Long have the studies descended upon us through newspapers and blogs: teachers in the US are overworked and underpaid, sometimes shockingly so, and their students suffer for it.
A Whopping 82% of American teachers felt their workload was “unmanageable,” with 75% declaring that the lack of work-life balance had a serious impact on their mental health.
Similarly, a poll of approximately 4,300 students from top-ranked high schools found that a majority feel overworked, with fewer than 1% responding that they experienced no stress in managing their workloads.
Again and again, surveys of both students and teachers reflect a culture of excessive work and little sleep.
Verily, the attrition rate of teachers within their first five years is a stunning 8% – five points above the national average. This number leaps to 17% in low-income schools or schools with at-risk young people. Sadly, teachers spend nearly a decade and often in-debt themselves preparing for a career in helping children. But when they arrive, they find dire financial straits and a lack of administrative support.
Despite the increases in this shared workload over a course of decades, the American education system has little to show for it.
Currently, the US ranks at or near the bottom of thirty-five industrialized nations in Science, Math, and Literacy, as observed in this year’s Pew Research study, and does not appear to be making significant gains in any category.
In some cases, the system reflects a downward trend but initiatives like the STEM Ecosystems Initiatives National Community of Practices is working with 27 chosen communities across the United states to shift that change.
Students are also Feeling the Pinch
Their currency is time, and they spend it more and more in attempts to maintain grades that will afford them bright futures. The standard seven-hour school day does not include commute time, extra-curricular activities, tutoring, group projects, and mountains of homework that stretch the pupil’s work time into the wee hours.
A 2014 study of 9,000 high school students found a strong correlation between later school-start times and lower instances of depression, use of caffeine, and even less frequent use of recreational drugs.
For many people, from parents at home to politicians in Congress, the educational landscape of our country appears rather bleak.
So what can we do about it? Let’s discuss the potential solutions to this growing crisis – and the tech industry’s role in them!
Stay tuned for part two of “Robot Culture” coming out later this week!
Written by: Troy Scott