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A Major Chunk Of What's Wrong

April 21, 2010

Today's news hit home. The media today reported that school districts in the U.S. were all out of money, and were starting to lay off everyone from high-level managers to janitors. My sister-in-law, along with dozens of others in our county, received notice they were all losing their jobs, last check coming in July. Is anyone surprised?

Since the Department of Education was established, our benevolent masters have added layers and layers of management (read that "bureaucracy"), set standards nationwide, revamped curricula, and mandated everything from what could be served in vending machines to what could and could not be displayed on school walls, all in an attempt to improve our children's education. So, with all that you'd expect test scores to soar. Nope - nothing! Basically a flat line. We're doing just as good now as we were before the Department with all its minions was established, and we weren't doing that well then.

Now, compare that to the scores of the children of those few parents who chose to home school their kids. Their scores are far and away better than those from public schools, even the much touted "charter" schools. The best innovation devised for public schools - school vouchers, where parents can decide which schools to send their kids to based on their experience of which schools did the best job - was fought at every point by our so-called leaders, and finally crushed entirely in the one major city where it was actually put in place and working - our nation's capital, Washington , D.C. Surprise, surprise.

The inability to educate our children is a large part of why our country is headed in the wrong direction right now. Many, however, still believe that if we could just support our local schools more, they'd do better. Insanity is the act of trying the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Are we just insane?

Not only all that, but violence, teen pregnancy, drug use, and disrespect for authority has gone through the roof, with no end in sight. Our supposed leaders even make fun of the few things that do work, claiming you can't teach morality (sorry, but you actually can!). All this leads to the inescapable conclusion that our public schools are so broken they cannot be fixed. That does not mean our teachers and local administrators are incapable. On the contrary! Some of the most dedicated people you'll ever find are those underpaid teachers, assistants, and principals working in our local schools. They're victims just like our kids are. I know whereof I speak. Both my parents and other members of my family were and are educators who struggled daily to work within the stupidity of the system we've created.

So, what are the solutions? Allow me to propose some ideas (and these may sound familiar):

* Abolish the Department of Education and let's keep those dollars at home. This single act would do more to bolster our local schools than anything else we can do. However, this is just an interim step, because federal guidelines still harness those folks trying to educate our kids. However, we could at least move the decision-making back where it belongs - here!

* Allow the tax dollars earmarked for education (amount per student per year currently being spent) to be spent where individual parents determine. Unrestricted vouchers would be the logical step.

* If you're a Christian, take your kids out of public school, and put them in a good Christian school (the vouchers would come in handy here). If there's not one locally, band together with other parents and establish one. Do you really want your kids to be educated by a system that not only disdains, but actively opposes, your personal beliefs? That's not education - that's indoctrination!

* If you're a church, support a Christian education. Some of the greatest minds in history were educated in parochial schools, and many were educated at home using the Bible as their primary reference. I personally believe schools should be operated by our churches, not the government. After all, education is the primary responsibility of the parents, who should be in church in the first place!

* If you're not a Christian (and, may I ask "why not?"), then demand a good private school, again supported by local funds. There's a reason why people of means send their kids to private and parochial schools rather than public schools. If we demand that control over our funds, we regular folks could have that same quality education.

* Demand that liberals and so-called "progressives" sit down and shut up! They had their chance, and proved their way to be exactly wrong.

There is no reason for any child to go to a broken school. If we just take the money we're throwing away right now on an inferior education, and funnel those funds to a better system, we could fix this problem. The experience of the last 50 years is more than sufficient to make that case obvious. Now that the feds have completely and utterly failed, let's take those talented teachers we already have and provide them a system that allows them to actually teach. I know they'd be happier, and those who won't probably didn't need to be teachers in the first place!


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