low wages for teachers, co-working, and the issue of working overtime and second job. The paper also explores the issue of corporal punishment and prayer in schools and how these affect educational outcomes, as well as grant writing for public schools and how schools lose money due to student absenteeism.
On prayer, the reason why prayer was banished from schools is because it was said to be disrespectful of other religions and a cause for low religious tolerance in schools. Many students and teachers also came out in protest that prayer was causing tensions in public schools where some religions felt undermined, leading to numerous lawsuits that challenged the constitutionality of prayer in schools (Bergel). It was also felt that prayer amounted to forcing other religions and ideals in schools, and the school system was meant to teach religion not force it on students. It was also felt that the issue of religion should be left to parents and religious leaders without involving the education system that is supposed to accommodate all religions. With the numerous cases in courts challenging the constitutionality of prayer in public schools, it was deemed necessary to remove prayer and replace it with a moment of silence that accommodated all religions.
The issue of corporal punishment has been present in public schools for decades but recently it has been challenged and made illegal in several states, with several teachers being fired as a result. In the past, parents used to support corporal punishment and would even help the teachers meet this punishment on students, but this trend has been decreasing yearly as more states ban corporal punishment. Teachers now found beating students usually get a written reprimand and a call to return to work but in some cases, they get suspended from schools and their license revoked, especially in the states that outlaw corporal punishment (Riepenhoff). In the cases where the teachers were fired, the parents and students had to produce evidence in court showing that the student was beaten. The failure to impose a complete ban on corporal punishment as well as its legalization in the 1977 case of Ingram v. Wright, however, makes it hard to discipline teachers and so far only a few have been fired due to corporal punishment.
Absenteeism from schools affects learning outcomes for students, but it has also been said to cost public schools monetary-wise. Chronically absent students are said to cost their school districts millions of dollars in the form of state funding due to insistence on the attendance-based funding formula. On average, every day missed by a student costs the schools $30 in funding which cumulatively amounts to millions (Crowe and Faryon). The issue has been compounded by the ban on payment for excused absences which included sick days. As a result, many schools go to great lengths to get their students in class, with some even rewarding students who have a perfect record, while others take truant students before an attendance review committee before signing an attendance contract with the student. Some schools also have a work contract in which they receive partial funding for expected absences that do not exceed five days. Basing school funding on student attendance has thus resulted in many schools losing millions of dollars in the form of state funding.
Most schools have limited state funding, and the solution for many schools lies in grant writing by teachers. The application process usually consists of three parts: the application forms, the narrative, and the budget. The teacher fills out the application forms while narrating the need for the grant, a planned approach for meeting the grant’s goals, a timeline to achieve the goals and a budget for the project. One submitted, grants undergo a two-step peer review process to determine their eligibility for funding (NIH). The first process is an evaluation of the scientific and technical merit of the proposal while in the second step the proposal’s relevance to the awarding body’s priorities is reviewed. The review is done by independent community volunteers and the whole process from grant application to the awarding of funding takes about nine months to complete.
In the present generation, parents, as well as the community, have relegated the raising of their kids to teachers who have to double up as psychologists, judges, and doctors. Many parents today have to work and thus kids spend most of their time at school even during holidays when they go for tuition. These kids seldom see their parents at home and thus the closest adult relationship they have is with their teachers (Rosales). At the same time, these teachers are expected to be accountable for the behavior of the students even when the bad behavior was caused by factors beyond the teacher’s control. These teachers are blamed for the educational, behavioral, and life outcomes of the students by authorities who are supposed to help in parenting and some even get fired for failing to achieve targets beyond their mandate.
Despite the added responsibility of parents placed on teachers, these teachers are sometimes forced to co-work with other weak teachers and thus accountability lies with the strong teacher. Finding the right match of teachers is difficult as teachers have different teaching styles and philosophies which may confuse students. One teacher also tends to be generally liked than the other leading to biases that may affect the quality of work. Additionally, the stronger teacher has to dedicate additional time to not only formulating lesson plans with the other teacher but also teaching the students to accommodate o co-teaching, and this has a huge drain on the teacher’s energy (Kliegl and Weaver).
The importance of teachers in schools cannot be overlooked, but they do not receive complimentary salaries and have to take on extra jobs to supplement their incomes. In 2015, for example, it was found that weekly wages for public school teachers were 17% lower than the wages for comparable college-educated professionals, and this gap is expected to increase over the years. Teachers thus have to work overtime either by giving private tuition, taking up a second job, or engaging in private business (Allegretto and Mishel). Many teachers also go back to college to further their education in a bid to have their pay grade increased, and in so doing take up student loans that prove difficult to repay.
In conclusion, there are many factors affecting public schools including the issue of abolishing prayers and student absenteeism that affect the quality of education in schools as well as funding. Teachers’ issues, however, have exacerbated over the years, as public school teachers have been given additional parental responsibility for students and are accountable for many outcomes. These teachers also have to look for financing despite being given wages lower than those of their peers in other professions. These teachers are also not offered support by the authorities, and in some instances may be fired for punishing students. These are issues that affect the educational outcomes of students and which should be dealt with to improve the quality and outcomes of education.
Allegretto, Sylvia and Lawrence Mishel. The teacher pay gap is wider than ever. 09 August 2016. Document. 16 December 2016.
Bergel, Gary. Banning Prayer in Public Schools Has Led to America’s Demise. 01 May 1988. Document. 16 December 2016.
Crowe, Kevin and Joanne Faryon. Chronically Absent Students Cost County Schools Millions. 27 June 2011. Document. 16 December 2016.
Kliegl, J. A. and K. D Weaver. “Teaching Teamwork Through Coteaching in the Business Classroom.” Business Communication Quarterly (2013): 205-216. Document.
NIH. The Grants Review Process. 02 May 2016. Document. 16 December 2016.
Riepenhoff, Jill. Few teachers fired for physical abuse. 19 November 2007. Document. 16 December 2016.
Rosales, John. How Bad Education Policies Demoralize Teachers. 07 February 2012. Document. 16 December 2016.