School reform efforts must begin by defining the goals of education and determining what is necessary to make it successful. The most extreme proposal would cut staffing to a bare minimum. For example, a school with 500 students would have only 20 teachers and one principal. The same school could get a million dollars in new funding if it hired additional education specialists and instructional aides. Other more moderate measures include increasing class sizes and spending less on new technology.
To improve the quality of teaching, policymakers must focus on increasing teacher funding and improving older school buildings. Increasing funding for teachers in low-income communities is essential, as many educators choose to teach in more affluent areas. This causes quality teaching to suffer in schools with fewer resources. Investing in education pays off in a big way. According to a study from 2008, investing in education boosts the gross domestic product.
School overcrowding is another significant problem. Students from low-income backgrounds are often overcrowded. Overcrowding also puts teachers under increased stress. Policy makers can draft master plans that refuse to allow overcrowding. This process must be ongoing and continuous, because new housing developments may force school capacity shifts. Dedicated task forces for lawmakers can keep abreast of capacity shifts. If all these steps are taken, the American education system can be improved for all its students.