Tag Archives: Charter Schools

Research Consistently Shows School Choice a “Win” for Kids, Public Education

Abandoned elementary school

INDIANAPOLIS, April 17, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — As school choice continues to blossom nationwide, a new report finds that of all the “gold standard” research on children who utilize vouchers, 11 of 12 studies conclude all or some of those students achieve better educational outcomes. No study found choice participants were worse off than those remaining in traditional public schools.

The report also found that of the 23 empirical studies on how school choice impacts public education, 22 show the resulting competition improved public school performance. No research concluded school choice harms public schools.

“A Win-Win Solution: The Empirical Evidence on School Choice”—released by the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice—also reviewed empirical research related to school choice’s impact on taxpayers, diversity, and civic values. That research consistently supports school choice in those areas.

“A Win-Win Solution” examines studies on school choice conducted by scholars at research institutions including the University of Arkansas, Harvard University, the Federal Reserve Bank, Stanford University, and Cornell University.

“Despite decades of carping by skeptics, vouchers and school choice in any form are a win-win for children—whether they attend private school or remain in a public school affected by school choice,” saidRobert Enlow, president and CEO of the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. “Competition works in all segments of our society, and it certainly helps children when they’re permitted to attend a school that fits their needs.”

According to the Friedman Foundation report, seven of the eight existing studies on racial segregation found giving parents educational freedom moves students into more integrated schools. All six of the studies on how school choice affects public finances conclude it saves taxpayers money.

In addition, the report cites the seven empirical studies on civic values, five of which show that school choice strengthens students’ commitment to democratic principles, while two found no visible impact. No research found school choice adversely impacts diversity, taxpayers, or civic values.

“This research on school choice far exceeds the research on any other education reform,” said Greg Forster, author of the report and senior fellow with the Friedman Foundation. “School choice has a strong track record in how it affects students, public schools, taxpayers, diversity, and civic values. Seeing its impressive record with small programs, there is good reason to believe broader school choice programs would produce better results, and on a much larger scale.”

There are 41 school choice programs in 22 states and Washington, D.C. Among those programs, the most prominent are vouchers and tax-credit scholarships, which are serving more than 250,000 students. School choice has exhibited continual growth since 1990, when the nation’s first modern voucher program launched in Milwaukee. In the past two years, five new states have adopted private school choice while other states, most notably Indiana and Louisiana, expanded existing programs.

Stossel on Freedom in Education

stossel-reason-tv

“It shows how horrible things were, that it took this long for this eminently sensible thing to happen”

Stossel made a speech at Reason Weekend 2012, Reason Foundation’s annual donor event, about the successes of freedom in education. He talked about trying to update his 20/20 special, “Stupid in America,” and not being able to do it, visiting Harlem schools full of kids ready to learn and why libertarians oppose a single payer system in health-care but cheer it in education.

Proving the Slippery Slope

“It’s a slippery slope” – yeah .. that one. What if instead of a cliche, it were proved to exist – that slope of slip?

The Obama administration is still working out their strategy against the 1st amendment – more specifically the freedom of religion. They first tried to force Catholic churches, schools and facilities to pay for “contraceptive services”. That would first include birth control pills – but could easily be expanded to force the church to pay for plan B pills and even abortions. All of these are in direct opposition to the church’s teachings.

While Obama has pretended to back off the contraception ruling by allowing churches an exemption, he would still force their insurance companies to pay for services that the church is against. How is that more-aligned to the religious beliefs of the Catholic faithful? Anyone that believes Obama has given in or negotiated is believing the hype instead of analyzing the situation. He has simply found the spot at the top of the slippery slope that most Americans would accept.

Pre-born babies aren’t the only targets of the most oppressive regime in American history – now Obama is after the highly successful teachers at charter schools in an attempt to kill these non-union, non-NEA and very successful competitors to the failing schools system that the President firmly supports.

If we let Obama beat down the best teachers who have been attracted to a  better system of education and we let him suppress the beliefs of a large swath of Americans – who is to blame?

These are the issues that we must consider in the ballot box. These are the issues that every American must remind their members of Congress that they are upset with.

