The U.S and Ukraine: How both countries’ schools have been effected by unforeseen circumstances

Children in Ukraine participate in children readiness lessons.

Children in Ukraine participate in children readiness lessons.

Lilyana Kovacheva , Senior Writer

The war in Ukraine has changed the lives of many citizens in ways that American citizens can not imagine. According to AP News, six months of war has caused the destruction of over 260 schools. Back to school has a new meaning in Ukraine. Meanwhile, American students are facing their own educational struggles. In Georgia alone, the pandemic exacerbated existing problems and resulted in understaffed and underfunded schools across the state. 

Some states have tried to implement programs that increase available funding for parents to use toward their child’s educational needs. Ex-Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed a law last year that allowed parents to use a portion of their child’s state education funds, which was about $7,000, to pay for private-school tuition, tutoring, textbooks, online courses, homeschool material, special-needs therapy and many other expenses. 

This became America’s most expansive school-choice program. However, Arizona’s new governor, Katie Hobbs, has a proposed budget that will undo the expansion, leaving one in four students eligible for gaining these funds. She claimed the new law will cost Arizona taxpayers over $1.5 billion in the next 10 years and will ultimately bankrupt the state. 

Students with all educational backgrounds are affected by the lack of funding. Senior management information systems major Kaila Brown was homeschooled for the majority of her public education before college. 

“Being homeschooled in high school allowed me to work more hours at my job at the time, and, honestly, that better prepared me for the real world than the classes that are taken in high school,” Brown said. “I think that being able to access the state funds would be great for homeschool material. I would have benefited greatly from this and feel that I would have been happier.”

Sophomore early childhood education major Kaitlyn Kaminski understands firsthand how students can be affected by outside circumstances. 

“These kids are not just learning inside of a classroom, through a screen or in their homes,” Kaminski said. “Every day is a lesson for them. I cannot imagine what these students have to deal with in Ukraine.”

Since the pandemic, the classroom has expanded past its traditional settings, and schools across the globe have had to accommodate all the new changes. The Council of Europe got Ukraine’s response in regard to the numerous challenges faced by their schools in the COVID-19 crisis. Their main challenge in the time following the closure of schools was to maintain the learning process by distance without overloading students too much. 

“These students are now facing existential threats,” said Dr  Rob Sumowski, an associate education professor at GC. “Ukraine is going to have issues across the board with making up for wartime existence. Survival is taking priority over the nuances of what education they are getting.”

“Exchange programs would allow for direct assistance,” said Dr. Sumowski. 

During the 2020-21 school year, an international educational exchange report found that there were 5,000 exchange students in U.S. universities. The war between Russia and Ukraine has put a strain on the foreign exchange program, especially as students are fighting to live before they have a chance to fight for their education.

Education across the globe has taken a hit from the pandemic. The U.S. is still working to repair some of the imperfections of our country’s education system. 

“We are growing and working on bettering our system,” Dr. Sumowski said. “Each state has its own approach to education.” 

While we, as American citizens, have been more than fortunate enough to not fight wars in our backyard, students still struggle across the country to get enough funds to use for their education.