Since I have to pick one, I'd say that the most challenging issue (for me) in education today is class sizes. So many of the other issues in education could be addressed if class sizes were addressed.
I think my ideal class has twelve students.
If we had better funding for public education this might be possible.
Imagine the possibilities and advantages to a class of twelve. When I had a chance to think about having a superpower in the classroom, I picked Time Reduction to give me the time to do the things I need to do. A class of a dozen students with one teacher allows for significantly more personalized attention and a much better educational experience for all.
With a dozen students in a class:
- you'd only have a dozen families to get to know really well
- emails would be much more manageable
- meetings with students and their parents could be held regularly to discuss progress, challenges and collaboratively set goals
- you'd only have a dozen report cards to write
- you'd only have a maximum of twelve IEPs to write. In fact, with only twelve students, you could (and should) create an IEP for each and every student (not necessarily an official "IEP", but something like the Annual Learning Plan that I'm using with my class this year)
- authentic differentiation would be much easier
- assessing and evaluating twelve students would take significantly less time
- you'd have space for the kids to move around in the classroom
- the relationships you'd form with a small group would be real, deep and meaningful
- teachers would realize that their job is valued and that society sees how challenging it can be to try to "put cats in a bag". That's how teaching a large class feels most days.
It's not to say that great educators don't accomplish this with classes upwards of 30, but imagine how much easier it would be with tiny classes.
On the rare days (or parts of days) when I've had twelve students in my room, I've seen how productive, engaged and valued they feel with far fewer people dividing my attention.