Local Control of Education and Other Nonsense

I’m sure that a person who thinks the Federal Government should control education exists somewhere in the country, but most of us would not agree with that concept. Common sense tells us that there is a danger that a strong central government could use our educational system to brainwash our children. At the other end of the spectrum is the concept that parents should be solely responsible for their children’s education. I call this the copy machine concept since most parents would turn out a duplicate of themselves, education wise. The result of such a system would be absolutely no progress in our society since nothing would change from one generation to the next. For those of you who like to argue, there may be children who have more potential than their parents, but those gains would be more than offset by the natural proclivity of other children to rebel and remain uneducated. This line of reasoning may also be extended to villages, hamlets, towns, cities and states though the larger the group, the less accurate it will be. A reasonable person, after reading and giving some thought to this argument, might conclude that more input than just a parent’s would be a good thing for a child’s education. Are you a reasonable person?

I’ve read a number of articles that state or imply that every child should be educated to go to college. The authors seem to feel that the country would be a far, far better place if that were to happen. I wonder if they’ve given any thought to what our lives would be like if every child did go to college. Neglecting the fact that not every child wants to go to college or is capable of doing so, who would pick up our trash and garbage? Who would fix our leaky faucets or build our houses? What about fixing our cars, our roads, scooping our ice cream, etc., etc. and so forth? My guess is that, if every child went to college, our society would collapse in a fortnight. Furthermore, I have friends whose children did go to college and, upon graduating, were unable to find jobs. Then, we might think about asking the children what they want. It’s unwise to force children to do something they don’t want to do and that works both ways. Recall the story of Robert Louis Stevenson whose teachers thought he wasn’t all that capable and wanted to curtail his education to make him a tradesman. What would our lives be like if we had no “Kidnapped” or “Treasure Island” or his beautiful poem, “Romance”? How much poorer we would all be. You may read about his feelings on the subject in his poignant poem, “I am a hunchback”. If his imagery doesn’t touch you, nothing will.

I live in a county that has about a half million inhabitants and forty school districts. Can you imagine the ratio of administrative to teaching expenses with that much overhead? A school is a relatively simple organization to run and there is little change from year to year. There is little difference between all elementary schools, all junior high schools and all high schools. If education were a business, it would go broke. Of course, education is not a business. It’s a collective duty, a responsibility and a necessity. That doesn’t mean we can’t apply sound business practices to administering it. Have we gone mad? It seems as if we go out of our way to maximize overhead costs and then complain about the teaching expenses. If that huge amount of overhead was pigeons, we’d all look like statues.

It seems that most of us are in agreement that education in the USA “just ain’t what it used to be ” (please excuse the English, it’s part of the punch line of my very favorite joke) or at all close to what it could be. The Federal Government, the states and assorted organizations are beginning to spend money to fix it. Their ideas are not all bad, but they haven’t thought the entire problem through. Their mistake, as I see it, is that no mechanism exists in our educational system to spread any ideas that turn out to be useful. Why not revamp the system first to take advantage of good ideas? Throwing money at the problem, without thought, that could be better used to teach our children, is just a waste. Those who administer education complain they lack funds, but they never run out of money to incarcerate children our educational system fails even though that costs more than a good education. Where I live, teachers are being forced to take days off without pay and the children lose that time. Necessary courses and activities are being cut, but is there really a shortage of funds or are we just wasting what we have? Common sense where art thou?

Well, it’s easy to find fault and criticize, but I also have solutions that may be viewed on the website, below. Educating our children, who are the most precious natural resource this country has, is the most important job we must do because they have to govern when we die. This was the greatest country ever to appear on Starship Earth and I am ashamed that we all don’t pull together to better prepare our children for the future.

Aaron Rosen
President, The American Revolution Now

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