My understanding is that public education in many European countries is far superior to American public education (at least in terms of academics, if not values) for the simple reason that funding is attached to the child, not the school. The child’s parents decide where to send their kid – religious, secular or government-run schools – and academic institutions must therefore compete to attract students.
But in the U.S., funding is attached to the schools, who can then give a virtual middle finger to parents whenever they complain about what and how their children are taught. (And educators wonder why homeschooling has blossomed in the last decade.) Public schools can be unresponsive and uncaring to parental demands because they know parents have no choice but to send their children to school, unless parents make extreme sacrifices to send their children to private, church or home schools. Most parents can’t afford the time or money to take advantage of these options, so their kids become trapped in a system which is designed to do little more than turn them into drones of the state.
Parents are even prosecuted if they’re “caught” in the crime of sending their children to a different school district that may offer higher standards and better academics. This national desire to obtain the best available education for one’s children can and does affect household income, time management and even home purchases. In fact, one of the reasons behind the rising housing market in the early part of this decade was a desperate desire for parents to buy homes in good school districts, where the value of those homes skyrocketed. (I think it’s a safe assumption that homes in rotten school districts aren’t nearly as valuable.)
We have poured untold billions of dollars down the rat hole of government education and have accomplished far less than the one-room classes of Laura’s day. Of course in the “little schoolroom on the prairie,” the educators worked for the local community, and the teachers had to teach what the parents expected or they’d be fired. Like private enterprise, the product (education) had to meet the expectations of the customers (parents).
But when “education” becomes a powerful lobbying group and teachers become government employees, the status quo is viciously defended and other educational alternatives are belittled and sometimes even outlawed. (Source: WND)
Go to the source for an interesting and excellent analysis of why the public education system gets a big, fat “F”. Of course the teachers’ union and their government pals will continue to claim it’s all about the children.
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