THE VISION: People can only govern themselves if they are well educated in the principles of liberty and given the tools to provide for themselves and their families. “Enlighten the people, generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like spirits at the dawn of day,” wrote Thomas Jefferson.
The 2010 documentary Waiting for Superman tells the story of students, parents, and educators “trying to find real and lasting solutions within a dysfunctional system.” The film, while not providing for specific remedies, has inspired many to pay attention to the school choice debate by showing the serious flaws of education in America.
THE PROBLEM: The stranglehold teachers’ unions have on our nation’s public schools has stifled success. Unfortunately, many would rather keep everyone down, at the same level, than encourage success wherever possible. But, as Booker T. Washington wrote, “One man cannot hold another man down in the ditch without remaining down in the ditch with him.”
Breakdown of Nuclear Family Increased Educational Problems in America
Victor Davis Hanson writes that America’s “epidemic of ignorance” arises not only from problems within the educational establishment but also the “disintegration of the American family.”
Read it here! (about 1.5 pages/850 words)
Feds Spend 12 Times as Much on Public School Turnarounds Than Charter Schools–Despite Poor Results
An analysis by Education Gadfly showed that charter schools in poor areas are four times more likely to succeed as the local district school. Yet still the federal government spends 12 times as much on turning around failing district schools than on charters.
Read about it here! (about 1 page/600 words)
What If It’s the Kids and Parents–and Not the Teachers–Who Are Failing?
Diane Ravitch writes that if parents do not drive students to succeed, they will not flourish academically, no matter how hard their teachers’ try.
Read her perspective here! (about 1.5 pages/700 words)
NAACP Official: Charter School Parents Doing the ‘Business of Slave Masters’
School reform becomes difficult when entrenched special interests slap nasty labels on those with whom they disagree. In Harlem, African American parents who support charter schools were castigated as tools of slave masters–all because they want their children to be well educated.
Read about it here! (about a quarter page/170 words)
96% of Americans Underestimate Teacher Salaries, Demand More Spending
Many people assume that by throwing more money at education, problems will be solved. Yet usually the districts with the highest per pupil spending have the worst performance. What’s worse, most people, underestimate school spending, and, falling prey to the teachers’ unions sob stories, the public generally supports more funding for failing schools.
Read about it here! (about 1.5 pages/650 words)
WORKING TOWARD SOLUTIONS: We need to open our nation’s schools to the innovation of America’s entrepreneurs. Through school choice, charter schools, and enterprising private sector solutions, we can find better, more effective models for educating future generations.
School Choice is Catching On
“No fewer than 3 states have enacted school choice legislation in 2011, and 28 states have legislation pending,” writes the Wall Street Journal editorial board. Free market concepts, spurring innovation and excellence, are starting to take hold when it comes to educating the nation’s children.
Read about it here! (about one page/600 words)
NJ Gov. Christie: Teachers’ Union is About Accumulation of Raw Power
New Jersey’s governor has boldly stood up to the teachers’ unions in a way that few have, calling them out for not actually helping kids, and even for harming teachers. The unions collects $734 per year from every member teacher in the state; but even if teachers opt out, they still must pay 85 percent of that fee–giving $130 million a year to the union.
Watch Gov. Christie explain this here! (4 minutes, 40 seconds)
Foster: No Child left Behind Should Be No Child Moved Ahead Before His Time
Foster says it’s essential that slower students are held back, rather than shuffled along to the next level. And in an innovative twist, he says learning periods should be shorter.
Read about it here! (about a quarter page/110 words)
Multi-Grade Education Model Shows Great Benefits
At the Governor French Academy in Belleville, Illinois, students are grouped not by age but by their development and needs. And the academy is a success. Imagine if a hospital operated the way a school does? Shouldn’t education be tailored to individual needs?
Read about the Academy’s approach here! (about one page/600 words)
Non-union Catholic School Model Would Raise Graduation Rates
Prominent businessman Stephen A. Schwarzman says that the “competitiveness” of the United States could be significantly improved if the Catholic school model were instituted throughout the U.S. Why? In large part, because their teachers are nonunion, and bad ones can be fired.
Read about it here! (about 1.5 pages/830 words)
School Reform is Tough, But Private-Public Partnerships are Working
The best way to improve American education might be to avoid the traditional public school system, and to focus on creating innovative private-public partnerships. In particular, schools need the ability to hire, fire, and pay teachers based on merit.
Read about it here! (about 1.5 pages/870 words)