Educated citizens are without doubt the key to America’s prosperity and growth. Yet government run public schools have produced meager results. This despite the near monopoly they have had on educating America’s children for at least one hundred years.
America can do better. Charter schools and limited school choice have produced some positive change. But to create dramatic change our free enterprise system must be used to produce universal school choice.
Teachers unions and the Democrat party, a redundancy, has been in charge of most public schools in America since 1916. And despite spending trillions, these schools have not improved. Charter schools operating with fewer rules in exchange for being private units have begun as a partial answer to the problem. But they have been limited by the small number of charters granted by each state despite the fact that the demand for a seat in them by thousands of parents has been nothing short of stunning. Particularly in poor minority areas with poor schools.
Allowing ALL parents to choose the school for their children should be America’s focus. The concept should be a no brainer. In our free enterprise system 320 million American consumers are allowed to buy virtually anything legal, whether it be a cell phone, a computer, a shirt or a dress. Cell phones have become better and better and less and less expensive as consumers have made their choices among competing products. Why not employ this free enterprise system to deliver a product called an exceptional education.
It would work as follows . . .
Federal government involvement would be eliminated by eliminating the Department of Education. Its fifty billion of funding would be distributed in block grants to the states to use as each saw fit. Teachers unions would be made illegal. Why should employees paid by the taxpayer be allowed to strike anyway?
Each state would give each student a voucher in an amount determined by that state. Each student could use his or her voucher at a private school or a new company formed to be in the sole business of educating students which I call an Educo. A good public school that had been privatized could meet this model also.
Each state could determine the base level of education which would include a strong dose of math, science and history the result of which would be more and better jobs and good citizens. Audits of all schools should and likely would be done randomly by each state to determine that this base level of education was being provided to students. Those not doing so would be required to return voucher funds.
In a short period of time in our consumer driven free enterprise system those providing children with a good education tailored to each student’s needs would expand and thrive and those which did not would disappear.
Yet some will argue that those students whose parents were not involved would receive poor or no education. That argument is false. Where profit is involved business would adapt and conceivably would provide buses to poor areas, provide a breakfast to the children and maybe ice cream after school for good results. In any event, each state could adjust voucher amounts to properly provide for the needs of all children.
In all likelihood Educos would hire great teachers, reduce costs through research and development and with the use of the latest technology would become more and more creative in educating each of our children. And unlike our present public school monopoly each would know that it must beat the competition to stay in business.
Teachers would be hired for their ability to teach: To produce the result of a good education. The skill of each would be maximized and improved daily as they would be given great flexibility in how they taught. The one size fits all method currently in use would not do. The great ones would become rock stars earning six figures as their value to each parent became known.
The use of technology would allow great flexibility in teaching. Rather than one size fits all, technology would optimize development of an education in the effective laboratories of fifty states. The best processes would of course be copied. And as the bureaucracy would be virtually eliminated all time would be devoted to teaching.
As a condition of vouchers being redeemable each school would be required post the results of any proper evaluation of their process on line. Good results would quickly become apparent to consumers who would make their decisions accordingly. Private evaluators such as Consumer Reports or others such as it would spring up and provide unbiased evaluations of each school and its processes.
. . . America’s education system has been on a downhill slide for many years. Future voters must be educated to the extent that they can make intelligent judgments about whom to vote for or we will not be able to maintain the freedoms we enjoy.