Try competition

School choice is 'the civil rights issue of our time'

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America has tried everything to improve its educational system, and has failed. Everything.

Except what works best.

We have thrown money at the problem, to no avail. Our education spending is among the highest in the world, but test scores still lag behind other industrialized nations. Says the University of Southern California: “The U.S. is the clear leader in total annual spending, but ranks ninth in science performance and 10th in math.”

Andrew J. Coulson, in a 2009 report for the Cato Institute in Washington, writes, “we have little to show for the nearly $2 trillion spent on federal education programs since 1965. ... (F)ederal education spending per pupil has nearly tripled since 1970 in real, inflation-adjusted dollars – but achievement has barely budged. In fact, the only subject in which achievement at the end of high school has changed by more than 1 percent is science, and it has gotten worse.

“Families facing tight budgets actually consider canceling a service that doesn’t benefit them,” Coulson writes, suggesting that perhaps spending on the status quo is not the answer.

We’ve also tried leveling the full weight and strength of the leviathan United States bureaucracy against the problem: The No Child Left Behind Act – this nation’s most sweeping education reform in several generations – has been an unprecedented reach of the federal government down into local schools. Yet, again, to little or no gain.

And perhaps, even, to our detriment: Arne Duncan, President Obama’s secretary of education, candidly noted that No Child Left Behind “inadvertently encourages states to lower” learning standards, in order to be in “compliance.” The law has “led to a dumbing down of standards, and it’s led to a narrowing of curriculum,” he told The Hill last year.

“After a decade on the books,” the Associated Press wrote earlier this year, “President George W. Bush’s most hyped domestic accomplishment has become a symbol to many of federal overreach and Congress’ inability to fix something that’s clearly flawed.”

So spending isn’t the answer. Neither is the bureaucracy.

Why hasn’t this country tried what it knows, better than any nation on Earth, works best?

Competition.

We firmly believe that school choice can improve educational performance in America. Paradoxically, it empowers both school and parent, to the benefit of the student.

True school choice would allow parents to shop for the best schools. That would put instant pressure on school officials to perform at a higher level. At the same time, most schools could, and should, be empowered to toss non-performing, non-complying, disruptive students out on their stumps. There can always be alternative schools for them. That would empower schools to set and enforce strict guidelines for entry – putting instant pressure on parents and students to perform at a higher level.

In addition, we believe – as presidential candidate Mitt Romney said this week – that school choice is actually “the civil rights issue of our time.”

People with money already have school choice. They get up and move away from poorly performing schools or districts, or simply enroll their children in private schools.

It’s the disadvantaged – many of them minorities – who are stuck in the schools the government provides and dictates they attend.

Oddly, it’s the teachers’ union-obeying Democratic Party that is standing in the way of school choice – the same Democratic Party that is blindly supported by so many.

We Googled the phrase “competition makes you better.” We instantly found numerous examples of sports figures saying it.

When is academia going to learn it?

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Craig Spinks
817
Points
Craig Spinks 05/25/12 - 01:51 am
3
0
When competition motivates educrats* to work...

as if their jobs depended on it, we'll see more substantial improvements. So long as many teachers, principals, and central office staffers are paid and retained whether the students under their charge learn or not, such folks will have little identification with their students' learning.

* By educrats I don't mean the many teachers and administrators who work hard every day to help our kids learn. Rather, by educRATS I mean those careerists in our classrooms, in school offices, in BOE offices and in the various and sundry lobbying groups whose primary concern is their personal financial gain and whose mantra is "Everybody knows that poor and minority kids(free- and reduced-price lunch kids) can't learn."

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Georgians for Educational Excellence

desertcat6
1140
Points
desertcat6 05/25/12 - 04:08 am
2
1
School choice in its final

School choice in its final form sounds like no choice at all. Your children's schools are selected based on academic performance rather than geographic residence? Sounds like fun.

