Can’t We Just Reform the Public Schools?

For 160 years now, school officials, politicians, activists, even parents have been tinkering with the public school system in an effort to reform it into something more in line with their ideas and ideologies. Of course, each person has a different idea of what he wants. The people with the most political clout get to have their reform ideas tried out.

We’ve tried small schools, big schools, new textbooks, computers, uniforms, special programs, more pre-school, bribing students to learn, threatening students if they won’t learn, paying students to tell on one another, drug awareness programs, teen pregnancy programs, family living classes, ever increasing funding, open classes, vo-tech schools, charter schools, zero-tolerance, high-stakes testing, additional education requirements for teachers, new schools, community service requirements, exit exams, business partnerships, and the list could go on and on and on.

Each new idea is promoted and ballyhooed, then quietly left by the wayside for some new and better reform─one that will really work this time. Like so many devotees to socialism, we think that if we just tweak it enough it will work. No amount of evidence to the contrary seems to dampen the spirits of reformers.

The system is sick at its coreIts foundation is corrupt─the idea that a government should control what, when and how its citizens learn, that it should have the power to force its agenda on the people it is supposed to serve, that as long as it says it’s doing it for our own good, we must submit, is 100% contrary to the principles of liberty, justice and equality.

People left the Old World for the New because they could not tolerate a government telling them what they were permitted to believe. People, even children, are no more tolerant of a government dictating what they should learn and think, how they should view the world, how much time they should spend on each “subject,” their every move and action. When a system endeavors to control people in such a manner, it can expect, like the old Soviet communist system, to meet with lethargy and resistance.

It is freedom that prompts people to soar, to learn, to invent, and create. Government compulsion promotes passive resistance, passive only until people realize their power and act on it. Children are most vulnerable. Their power lies in the hands of their parents. It is when their parents embrace their own authority and independence that the children will find hope.

We might give it a shot and try another 160 years, but how many more children are we willing to sacrifice for the cause?

Can’t We Just Reform the Public Schools? I Know a Lot of Good Teachers

Let’s start with the teachers, then we’ll address reform. There are lots of great teachers out there, all too many of them trapped in a system that prevents them from fulfilling their potential and their dreams. They’re bogged down with a mind-bending maze of paperwork, their hands are tied by curriculum rules and endless rounds of testing, unions advance many of the policies that make teachers’ jobs so difficult─the system works against them at every turn.

With the education system freed from the anchor of government that makes it so anti-progressive and uncreative, good teachers will find themselves not only liberated to truly teach but sought after by schools and parents. And they will find a variety of opportunities open to them that they could never have imagined.

We all know, of course, that there are also many teachers who should be working in other professions. They aren’t cut out for teaching, don’t really like it, and don’t care for working with children. A private educational system would free these people to pursue something that would be more suitable for them.