Teachers' Day 2017: 4 reasons why America needs great teachers more than ever

The latest Google Doodle celebrates the stars of the US education system

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The Independent US

Google is honouring teachers with a colourful doodle for Teachers’ Day.

The animated image depicts the letter "g" teaching the other letters of Google about a range of subjects from chemistry to space and arithmetic.

In a changing political climate with competing ideas on how to fix America's struggling education system, here’s why the country needs to value its teachers and inspire even more to take up the job.

1. The US is declining in global education rankings

When it comes to math and science education, American students rank behind many advanced industrial nations, according to data from Pew international math and science assessments.

The most recent Programme for International Student Assessment — one of the largest comparisons compiled between countries — found that US students ranked 38th out of 71 in math and 24th in science in that field (other rankings are more generous with the US, but not by much).

2. Trump's White House is looking to cut education funding

President Donald Trump requested a budget earlier this year that would slash domestic funding while boosting military expenditures. That included a requested cut of 13.5 per cent, or $9.2 billion, to the US Department of Education. 

Included in that original budget plan was the removal of $2.4 billion in grants for teacher training and $1.2 billion in funding for summer and after school programmes. America has always needed great teachers, but with the education system facing such a rocky path, it needs to value and recruit them more than ever. 

3. Many jobs of the future are in science, maths and tech

Jobs that rely on STEM expertise (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) are expected to increase considerably. Those jobs, which generally require a bachelor’s degree, are also pretty lucrative, and there will be hundreds of thousands of new jobs in the next years that pay six-figure salaries.

4. Creationism is still being taught in a number of public schools

At least 14 states allow taxpayer dollars to go fund schools that teach creationism. The issue is contentious to say the least, with opponents saying that teaching creationism with taxpayer dollars violates the separation of church and state clause in the US constitution. What's more, it isn’t based on any empirical evidence.

Supporters of that curriculum argue for their religious freedoms and say that evolution hasn’t been adequately proven. Having good teachers to wade that debate and help students to make informed decisions has always been important.