If you have not written your member of Congress about either – you are letting the government into increasingly personal parts of your life. Perhaps contraception of charter schools aren’t a big issue for you, but if you don’t fight this, it will not be long until the government goes after that which you hold dear. This is the line that must be held – the line at the edge of a very slippery slope indeed.

here’s how you find your member of Congres:

Just enter your zip code and email, call, write, protest.

Obama’s IRS to Target Charter Schools?

The last two weeks have been filled with stories of the Obama administration’s attack on religious organizations by forcing them to perform and/or pay for activities that are in direct opposition to their core beliefs. Now, it appears that the Obama administration is  targeting charter schools.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is challenging whether charter school teachers (typically non-unionized and unaffiliated with the NEA) should be eligible for state retirement plans – the same plans they have been contributing to for years.

Charter schools are public schools, but they work outside the typical NEA and union framework. They do receive taxpayer money, but there are some differences that the IRS is targeting. If the IRS is successful, it could force teachers into lower-performing traditional public schools over the new-era charter platform.

The Washintgon Times reported:

The proposed change would establish five criteria for determining eligibility in state retirement plans, the most troublesome of which, from the point of view of whether charter school teachers could participate, is a provision stating that “the governing officers either are appointed by state officials or publicly elected.” Another condition is that a government body must be responsible for all the debt a participating institution accumulates.

First, having a government official responsible for debt is the worst possible scenario an American tax payer can imagine. The inability of centralized government to manage tax payer funds has been documented over… and over… and over .. and.. well you get the point.

Second, the Internal Revenue Service is under President Obama by way of the department of the Treasury run by Mr. Timothy Geithner – yeah.. that guy. Geithner has been recently concerned over whether or not he would have a job should Barack Obama get re-elected and suddenly .. a new ruling more in-line with teacher’s unions than with the desires of American families.

Charter schools are steadily proving more effective than traditional schools by a wide margin. So much so that parents are having to put their kids into lotteries to hopefully gain entrance into the better schools.

Charter schools concentrate their funds on education. Some don’t offer bus service or spend money on extravagances such as cafeterias or theaters and the staff that must work those areas. That means more money for teachers and more time in the classroom.

The NEA is firmly against charter schools as are public sector unions. Both serve as special interest groups and lobby the administration – it would appear that special interests are more important than the will of the individual and  families – much like Obama’s recent oppressive attack on religious organizations in his attempt to get free contraception for all.

Charter schools are a mixed government and free-market alternative. They consistently out-perform full-public managed institutions and the big-government education groups are working to destroy them. Parents that have used them must organize against this overstep of government and special interest in order to preserve better choices for their children’s education.

Governor Scott Signs Legislation to Strengthen, Expand Charter and Virtual Schools

Orlando, Fla. – Keeping his promise to make Florida the state with the best-educated workforce, Governor Rick Scott today visited Hope Charter School in Ocoee to highlight education reforms that expand and strengthen charter and virtual schools and increase scholarship opportunities that empower parents to choose schools best suited to student needs. Later today, Governor Scott will visit St. Petersburg Christian School and charter school North Broward Academy of Excellence.

While visiting, Governor Scott discussed how parents best understand their children’s needs and should have the right to choose the schools that meet those needs.

“One of the critical components of creating jobs and turning Florida’s economy around is to make sure our state has the best educated workforce, ready to work in our 21st century economy,” Governor Scott said. “The legislation I sign today moves our state closer to having world-class schools that graduate students ready for those jobs.”

Earlier this year, the first bill Governor Scott signed into law was the Student Success Act. It empowers principals to keep the best teachers and use merit pay to compensate them more, while also replacing low-performing teachers.

“Florida will now be able to recruit and retain the best educators for our schools,” Governor Scott said. “Children should not be locked into going to a failing school just because of where they live, and families should have the right to choose an education best suited to their children.”

