American Elephants

To Fix The Schools You Have To Stop the Machine! by The Elephant's Child

One constant theme on the campaign trail is always education. People care deeply about the education their kids are getting, and about education in general.  Often, people think education in general is dreadful, but are fond of their own school.

That gets into the “likeability factor” where you think your kid’s teacher is really nice, but don’t really have all that much information about what your kids are really learning. As a parent, I am sure I have communicated the really important things , but then the subject comes up and you discover they are clueless. I believe I have just suggested a big reason for home schooling.

International test scores show that our kids are not doing well, as does any trip to a fast-food place. There’s a reason why cash registers total everything for the clerk and tell them how much change to give back. They have enough trouble figuring out how many of which coins you need to make 39¢.

Everybody has an opinion about education. We have all experienced something close to 12 years of schooling at least, so we have first hand knowledge. and if we have become parents and sent our own children off the school, we are apt to be opinionated. Politicians are clear. The answer is to spend more money on education.

Stanford economist Eric Hanushek as shown that better-educated students contribute substantially to economic growth. If U.S. students could catch up with the math performance of their Canadian counterparts, it would add roughly $70 trillion to the U.S. economy over the next 80 years.

Obama wants an army of new teachers, and a federal government curriculum, and federal control. My response is easy: 1) Washington DC schools are usually rated as the worst in the country— and the capitol city spends $30,000 per pupil.  2) Since 1970, the public school workforce has doubled, to 5.4 million from 3.3 million, and two-thirds of those new hires are teachers or teachers’ aides. Enrollment over the same period has grown only 8.5 %. Employment has grown 11 times faster than enrollment. We have too many teachers.

You know what the problem is. We all know. Republicans want to encourage charter schools (which are public schools) but the innovation underway will change schools as we know them anyway, and that’s online education. Long way to go, but the potential is clearly there.

As David Gelernter says:

Where is the politician who’s willing to say that this nation demands public schools and public colleges without political bias, without anti-American bias, without anti-Jewish or anti-Christian bias? That this nation demands public schools and colleges whose first mission is to produce patriotic American citizens, who know who they are — who know their own history and culture, the history and literature and culture of this country and this Western civilization that belongs to them, that will stand or fall based on their stewardship of the future?

We make a big deal about bigotry and bias in this nation, and it’s right we should; but it’s crazy to ignore the biggest bigotry engine in the nation today, the US Education Establishment — our school systems and text books and some — not all, but too many — of our school teachers and college professors.

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