There is more talk these days of allowing Universal choice for parents to take their tax money to the schools that they feel will best educate their children, particularly in light of the ongoing failure of most public school students to perform as well as students in other countries.
Nonsense. The concept of Universal choice is like choosing a way to make the Edsel into a good car...an inefficient way to try to accomplish the impossible. In this case, the Edsel is the Federal Department of Education...and it's partners, the Teachers' Unions. There is lack of local community accountability and control. Local School Boards are rubber stamps for Federal Mandates and Teachers' Unions.
For almost a century, communities have seen the power to control and hold their school personnel accountable for successfully teaching their children taken away and put in the hands of the monolithic Federal Government and National Teachers' Unions. And these organizations aren't about education, they are about power...and protecting that power.
Do you want good schools? Want your kids and grandchildren to be able to read? If a child can read, they can be their own assistant teacher...they can read their texts and remind themselves of just what the teacher had explained to them earlier that day...or even last week...it gives them second and third chances to both learn and review, which make them better taught. Without reading, they have only that one shot to learn...that one period when the teacher is actively explaining and teaching the complexities of whatever element is in the lesson plan for that day. Extra help after school? Sure, but how many kids voluntarily admit that they didn't get it the first time by going for extra help? Only those that are going to succeed in spite of the situation anyway...the one's that we should value more but not worry over.
Want you kids to be able to make change without the help of a machine? Able to create and understand a budget and use it in their lives? Most importantly, do you want your children to be taught HOW to think, rather than WHAT to think? Yeah...me too. But...the ONLY way you are going to get that is if you take your schools back; demand the power to continually evaluate your teachers and explain and demand the results you want.
Are there good teachers in our schools? Of course. And they should be be given both the opportunity and the obligation to shine at their craft...and rewarded for it. And those who are there for the Union benefits should likewise be made to find a line of work more befitting their skills, whatever they may be.
That means abolishing the Federal Department of Education. And if that proves impossible, it should be emasculated and reduced to census type operation providing statistical support absent any funding or enforcement powers...sort of a country-wide report card, but without the power to interpret or enforce its findings and opinion.
I can hear a cry now, "Isn't that a bit extreme?"
Was it your community that decided to stop using phonics to teach children to read, moving to the unworkable concept called "whole word" recognition and insisting on continuing to claim that its use was teaching students to read adequately...even to this day? No? Mine neither. Who made that decision and who endorsed its implementation and continued use even in the light of proof that it was not working? Your community? Nope...it was the Department of Education supported by the Teachers' Unions.
If the government, supposedly acting on our behalf, could take control of GM and, in order to prevent it's failing, throw out Union Contracts and Pension Plans, legally defraud bond holders...all in the interest of "too big to fail," how much more justified is it for our communities to take back control of our schools under the aegis of "Too Important to Fail." Seriously.
Like Home Improvement, sometimes you cannot renovate...you have to demolish and rebuild. This is one of those times.