The bills Governor Scott highlighted today are as follows:

  • · Senate Bill 1546, Charter Schools – Charter schools will now have the opportunity to duplicate their success and grow to serve more students. Charter schools that earn an “A” twice in three years have the opportunity to earn a “high-performing” status, so they can increase enrollment and open more schools.
  • · House Bill 7197. Virtual Education – Expands the Florida Virtual School to offer full-time instruction to K-12 students and part-time for grades 4-12. District virtual schools will be able to offer part-time instruction in grades 9-12 to more students. Charter schools can also now offer online instruction, either as a virtual charter school, or combined with traditional classroom learning.
  • · House Bill 1331, Opportunity Scholarships – This bill empowers parents to choose a better school for their students assigned to chronically low-performing schools. It expands the definition of a failing school from those that earn an “F” two years in a row, to those that earn two “Fs” in the past four years.
  • · House Bill 1329, McKay Scholarships – Students with special learning needs will be eligible for McKay Scholarships to attend private schools. Parents with children who receive specialized instructional plans must be notified every year of each student’s options, including the McKay Scholarship.
  • · House Bill 965, Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program –The tax credit scholarship program is updated to help encourage more businesses to participate in the program, thereby helping more students attend the school best suited to them.

Charter Schools: A First Impression

For the first four years of his schooling, my son has been in a traditional public schools. At first, we had considered private schools. We visited several and even applied to one, but we also took the time to interview the principal and tour the school.

Initial Experience With Traditional Public Schools

The principal during his first 3 years really ran the place as a student-focused, parent-friendly facility. Her door was always open, the faculty turn-over wasn’t an issue and we always felt welcome to come see our kids in their learning environment any time we liked.

We volunteered to help, my wife became the class Mom for both of our kids and I helped with events and such when I could. This school was more like the private schools we had visited than the public schools I remembered -until the principal changed.

When our School Turned Into a Real Traditional Public School

This last year, the school has been the proto-typical traditional public school. Parents are almost discouraged from being in the classroom, the principal is available by appointment only, faculty turn-over is nightmarish and it seems like little – if any – learning is happening in the classroom.

In the current school year, our son has had FOUR different teachers. His first two years he had one. Each new teacher brings a new style, different expectations and introduces instability into the classroom. Won’t the kids detach from the teacher if they think he or she will be somebody else in a few weeks or months?

We had become used to being the reinforcement mechanism in his first few years at that school. He would come home knowing a basic math or reading concept, have homework to do, and we’d help him with the tougher examples. This last year, he flat out told us that the teachers really didn’t explain how to do whatever the basic technique was so we had to first figure out what the teacher wanted him to learn by looking through the homework, then we would create a lesson, teach him, then help him with the homework. My wife and I are not educators and we may not be doing this as well as someone with all the right tools in their bag, but right now, those persons are doing a disservice to the children.

Our son gets great grades. It is expected of him. We help him whenever the need arises, that is expected of us. His current school is not living up to either his, nor our expectations and it became time to leave it behind – and we soon found that many other parents from this school were doing the exact same thing.

Getting Into a Charter School

During the year, we filed an application to a science-focused charter school. Our son loves math and science so between this or the performing arts charter school, this academy made the best sense.

We knew that if he didn’t get selected in the lottery (1,500 kids didn’t) we would be putting him in private school and cutting back some things at home to pay for it.

Last week we got the call – he’s in. We were invited to an introductory event at the school and we both attended leaving the kids with a baby sitter.

The first 5 minutes of the principals opening speech told us that this was the kind of learning experience we wanted for our children.

What is a Charter School

According to The Center for Education Reform a charter school is different that traditional schools in several ways:

  • Choice: Charter schools give families an opportunity to pick the school most suitable for their child’s educational well-being. Teachers choose to create and work at schools where they directly shape the best working and learning environment for their students and themselves. Likewise, charter sponsors choose to authorize schools that are likely to best serve the needs of the students in a particular community.
  • Accountability: Charter schools are judged on how well they meet the student achievement goals established by their charter contract. Charter schools must also show that they can perform according to rigorous fiscal and managerial standards. If a charter school cannot perform up to the established standards, it will be closed.
    Check out CER’s Accountability Report: Charter Schools for more.
  • Freedom: While charter schools must adhere to the same major laws and regulations as all other public schools, they are freed from the red tape that often diverts a school’s energy and resources away from educational excellence. Instead of constantly jumping through procedural hoops, charter school leaders can focus on setting and reaching high academic standards for their students.

The first bullet point, “choice”, I believe is the key. Because parents can choose to go to the charter school and also choose to leave it, the school can’t take a local population for granted. A charter school must be superior to surrounding traditional public schools to attract students – which is the only basis for the school’s funding.

Why We Chose a Charter School

The first few minutes of the principals speech told us almost everything we wanted to know.

