Friday, July 09, 2010

Politics and Education don't seem to mix

Maybe the answer to the problem with education in America today is a complete separation of education and state. What do you think?

Too often children suffer from meddling politicians and hundreds of special interest groups. For example it is almost impossible to fire a bad teacher, once they have tenure.

The education debacle of the decade is yet another example of the problem of having the government involved in education. Dan Ewing writes about a study in DC on the effect of vouchers. The study found there were huge improvements:

Previous studies by Wolf showed an improvement in academic performance, to the point that a student participating in OSP from kindergarten through high school would likely be 2 ½ years ahead in reading. The key finding in this final round of research, Wolf told us, was the graduation rates. OSP dramatically increases prospects of high-school graduation.
Wolf pointed to research showing that high-school diplomas significantly improve the chance of getting a job. And dropouts that do find employment earn about $8,500 less per year than their counterpoints with diplomas. Further, each graduate reduces the cost of crime by a stunning $112,000. Cecelia Rouse, an economic advisor to President Obama, found that each additional high school graduate saves the country $260,000.
Simply put, OSP has a profoundly positive effect not just on students, but on the city and the country as a whole.
So when it came time for Congress to reauthorize OSP, it would seem to be a no-brainer: Expand the program.
Instead, they killed it.


Read the last line again, they killed the program. It was effective. The children improved. It was cheaper. The government was saving money. Yet they killed the program.

Later in the column Bob Ewing explains:

Why did this happen? According to former DC Mayor Anthony Williams and former DC Councilman Kevin Chavous (both Democrats), the answer is politics at its worst.
Williams and Chavous co-authored an op-ed arguing that politicians opposing OSP “are largely fueled by special-interest groups that are more dedicated to the adults working in the education system than to making certain every child is properly educated.”
The editorial board of the Washington Post put it a little more bluntly:
It’s clear, though, from how the destruction of the [OSP] program is being orchestrated, that issues such as parents’ needs, student performance and program effectiveness don’t matter next to the political demands of teachers’ unions.


I think as long as the Federal government has so much control and influence on the public schools things won't change. It is too hard for parents to have much influence on the local schools. Paid bureaucrates have plenty of time to stonewall parents who have many demands on their time.

I thinka complete separation of the federal government from public education would be a huge improvement. But I don't think it will happen, maybe ever.

So I am so glad homeschooling is an option.

(Hat tip: Instapundit)

Technorati tags: homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, parenting, children, education, government schools, children, public school, public education


Bolder Tutor said...

Happy and lucky. Unfortunately there are many rules to homeschooling and in some states it makes it very restrictive for some families. Also, I am sure you have heard of the calls for elimination of homeschooling at the federal level.
I go agree though, the communities need to take back the schools and the federal government needs to butt out. That sounds like a call for the elimination of the DOE. Actually, there was an article in Newsweek about the money waste last month and I personally wrote about it on my blog, under the title of "School Reform." It is sad when they eliminate program that work, but unfortunately I think it will continue in the current political environment.

Eric Holcombe said...

Washington DC schools are the existing pilot program for totally federally-controlled public education. They are an abject failure. Now with the so-called Common Core State Standards pushed from the feds, the entire country will be following their lead.