As I am working to restore the republic by dismantling public education I find many parents and teachers that are furious with our public education system. Most want to simply reform the system. I would caution them that the likelihood of success at reforming the system is small. Reformers have been working at it for half a century without much success. I would liken it to reforming federal spending. It’s too big. We’ve passed the tipping point. There are too many powerful entrenched interests opposing them including big government progressives, big union bosses and giant corporate moguls. They have billions of dollars to spend. I want people to consider a radical solution that could be achieved outside the normal political processes. It involves your choice in the limited time that may be available. I want to address the most common objections I hear to privatization.
“It would be impossible to accomplish.” True, through normal political/ legislative processes. Maybe not as impossible as overturning Common Core! The entire funding system is based upon daily attendance. A sizeable boycott (25%+) would bankrupt many school districts, thus forcing legislative relief which would trigger the debate. A large scale boycott would make enforcement of truancy laws impossible. Social media can be exploited to enable a boycott to go viral. Parents would not have to make immediate alternative plans. You could say that you were home schooling, do it in the evening or work with other parents. A viral boycott could shut the system down within a few months. There would be a transition phase where private alternatives would arise. There would be thousands of teachers seeking employment. There would be empty real estate available for lease at bargain prices.
I hear this objection: “Most people do not or cannot home school and cannot afford private school. What would happen to poor and inner city children?” Federal and state income and sales taxes could be reduced by eliminating education spending. Education spending is the largest budget item in most states. Total taxpayer investment in K-12 education in the United States for the 2004-05 school year is estimated to be $536 billion. Most property taxes could be cut by 60 – 75%. See: http://febp.newamerica.net/background-analysis/school-finance
“Federal K-12 education spending—including spending in the Department of Education and other departments—has increased rapidly. Spending jumped from $12.5 billion in 1965 to $72.8 billion in 2008—a more than five-fold increase.”
As property taxes are reduced, housing expense will be reduced. Even landlords are subject to competition. This would help pay for private education or make it possible for one parent to stay home to home school. The cost/ pupil in private education is less than a public education now. As competition and choice increased, private education costs would likely decline. Private schools and charities could offer scholarships for poor children who are committed to learning. Typically, especially in inner city schools, a number of students disrupt the learning environment because they have no interest in being educated and parents are either absent or disinterested. Too many kids aspire to a life of crime or dependency. Teachers and schools spend a disproportionate amount of time and money attempting to control/ educate these students to the detriment of other students. The success rate with these students is low. Many aspire to a life of crime and that is where many end up anyway. After all of the time and expense a large proportion of these end up incarcerated or on public assistance. In a private school, disruptive students and uncooperative parents would be expelled. We really don’t have much to lose by letting many of these kids go. Perhaps some will wise up through the school of hard knocks.
I hear teachers say that they would suffer pay reductions and many good quality teachers would quit. Teacher pay reductions would probably be temporary. As the number of private schools expanded dramatically, demand for quality teachers would increase proportionally. In a private environment teacher pay would be based more on performance than seniority. Privatization would eliminate much of the dead wood in the teacher corps. Teacher performance would be evaluated more by the teacher’s direct supervisor rather than some nameless bureaucrat and it would not be based upon some bogus standardized test. With reduced class sizes and fewer disruptive students, teachers would be able to focus on teaching. The job experience would be much more enjoyable. With privatization, there would be much more diversity in styles of teaching and curriculum as different schools sought to carve out their own niche. Teachers would have more of a say in developing curriculum and teaching methods. Teaching would be a more rewarding career in more ways than just money. Too many teachers today are burned out because of the system they are forced to work under. 10 years x $100,000. = $1,000,000. 25 years x $75,000. = $1,875,000.
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