  • Children are expected to exceed state requirements, not meet them
  • Students will be taught critical thinking skills so that they understand how to learn, not just what to learn
  • The curriculum is taught through projects. A goal-oriented approach to learning subject matter. A test is not the final objective of the learning experience.
  • Parents are expected to help out in the class room
    • as teacher’s assistant
    • as lunch monitors
    • on field trips
    • during events
  • The school does not take on costs that have nothing to do with learning
    • No buses
      • parents will have to work out their own transportation
    • No cafeteria
      • parents will have to make lunches for their kids (much different that those schools that won’t even allow homemade lunches)
  • The dress code reflects the real-world, professional work environment
    • No denim, sweats or athletic wear in the classroom
    • Shirts with collars are required
    • No tight-fitting clothes

Then the teachers spoke. They genuinely seemed to love teaching in this atmosphere. They feel supported by the parents, respected by the kids, and free to teach instead of jumping through bureaucratic hoops. We were also surprised to learn that the school actually had competitive athletics – championship caliber competitive athletics. Why wouldn’t we put our kids into this school?

The Compromises

Charter schools may not be for everyone. Having no taxpayer-supported busing system helps the school contain non-classroom costs, but working parents will have to figure out how to drop-off and pick-up their children or pay for before and after-school care provided by the school or another facility. The lack of a cafeteria may be an issue for some families as lunches will have to come from home. These and other expenses are distractions from actual learning and expenses that all schools don’t need to take on.  For some families it will be too much of a burden, for us, it’s a time cost that is well worth an education-focused learning facility. This also might explain why charter schools spend $4,000 per student less than traditional schools.

Summary

As we go through our first year, I’ll write from time-to-time to let you know how the experience has lived (or not) up to the expectations set by the staff.

We know why the NEA and teacher’s unions fight against these kinds of schools, now I hope to present the case for why we should each be fighting for them – by going into the system personally.

Out of the Frying Pan Into the Fire

 

Charter Schools Might Be Just as Scary as Public Schools

Today, I learned the hard way how easy it is to get caught up in something that you would want no part of. Thankfully I learned the full story before it was too late.

I am a mother of 5 with kids ranging from 3 to 9 years old and they attend public school- for now!

We have considered private school, but with four children already in school and another one that will be in school in 2 years, the cost of private school is just not a possible choice for us.

This has been an ongoing struggle of mine and my husband’s since our first child entered the public school system. We have contemplated home-schooling, and at one point we were very close to pulling them out of public school mid-year to make that a reality.

We also have considered charter schools. I became aware of the charter school option last year and began researching them. Unfortunately, I still had a lot of unanswered questions by the time school enrolled for this current year so we chose to keep them at their current school.

As the year has progressed we have had several situations come up that have once again left us knowing that we have to make some changes soon.

My husband and I have been praying desperately about what to do. Up until this point neither of us has received a clear answer to our prayers.

Since we are not involved in a church we want to make sure our children have a social outlet. If we do end up homeschooling I know that I will become a part of a homeschooling group so they can have social interaction with kids their own age.

In the midst of our frustration and continuous prayer- just two weeks ago- an “answer to prayer” presented itself through the mail. We received a mail-out about a charter school opening in our area. We read the literature and checked things out online. It seemed to be a very promising possibility! I filled out the online registration form for each of my school age children. We then left it all in God’s hands.

On Saturday I received a call inviting us to the open house which is for tonight. I accepted the invitation with much excitement and immediately called my husband, who was out running an errand. Things most certainly looked as though God was providing us an answer to our desperate prayers!

Now, let me back up just a bit for a couple of side-notes.

We have friends who enrolled their kids in a charter school right after the start of this school year. They, too, have had nothing but issue after issue with the public school system. If it was not one thing with one child, it was another thing with another child. She finally had enough, pulled her kids out of public school and immediately enrolled them into this charter school. She insisted that I should check this school out for my kids, knowing the ongoing issues and frustrations we are having as well.

The more questions I asked the more reservations I had. The principal of the school is Turkish. The school teaches the Turkish language as a foreign language. The school participates in the yearly Turkish Festival in Houston.

She and her previous husband were stationed in Turkey with the military several years ago, so she was very excited about this. Though I could give no concrete reason why, there was something that just did not set well with me after hearing all this information. No, I am not in any way racist against the Turkish people. It just seemed a bit odd to me that a charter school would be so focused on one specific nationality.  If it is about teaching diversity they are most certainly lacking in accomplishing that goal!