Techfan
6461
Points
Techfan 05/25/12 - 04:28 am
3
4
We have the infrastructure

We have the infrastructure already in place. The idea that building another school and moving kids around will make them perform better is nonsense. We have a couple of magnet schools that do great. They, however, get to pick and choose their students. For the most part, school choice proponents are broken down into 3 groups. 1. Religious zealots who think dinosaurs were made by the devil and that man coexisted with them, who home "school" their kids or send them to some religious school and want funding for them. 2. People who send their kids to private school anyway and want to get reimbursed. Amazingly, a lot of these "academies" were created right around the time of integration. I heard the racist comments from many of my friends' parents at the time. It had nothing to do with education, but rather segregation. 3. Private companies that see billions of taxpayer dollars across the nation just ripe for the picking. Of course studies show, that given the same type of students, charter schools, etc. do no better than public schools and in many cases worse. The idea is not to improve public schools, but to defund and destroy them.

seenitB4
85358
Points
seenitB4 05/25/12 - 05:28 am
5
1
Oh my my my

I wish i could say what I'm THINKING!

The gimmiement messed up the schools way back long ago.....education wasn't what pushed their AGENDA......social good feelings & righting wrongs......sooooo how is that working for us??

Yes we need a choice....the kids need a choice...the teachers need a choice...& kids that misbehave or don't want to learn should be tossed out on their BEHINDS....BUT that won't happen..
We will have to get gov. out of the school business.....once & for all...imo

Techfan
6461
Points
Techfan 05/25/12 - 06:29 am
4
3
The only thing you got right

The only thing you got right is that kids that don't want to learn, or misbehave (they aren't mutually inclusive) should be kicked out.

Rhetor
998
Points
Rhetor 05/25/12 - 06:40 am
1
4
Hmm. You want to use public

Hmm. You want to use public funds to pay for a private business. This might or might not work. I assume, however, ACES, that you realize that this is pure, unadulterated socialism--in its most pristine form. Have you not previously argued that socialism never works? Why have you suddenly changed your minds?

americafirst
965
Points
americafirst 05/25/12 - 06:48 am
4
1
The problem with the schools

The problem with the schools is not inadequate funding. There is too much money wasted in our public education system. Its not the teachers or even the administrators or the school boards. The problem can be summed up in one word: parents.

DuhJudge
206
Points
DuhJudge 05/25/12 - 06:49 am
2
0
Kids today are no dumber than

Kids today are no dumber than they were thirty years ago. The cream rose to the top then and it rises to the top today. But because the Feds take your money, then print some to go with it, they can tell states to make butter out of milk. After the cream separates, you make cheese. In other words, we are not equally motivated to learn the same things at the same speed. Stop the churning.

desertcat6
1140
Points
desertcat6 05/25/12 - 07:01 am
3
0
Remember the Bell curve?

Remember the Bell curve? Tough to flatten without increasing both better and lesser outcomes equally.

justthefacts
21354
Points
justthefacts 05/25/12 - 08:41 am
3
0
4th Category, Better Education

Guess that never occurred to Techfan. It's always a boogyman behind every bush. Talk about paranoia.

JohnBrownAug
1962
Points
JohnBrownAug 05/25/12 - 09:24 am
2
1
Do away with public school

Do away with public school education as we know it and save enough money to turn western civilization around. Get rid of the bloated, slimy educrats and school systems that confiscate about 80% of our property taxes, a large percent of state and federal taxes.

As we are learning with higher education, the technology has improved to allow distant learning. The internet and cable channels can supply a degree of education geared to the specific student that snail mail classrooms can’t. Brick and mortar schools and educrats with their nothing degrees in education are as dated as firemen on the railroad.

Every single issue of doing away with public education can be addressed at 1/1000th of the cost we spend on public education. We can provide baby sitting for working parents which is what many want. Private interests can provide extracurricular activities such as sports and music.

I dare a conservative county to undertake such a positive, earth shattering move that would mean all students don’t graduate with a standardized, mediocre education, but will be at their exact, individualized best. This drastic move won’t happen soon, but it will one day, mark my words.

If you want to see the future of public education observe the empty, trashed and vandalized schools in Greece. There is no money for this nonsense called public education anymore.

double_standard
166
Points
double_standard 05/25/12 - 09:14 am
2
0
school of choice

No Child Left Behind, Medicare B, the two wars paid with borrowed money, unfunded stimulus checks, homeland security, defense contractors killing American soldiers, the patriot act, $5/ gallon gas, need I go one anymore that was a depressing 8 years of American History.

