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There is little dispute that education is a constant crisis issue.  Talk to any teacher and they’ll tell you the same nightmare of constant testing and very little learning.  Students are not allowed the fail, and if they dare, the blame is on the school or teacher.  Nevermind the lack of parental involvement and truency.

But when budgets get tight and cuts are proposed, the teacher’s unions won’t have it.  Unwillingness to tighten their belts like everyone else aside, the layers of administration are often the real fiscal drain.  And the higher up, the less justifiable the waste.

So get rid of the [[U.S. Department of Education]].

Yes, you heard me, and I mean do it yesterday.  It didn’t always exist.  In fact, the overall quality of education has DECLINED since the creation of the federal Department of Education.  Would schools lose funding?  Not really, since the feds are funded by the states, taking more in taxes to give it back … less additional administrative costs. Handling it directly is part of the solution of trimming unnecessary layers of bureaucracy.

But it’s more than just about efficiency.  It’s about addressing real students in real communities.  I say education can only be improved from the bottom up, not the top down.  Don’t think so?  With less higher government micromanagement based on heaps of statistics that do not reflect individual community needs, how could it possibly be worse?

Like everything else in the nation, we need solutions that do NOT involve the “leverage” of big government throwing our money up in the air and hoping someone drops it back down to where it needs to be. I think the track record in all aspects of our lives is quite defensible toward this point.

A solution already in front of us

In fixing education there are in the end two things that cannot be ignored: quality control and funding.  It’s easy to confuse the two. Even if the latter can be forced to exist by legislationd, the former cannot. The only time quality control can be assured is if free market principles are strengthened (private education being allowed to compete on an even field with public) and then let competition weed out bad schools and practices.

Is this whole idea theoretical? Not at all. Just look at all the people who already decide where to live based on the quality of their municipality’s public schools. It’s ridiculous!  De-segregation busing?  Unacceptable.  But here’s the fact that brings it all together:

Overall, PRIVATE schools pay their teachers less, have smaller budgets per capita, and in spite of being beaten down by excessive state-mandated testing, perform better. You can look at pilot programs and other practices that aren’t “kosher”, but I’m talking about the average public school where literacy by the time of high school graduation is optional. If that DID ever happen in a private school, people wouldn’t have to move away to get better, or raise taxes in the hope it wouldn’t be wasted on an indoor heated Olympic-sized swimming pool or covering the union’s fees that get fed back to the politician’s next election campaign.

Schools should be allowed to compete — and even sometimes close — according to the choice of the people, currently held captive by their school district boundaries.

My position isn’t giving up on the kids in public schools. It is that we allow the survival of the best teachers and practices — and have government get out of the teacher’s way to meet community and individual needs.