Just last week I happened to see a news article stating that the FBI was investigating US Charter Schools with Turkish links. I read the article and thought to myself, “Yep! I knew there was a reason why I was uncomfortable with that specific Charter School!”

I have not thought much about it since reading the article. I vaguely remember thinking that I wanted to tell my husband about it, because we both had reservations with the school our friends enrolled their kids in. As is normal with life, things got busy and it completely slipped my mind to discuss the article with him.

So, here we are back to today. The kids come home from school and I immediately start the shower line. With this many kids shower time has to be planned out.

All of the kids are showered and dressed and are working on homework. We are just waiting for the hands of the clock to tick away so we can leave for Open House. I’ve glanced at the clock a few times, hoping and praying that my husband can be home in time to go with us.

My telephone rings. It is my husband. Before I answer the phone I have a passing thought, “Don’t tell me he is going to be longer than is expected! I want him to go with us tonight!” I answer the phone, and his first words to me were, “We may have to rethink what we are going to do.” I asked him what he was referring to and he tells me that he’s been doing some deeper research into the Charter School after seeing the news article regarding the FBI Investigation. I slapped my forehead, frustrated because I have forgotten to tell him about it!

We began discussing the article and his further research, and it seems as though the new Charter School where we have an appointment is directly tied in with the organization that is being investigated by the FBI! He said he did not want to completely dismiss the idea, because in his research he saw a lot of conflicting reports. Some parents were not happy with the organization, many were extremely happy with it.

We decided that we would still go to check everything out but we would make no commitments until we processed everything, talked about it, and of course prayed about it, above all.

We ended our conversation so he could finish up what he was doing to head home.

As I began tidying up the counter, I picked up the weekly newspaper. My intention was to sort through the coupons, as is my weekly routine, browse quickly through the actual newspaper, and throw everything away that I don’t need. When I opened the newspaper up my heart literally began to race!

Right there on the front page was an article about the new school opening up! No, it was not an article exposing the school as one of the Turkish connected schools that is being investigated- it was simply an article about the ribbon cutting ceremony which is coming up this Friday and the fact that they are seeking more students. Near the end of the article it named the organization they were funded by- as well as funds from the taxpayers of the state of Texas!

I immediately went to the internet and did a quick search on the name of the organization- the Cosmos Foundation and here is what I found.

As I read the article at the above link discusses how there is a huge mystery surrounding the foundation, and the fact that when interviewing the superintendant of Harmony Schools more questions arose than were actually answered. The administrator being interviewed adamantly denied that neither the schools nor the organization have any ties with Fethullah Gulen or his movement which has long-term goal to create a “universal caliphate”.

It article also stated that there is “evidence that the Turkish administrators of Harmony are operating under the Islamic principle of taqiyya or “holy deception.” The administrators for this school system/organization have no problem LYING about who they are and who they are connected with! And yet we are supposed to believe him when he says there is no connection to the radical Gulen?

I am trying to teach my children to tell the TRUTH NO MATTER WHAT, and the administrators of the school I was considering sending them to have no problem with deception if it is defined by their beliefs as “holy” and fits their purpose! I am sure the “tolerant leftists” would urge me not to jump to conclusions! To these people I ask, “What in the world would make me believe they would actually tell me THE TRUTH!?”

Before I finished the article I called my husband back to tell him our plans for the evening had changed, that after seeing the article in the newspaper and doing further investigating there is no way on God’s green earth that I am going to expose my children to this!

Now, I am sure there are people that will read this and call me a racist, a bigot, a right-wing nut, a conspiracy theorist or any other derogatory term that is so often hurled around by the “tolerant leftists”. That is fine- call me what you will! However, last time I check, The United States of America is still a free country- at least at this time!  I have a choice on where my children go to school, whether it is public school, private school, a charter school or home school. If you choose to send your child to a charter school that is part of an organization that is being investigated by the FBI then that is your choice! I will not try to change your mind. You are free to make your choice, leave my choice for my children up to me!