Bizkit
30685
Points
Bizkit 05/25/12 - 09:38 am
2
1
I thought Obama was all

I thought Obama was all against competition and what's "fair" is everyone will have the same education, income, etc. A level playing field. Good luck on that one. No Child Left Behind demonstrates that Federal govt is up for the job. If we examine this logically we see: 1) money isn't the issue-we spend more for less return 2) federal govt as overseer doesn't work either 3) we still have the best universities just our public schools stink 4) education as far as pedogogy is similar but now there is an information explosion-(what is strange is college kids are expected to know less than what I did 40 years ago), 5) discipline is non-existent in public schools 6) the Flynn effects says kids are supposedly smarter yet where's the fruit???? 7) a generation of entitlement that I don't have to really work. 8) a perfect storm of failure. Some of these educators have been educating for twenty years with notable successes and now suddenly they are bad teachers-I don't think so-they fill out lesson plans and teach a curriculum they have no input into and they are told to teach. The education system may not be broken but it maybe our kids-lazy, entitlement attitude, and egomania and narcissistic. Their attitude is I "deserve" a B because I attended class, like the course, made at least one A, etc.

itsanotherday1
41953
Points
itsanotherday1 05/25/12 - 09:51 am
4
0
Amen to that!

"Its not the teachers or even the administrators or the school boards. The problem can be summed up in one word: parents."

I have teachers in the family who will attest to the daily struggles they have with students because parents defend them at every turn. The sad part is the administrations will back the parents before they will the teacher.

allhans
23524
Points
allhans 05/25/12 - 10:00 am
2
1
Gov. Romney has made school

Gov. Romney has made school choice, the voucher system, a major part of his campaign.

Obama will continue to support teachers' unions rather than the kids.

Democrats will vote for Obama and the same failing school system.

dichotomy
32047
Points
dichotomy 05/25/12 - 10:04 am
5
0
Schools......garbage

Schools......garbage service.......TEE centers.......when the government takes over anything the next thing you know you are paying double the price and getting half of what you paid for.

And soapy_725 you are absolutely correct. The absolute fact of how we got where we are will never be acknowledged and consequently will never be fixed. It wouldn't be politically correct. Not only did we lower the performance standards for students. We lowered the standards for teachers too. Lowering the standards to the lowest common denominator was not the way to "level the playing field" but that is what we did. Instead of bringing everyone up to PASS, we took the whole system down to FAIL and relabled it PASS. Any "performance over timeline" chart shows the disastrous results.

Retired Army
17512
Points
Retired Army 05/25/12 - 10:49 am
3
2
Wait a minute. Didn't we

Wait a minute. Didn't we already give segregation a good long run? Didn't seem to work out well then either.

southernguy08
499
Points
southernguy08 05/25/12 - 11:21 am
0
0
SCHOOL VOUCHERS
Unpublished

The NEA will fight tooth and nail to prevent school vouchers from ever being a reality. They know public schools can't stand real competition. They'd rather see our kids slip further and further behind kids from other nations in math and science competitions, then blame conservative Republicans because they won't roll over and allow more billions to be poured down this dry hole called American public education. "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing year after year and expecting different results." Benjamin Franklin. I'm betting if old Ben was the Secretary of Education and said this, he'd be accused of being a racist. Sad but true.

Bizkit
30685
Points
Bizkit 05/25/12 - 12:14 pm
3
2
The kids are buying into the

The kids are buying into the progressive mantra that govt will take care of them so they don't worry about seriously entertaining an education. There are some good students and they excel however the majority believe everybody cheats, there aren't real experts just bullshooters, and they can be get by with a minimum of efforts and still eat steak every night.

CobaltGeorge
155217
Points
CobaltGeorge 05/25/12 - 12:13 pm
2
2
We all can make 100's of

We all can make 100's of comments and suggestions about our sorry education system, but the real answer was made by seenitB4.......

"We will have to get gov. out of the school business.....once & for all"

allhans
23524
Points
allhans 05/25/12 - 12:43 pm
3
0
CG..I think government school

CG..I think government school education COULD work ..........it worked for years. The system needs to be revamped, from the top down, kinda like taxes. It has grown too fast and too big, which means no accountability.

southernguy08
499
Points
southernguy08 05/25/12 - 01:14 pm
0
0
COBALT GEORGE
Unpublished

Regarding getting government out of the school business, does the term, "When Hell freezes over!" come to mind? Government will NEVER be out of this business, and real competition to "gummint skuuls" will never happen! And yes, we will continue to see our kids slip further and further behind kids from much poorer countries. Just like addressing our national debt, the cure is too painful for politicians to contemplate.

