Education is always front and center in public discussion, impacting everyone in society and determining the direction of a nation. But while everyone has a different opinion to share, one thing can’t be denied: learning has changed in many ways since you were in school!
Whether you graduated recently or way back in the 20th century (gasp), there have been fundamental shifts in the attitudes, infrastructure, and methodologies of modern education.
Let’s find out exactly how learning has evolved in such a short timeframe, and what this means for the future of education in the U.S. and beyond.
1. More Options and Opportunities
It wasn’t long ago that families had only one option when sending their kids to school, whether in a city, small town, or the burbs. The public school in your district was the only game in town, unless you could afford expensive private or boarding schools.
Now, more options are available thanks to the rise of charter schools, magnet schools, and other public education establishments. There may not be a clear winner in terms of pure performance or student satisfaction, but the power of choice is something all parents can appreciate.
The charter schools Orange County features are some of the best in the nation, setting a standard for others to follow. This is one of the most exciting developments in education at large, and one to track moving forward.
2. Digital Learning in Focus
It should be evident that technology has changed the entire education experience for students, teachers, and parents alike. Kids now do most of their learning, homework, and test-taking online, streamlining the entire process and reducing paperwork.
The digital trend was already gaining momentum before COVID hit and made it non-negotiable. Some schools struggled to make the rapid shift, while others easily adapted.
The downsides of digital learning may still linger, but it won’t be long before teachers find the right balance between in-person education and technology-based tactics.
3. Self-Education Matters More
Kids now have a world of knowledge at their fingertips with phones, laptops, and tablets. This means that self-motivated individuals are excelling, while others may be falling behind.
It’s a tough dilemma for teachers who want everyone to achieve equally, but it also proves that self-education may signify what’s to come. Parents may be more inclined to incorporate homeschooling efforts, thanks to these tech advances.
This will have a knock-on impact on college admissions and enrollment as well. If top-performing high schoolers can gather skills online without needing a traditional four-year degree, forward-thinking firms may scoop them up and train them in a win-win situation.
4. Extracurricular Intensity
Today’s students barely have any free time to themselves, and that may be a good thing. Staying occupied with extracurriculars means kids are more likely to stay out of trouble and engaged in their community.
The usual offerings are all there, including sports, arts, music, and other creative pursuits. Private classes and tutors are also thriving, especially now that the pandemic has passed.
5. Cool Classroom Technology
Interactive SMART whiteboards are way cooler than the screechy chalkboards of yesteryear. They can display videos, images, and allow for advanced interactive and testing methods that keep the pace quick in the classroom.
With expanding public school budgets, these technologies are no longer out of reach. It’s now the norm to incorporate tech in the classroom. Now, the only challenge is to keep kids from texting and gaming while class is in session!
6. Standardized Testing Changes
Tests like the SAT and ACT are still important, in addition to the state-wide tests that allow governments to track performance across districts. However, the emphasis is not entirely on standardized testing these days, as schools change how they track results.
More important to school districts are metrics like attendance rate, graduation rate, and career tracks after students collect their degrees. Tests matter, but real-world results matter more.
7. Increased Inclusion Initiatives
Academic achievement gaps persist between racial and income groups throughout America, and schools are working hard to narrow them.
This means allocating more time and money to disadvantaged students from low-income households, and encouraging student alliances that help kids tutor and assist one another.
It’s an uphill battle for many communities, but the efforts to elevate them must continue at any cost.
8. Parent Involvement May Vary
Conscientious parents are more involved in school systems, and that’s generally a good thing. However, controversy may arise with issues like funding, curriculum, and political messaging in classrooms.
Don’t be surprised if more parents become more active in boards and decision-making groups, voicing their opinions on what matters most to them. We may see different avenues of education open up and expand as parents push for different objectives and uphold rigorous standards.