Tuesday, December 27, 2011

On compulsory education by the state

In 1932 there were 128,000 school districts in the United States. while today there are fewer than 15,000. This shrinkage and centralization of decision-making has gone on at the same time our student population has grown to twice its size. This is to say nothing of the hundreds of billions of dollars, taken from taxpayers and spent by local, state, and federal government on education. Sadly, the result of all of this centralization and excessive spending has been only to diminish the quality education and a grand decline in the results produced for the consumers—the students and their parents.

Moreover, public schools are increasingly imposing politicized, standardized, one-size-fits-all curricula that neither accommodate individual strengths nor correct for individual weaknesses.

Long before "Goals 2000" and its dubious federal education program predecessors, some people foresaw the way in which public schools were being and would continue to be used to impose a political agenda that in turn seeks to reinforce political support for government means and institutions.

Education continues to be one of the most politically charged issues in our national culture, and the conflicts over education in America are likely to grow more polarized and polarizing so long as the political control increases. Indeed, for centuries the political control of education has engendered social conflict, and even led to civil wars and revolutions.

It is time to completely rethink public education, to clearly understand and unashamedly admit what works and what does not work. Return local control to schools; let parents direct their children's education; return school tax monies to the taxpayers and let parents freely choose the schools they want their children to attend. Beyond that, eliminate the stranglehold of teachers unions and the education establishment—both proven failures—on every school in America.

Let's put students first—not the teachers’ unions.

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