Buckmode
22
Points
Buckmode 05/25/12 - 01:18 pm
3
0
More than one place to point fingers

I have always said that education is like a 3-legged stool: you have the teachers/administrators, the parents, and the students. If any one "leg" fails the whole thing comes crashing down. There are too many teachers who have been in education too long. They still use the same tired methods and get the same poor results. Unfortunately they are only hanging on until they can retire and it is almost impossible to get rid of them when they have tenure. Don't get me wrong--there are many excellent teachers also, but too often they feel defeated by the educational bureaucracy and the outdated educational structure within which they must work. There are far too many administrators within almost every school system--assistant superintendents, associate superintendents, curriculum directors, executive directors, etc. etc. and each one with "Doctor" in front of their name. The superintendents of 2 local systems earn more than $115,00 each and the student population in each of those counties is less than 800. For far too long, parents have shifted the burden of raising their children to the schools. A teacher has a child for 180 days of the year, and in the upper grades for only 1 hour each day. Yet it is the teacher who is expected to teach the child right from wrong, proper behavior, and how to get along with peers. But woe betide the teacher who tries to discipline the child who fails to act as expected! Too often the teacher is the first target of the parent's wrath, not the precious child who can do no wrong. On top of this, the school administrators are too busy covering their own backsides to support the teacher. The student then realizes he has an upper hand--when in trouble, run to mama. The schools transport the child, feed the child, try to educate the child--and are vilified for not doing it the "proper" way, according to the parent. Unless and until all 3 legs are supporting each other and the overall educational system, things will never improve.

Techfan
6461
Points
Techfan 05/25/12 - 02:02 pm
2
3
Ah, the old "3 legged stool

Ah, the old "3 legged stool cliche". Nope, not that, unless you use, it's the parents, it's the parents, it the parents. Many just don't care, and many just can't accept that their little angel can cause trouble. Just because little angel can make good grades doesn't mean he can't act like a little demon when he's not around mom and dad.

Techfan
6461
Points
Techfan 05/25/12 - 02:10 pm
2
0
Back in the good old days

Back in the good old days that everyone likes to talk about, taxes (especially on the wealthy) were higher, schools were separate and unequal, and nothing was privatized.

socks99
250
Points
socks99 05/25/12 - 03:20 pm
0
0
U.S., state and local reform

U.S., state and local reform measures probably reflect more worry about economic competition; those measures have greatly ramped-up educational spending including K12 spending. Unfortunately, well-intentioned lawmakers have sponsored raft after raft after raft of rules, regulations and mandates that have rendered the public schools a nightmare of cross applied and often contradictory goals and means. Enough!

A quick way to reform the system would simply hand parents a tuition voucher; in one fell swoop the public school monopoly would be ended! It goes without saying, however, that the public schools have been put in a "no win" situation and set-up for failure. In GA, with have a Republican school superintendent in love with the trappings of his public office and who has shown almost NO enthusiasm for dismantling his bureaucratic castle nor reducing even the state's stranglehold on education; a state Constitution mandating that local communities must "elect" BOE members; we have a timid governor, too, afraid to "bother" folks by changing things; and a brain-dead Congress that can only muster an "exemption" from NCLB, much less repeal the thing!

allhans
23524
Points
allhans 05/25/12 - 04:21 pm
0
0
Techfan..It is the education

Techfan..It is the education of the kids that are of concern..no need for off the wall comments.
Once..We had small neighborhood schools and the kids could brag about which was better.
@As long as I can remember, private schools have been here. My friends growing up atended Catholic schools, (My family couldn't afford the cost).

seenitB4
85358
Points
seenitB4 05/25/12 - 06:34 pm
0
0
Soapy

The proof is in the pudding....:)

DuhJudge
206
Points
DuhJudge 05/25/12 - 06:38 pm
0
0
No... it's cheese.

No... it's cheese.

DuhJudge
206
Points
DuhJudge 05/25/12 - 06:48 pm
0
0
School is a great platform

School is a great platform for jumping off into the future. Some belly flop into the shallow end and some swan dive into the deep end. Problem is they didn't learn how to swim first. Give me those that can swim fast and straight, and I will teach them how to dive.

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