Education in America, like everything else the government has gotten its hands on, is an inefficient, poorly run mess that needs to be fixed immediately. There are so many problems with it that I don’t even know where to start.
Our students, after being forced into government’s hands, aren’t learning the things relevant to become a successful adult in 2008. Students can’t add and subtract, let alone do any sort of division or work with fractions with proficiency. Basic social skills are neglected. History and politics are sloppily presented and really have no bearing on the current or future state of the nation. If the government was serious about fixing all the “bubbles” and other “issues” such as health care, obesity, and smoking, they would require classes that stressed good diet and exercise, properly managing your credit and finances, and (most importantly) at least one class on both micro and macroeconomics. The sad reality is that most of our politicians need a refresher in Econ101, with all the talk about “windfall profits” polluting the news lately.
So not only do I disagree with the school system as it is constructed, but I also disagree with the way things are done within that system. How can anyone question the government on claims of “price gouging” if they don’t know what the term actually means? Does anyone in a government educated classroom know the relationship of taxes and prices? Everyone is taught that “Big Business” is robbing them blind, pointing to the “outrageous” salaries of CEOs. I personally think CEOs in this country are underpaid, because of all the government-laid hoops and hurdles they have to overcome just to run a successful business that shows some real return to its investors.
We need to be taught to manage our lives efficiently if we are going to force education on our children. This means, as I stated above, that we need the basic core classes to teach the fundamentals to living a healthy, successful life in 2008 and beyond. If the students and/or parents reject or choose not to follow the plan, that is their choice, a choice that I will fight for. But if we are educating our children, let’s at least teach them the basics so they can have a fighting chance in the future. They need to learn things such as:
- Reading and writing, not just the basics but how to be proficient in both
- Math, same as above
- Science and the scientific method of thinking
- Sexual education, including the pros and cons of both abstinence and safe sex
- How to manage your personal finances (credit, mortgages, bills, budgeting)
- Basic Economics, mainly the law which never will go away, supply and demand
- Basic Social Skills
- History of America and the world
- Current politics, such as how the system works TODAY (might take a long time explaining how the system “works) and what both parties currently stand for
Now, I’m not really in favor of government run schools at all, but if the government is going to run them, it ought to do it right. Teachers unions need to be abolished. If you aren’t doing your job, which is a very important one to our country’s future, you don’t deserve to be teaching. This goes for new teachers as well as ones who have been around for 20+ years and who basically do what they want.
The best solution, as always, is a free market and competition. Instead of taxing people and then telling them where to go to school, why not take that money and give everyone an education credit, to be used at any school of your choosing for your children? The government can compete too, if it wants, but it would quickly lose out to the newer, more efficient schools competing for your dollars. Basically, if you want your kids to be able to function without the government always being there, then the free market can be your way out. The downsides to a free market in education, we are told, is that some would be left behind. The smart kids would all gather in schools while the others were all held back. Not only is that false, it is absurd. Isn’t that the way colleges work today? I did not apply to Harvard or Yale, because I knew that it wasn’t for me. Why should I hold others back who have the work ethic, intelligence, and foresight to attend those fine institutions?
Of course, this plan would go against the status quo of simply taxing us more and getting less, so it stands little chance of ever seeing the light of day. But it’s nice to dream of a day where we can get back to what made this country so damn appealing in the first place: Freedom of choice and liberty to do as we please without interfering and holding others back.