Education Changes in the Last Decade

Kya Nethercot, Editor in Chief

With changes in our society come changes in the values in our education system. Education policies are made to face the challenges of each era. 

As we grow more scientifically and socially aware, schools have to update everything from curriculum to infrastructure. Here are the highlights of the last decade.

First was Michelle Obama’s Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. In response to the childhood obesity crisis, she passed this policy, which provided billions of dollars to free and reduced lunch programs and required schools to serve “nutritious” meals.

But, as with most changes, this policy came with backlash. Students claimed meals were bland and tasteless, which lead many to stop eating school lunch. According to a report by The Government Accountability Office, more than a million students left the lunch lines. 

In recent years, we’ve seen many other changes in school priorities. Today one of the most significant concerns for schools is security because of the current trend in school shootings.

According to Pat Hegarty, the Mukilteo School District’s Executive Director of Secondary Education, “One thing that has become central is how we look at safety and security in the schools. That has really changed a lot along with how we look at commons spaces and how we protect [them]. All of those pieces are important now.”

Our school is planning to make many changes in security to face these challenges through the upcoming bond. They will include new classroom door locks that will lock from the inside rather than from the outside, central intercom systems to ensure quick response in case of an emergency, and automated access controls to prevent any unauthorized entry.

Another policy that some schools are considering to accommodate recent societal changes is the addition of gender-neutral bathrooms. One example of this is the Washoe County School District in Nevada. They added gender-neutral bathrooms because their students didn’t feel safe in the traditional restrooms. 

According to the National Conference for Community and Justice, the mayor of Philadelphia even signed a bill that requires the addition of gender-neutral bathrooms in all city-owned new and renovated facilities.

One difference we’ve seen in recent years is the shift towards technology. Now, students can use technology as a tool to find resources, connect with teachers and peers, and complete work. In our school, many teachers use the Remind app to communicate with students. Teachers answer questions over text, give assignments, and send links to useful tools. 

Overall, the changes we see in society today are reflected by school policies across the nation. Societal values shape how our students learn.