*Author’s note: No amount of public-service bandaids will ever replace proper parenting. At best, a school can only reflect the values of the community which it serves. Why are suburban schools so often called “good” schools and urban schools labeled as “bad” schools? We need only take a look at the type of communities in those areas. That being said, some reform is possible and indeed vital to the development of healthy young people.
The problem with public education is that it is public (i.e. government bureaucracy). In the history of government, it is hard to tell where private enterprise hasn’t done better, or wouldn’t do better, than its tax-payer subsidized counterpart. From a Constitutional standpoint, the government exists to protect its citizens natural rights and that’s about it. Somehow or other, though, this basic premise has been expanded to include mandatory education, income tax, social security, alphabet agencies, healthcare, welfare, and most recently, masks, lockdown, and vaccinations. If the Founders could talk, they would say little more than “To arms!”
Each participant in society has their own expertise. Mine happens to fall in the realm of education. I have been a teacher assistant, teacher, teacher mentor, and school administrator. I have seen education through the lens of a parent and through the lens of being told what to do and doing the telling. On the part where Black Lives Matter says we need to tear down the system, on that I can at least agree. We do need to dismantle public education. Just not the way they invoke.
#1: States need to allow money to follow the students.
Here is something most people might not realize: One of the biggest expenditures of any state budget is education. In California, for example, a law demands that 25% be spent on public education annually In Minnesota, over 50% of the entire state budget is consumed by expenses related to education. Each state determines, as they should, what amount of money is currently flushed down the toilet of K-12 schooling.
Making matters worse, this money can only be redistributed if a student enrolls in a public institution. Your kid attends private school? Your kid is homeschooled? That money might as well not exist. The states have a nice arrangement where they collect your money and pay it back to state entities like school districts. In order to qualify even as a charter, you need state permission for accreditation. Public school funding is a racket on top of a racket.
A quick fix to the many ills of school could be fixed by meaningful competition. Competition would meet the needs of many American families that watch helplessly as their kids are taught to hate them and their country. Moms and dads have to work, so homeschool isn’t an option. Competition would also commonsensically raise school offerings because if School A isn’t teaching math, then School B will draw in more parents. School A either ups their game or folds. Either way, it’s a win for consumers. An added bonus is that the best schools will pay their teachers more.
The teachers’ unions will be the biggest, and most well funded, opponents to such a proposal. They can go screw themselves. Public-sector unions are already a scam on tax payers, and Covids should have proven to everyone that unions do not exist to serve students. They exist merely to serve teachers. Even crazier, only 25% of union dues are spent on advocating for teachers. The rest is overhead and political contributions. Again, scam on top of a scam.
The short of it? We need a fixed amount of tax dollars to follow students. That money can certainly go back into the government’s option, but it also needs to be able to flow into non-government schools and homeschool circles. Whoever educates the kids gets paid. If the traditional public schools want to continue not teaching math and push Critical Race Theory, then they can watch their coffers go dry.
#2: Public school teachers should have required cross training with other public employees (i.e. the police).
I have a working theory that if Step One is enacted, public schools would retain the leftist loonies and alternative offerings would be more grounded in American exceptionalism. Not all, but most. We cannot abolish government, nor do we want to, and we still need to demand excellence from all government employees, including teachers and police. If Joe Biden can demand government employees get vaccinated, I think it’s reasonable to ask that these same people learn a little bit more about their inter-field colleagues.
For starters, let’s mandate that all public teachers do basic training and ride alongs with the police. I suspect both experiences would be eye openers.
I have been trying to find a reason not to do this, and I don’t have a single one.
Better understanding of police procedures and policies? Check. Better understanding of police as human beings? Check. Better understanding of criminal behaviors? Check. Better yet, perhaps the next time a “young man trying to turn his life around” is shot by police, perhaps teachers could stand inside the precinct and get a taste for the depraved animalistic tendencies of BLM thugs that seek only to hurt, and not understand, law enforcement. I wonder if they would have a different attitude toward these “peaceful protests” after a brick or frozen water bottle smashes against their heads.
#3. Abolish each state’s Department of Education.
As with all branches of government, centralized government control inevitably leads to a politicized culture. Public education is no different. All states of a department of education, which is a way of saying that tax-payer dollars disappear in an entity that has never accomplished anything of value, nor even pretends to have a raison d’etre. People are paid to convene while repeating the latest buzzwords and bemoan the fact that the most comprehensive and equitable education system in the world is merely a product of white supremacy. Across the country, these departments are implementing social justice standards for all K-12 learners. This comes on the heels of watering down literacy and math instruction so that all children can be taught to the lowest common denominator of each classroom.
In any state, the department is usually headquartered in or around the state capital, which also happens to be one of the larger metropolises. Does anyone think that these self-titled sophisticated urbanites have much empathy for, or understanding of, their many rural compatriots? Do they care that most Americans tilt right of center, and decidedly do not want white supremacy, abortion, gender theory, porn, and a host of other evils brainwashed into their children?
A basic lesson is that bureaucracy exists to serve itself, not any constituents. No department of education can or will serve the needs of distinct communities across a massive geographical and political spectrum. Nor should it have to. To that end, they simply need to go.