“Educate and inform the whole mass of the people… They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.” – Thomas Jefferson
From the founding of our nation, education was viewed as paramount to our success. Educating our citizens is how we pursue happiness, and we are right to provide a quality education opportunity for all of our children. But is the way we are doing it the best way? Have we learned anything from the results of our heading, and can we glean anything from the results of others? We have limited resources with which to work, it is what forces you and I to strive for the best answer, so I ask you, what do you think? If We the People were to, this very day, choose what our education system would be, would we choose the one we have?
“However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.” – Winston Churchill
We the People can do better than a state education system. Although education should be government funded and state regulated, I believe it should be administered by private enterprise. Government employees, given a universal teaching curriculum, chartered to use the majority of our limited resources to try to motivate our unmotivated, is no way for Us to reach our potential… in my opinion, there is a much better way.
“Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.” – Thomas Jefferson
Everyone should have an opportunity to excel in this life and education is critical to do so. But not everyone is guaranteed to succeed. Such a thought runs counter to what America aspires to be. Children will be left behind if kids don’t care to study or apply themselves, if parents don’t encourage their schooling, or if ineffective teachers are allowed to stay in the school system due to tenure. A system that works under a monopoly loses to one allowed to innovate, one that must appeal to the consumer, one that strives to see if it can find a better way… and our education system is no different. We cannot, nor should we attempt to, try to overcome this fact.
In my opinion, our education system will continue to deteriorate until we re-apply the proper Vision for America. Dec 28, 2011 Huffington Post headlined “U.S. Falls In World Education Rankings, Rated ‘Average’.” But then it goes on to suggest that more money injected into our public system is the answer. No, that is a mis-diagnosis of the cause. The problem is not the amount of funding we inject into our public school system, it is the notion of a non-competitive government run school system and an ideology of “No Child Left Behind.”
“The problem is not that people are taxed too little, the problem is that government spends too much.” – Ronald Reagan
Instead, we should recognize that a public program with little to no competition which shifts focus to try to ensure none of our children “fail,” becomes a failing program that challenges few of our children to excel. Our education system should strive to bring the best out of everyone, and to do that, we should encourage private enterprise, charter schools, and public schools to compete, display their results, and allow guardians to decide where they will send their children.
This is my recommended course for our future Education – we replace the notion of “No Child Left Behind” and the idea of government schooling with an education system that is publicly funded and private-industry driven. I propose universal Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) provided to guardians of all school-aged children. One failure of the year’s standardized advancement exam will require the student and guardian to attend summer counseling aimed at changing their heading. Two consecutive failures of the year’s standardized advancement exam will dis-enroll a child from the program and require the guardian to appeal for re-admission before receiving any further public funding. At this juncture, students and guardians should consider Trade schools or work skills training as a viable alternative to traditional education systems.
We the People should learn from the results of our Education system, change course, admit that not every child is destined for college, and maximize the return of our education tax dollars. Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) could be funded through current taxes and cost savings as government education programs disestablish and public schools transition to private ones. Private industry provides educational services and the government’s role is only to:
2. Distribute revenue to citizens via Education Savings Accounts.
3. Determine ESA expendable services (qualifying schools, tutoring, etc).
Guardians whose children passed the year’s standardized advancement exam would receive another year’s allotment into their child’s ESA — this would allow Home schooling parents some well deserved compensation and recognition for their efforts, as well as encourage all of us to strive to find the best school at the cheapest price – to be good stewards of our tax dollars.
These are the principles that made our country great, and these are the principles to which we must return. America is much better served with an education system that rewards success in education and encourages competition than it is with a publicly funded and state run program that breeds inefficiency and is slow to adapt in our ever changing world. The world’s private school statistics show this to be true, we need to simply muster the courage, strength, and discipline to usher in change.