I already have to counter-teach the secular humanism they are being taught in public school! Given the choice I would much rather have to teach against secular humanism than the strong possibility of having to teach against a religion that teaches that “god” instructs you to kill those who do not believe as you do and that it is ok to lie if it is a “holy lie”!

As a believer in Christ Jesus I know what The Bible teaches.  John 10:10 says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” If Islam/Muslims teach that you should kill those who do not believe as you do this is proof in and of itself that it is a religion straight from the thief- Satan- and the very pits of hell! My Jesus came that all that believe in Him will have life- eternal life- to the fullest! Given the choice I cannot imagine how anyone would actually choose to believe in something that seeks to steal, kill and destroy rather than give life abundant. However, millions of people still choose to believe the lies of this religion.

Now, for those who would choose to attack me by saying that not all Muslims are radical, and in fact, most Muslims are very peace loving people who do not believe in killing infidels, then I say that is fine. This is a free country and they have a choice to believe as they choose. I will not try to change their mind or pressure them or persuade them that my beliefs are right. That is not my job. Yes, I pray for these people, because again, The Bible is very clear that Jesus Christ is the ONLY Way, the ONLY  Truth, and the ONLY Life. No one… NO ONE- comes to The Father- God- except through Him- The Son. (John 14:6) But I know that there is nothing within my power to change someone’s beliefs. That is left to God and the person themselves, whether they choose to have an open mind and heart.

In the very depths of my heart I feel that we averted a crisis tonight. If we had moved our kids from public school to this charter school that is directly connected with the schools that are being investigated by the FBI I believe with every fiber of my being that we would have been jumping out of the frying pan into the fire. Yes, we still have another crisis of sorts to deal with. We know that public school is not the answer for our children. We know that we must make some very difficult decisions very soon. For now, our prayers and our search continue. We have reached a point where we know we have to make a change in our children’s education.

Parents, BEWARE! In your frustration with the state of our public school system I warn you to not allow desperation to take over. I believed that this was possibly an answer to our fervent prayers for a solution in our frustration with the public school system. Sometimes what we perceive as an answer from God very well could be from Satan.

One thing that I learned in my searching is that the taxpayers of Texas pay $41 million a year to this organization to run these charter schools. I also learned that Texas Congressman Randy Neugebauer- a Republican- supports these schools, and former President George W. Bush invited students from the Academy to The White House. And now the FBI is investigating them because these schools appear to be breeding grounds to accomplish Gulen’s goal of a universal caliphate!? Yet another reason why I do not trust a single one of our elected officials!

U.S. Education System Snobbish, Stuck in the 1950's

The American education system isn’t the envy of the world.  It’s not even the prize of  U.S. citizens who are becoming more disenchanted with the archaic system the longer it continues.  It is a fine example of why the government is not the answer to what ills us.

This is an open thread that starts with some ideas on how it might be improved.  The purpose of this thread is to connect the thoughts from as many contributors as I can into a single presentation.  Comments to this article (or email submissions if that’s more comfortable) will be combined into a single presentation.

Americans are growing angry over many things the government is failing to do.  One of those things is basic education.

The anger isn’t with the teachers – they work hard and teach what they’re asked to teach.  Parents aren’t always to blame as they vary from over-bearing “helicopter parents” to nearly non-existent.  But there is anger.  Anger at the system itself.  A system that graduates just 77% of it’s students from secondary education (high school), lower than most developed countries.  Though graduates can read,write, do math, and recite some really basic history, they don’t have any real life or job skills after 13 years in the system.

Kids don’t just drop-out due to grades, sometimes it’s due to feeling like school isn’t teaching them anything useful.  In many cases, they may be right.

There are numerous proposals to reform education by putting more money into higher-technology tools, paying for tutors, buying better books, etc.  Throwing money at the problem has always been the politician’s and administrator’s answer and it has never worked.

A set of reforms based on American values and understanding the individual could be put in place that would help all students, not just the ones that want to be doctors, lawyers or MBAs:

  1. Privatize more of the system and increase charter school caps (yes, government limits the number of charter schools).  This system is suffering from a lack of competition.  Everyone realizes that private schools tend to be better, but not everyone can afford them.  Charter schools compete for students and are on par with private schooling.  Perhaps all schools should compete for students (and therefor, education/tax dollars).  If the parents don’t feel their kids are being educated effectively, they should be able to move them.  Today’s draconian system of borders that dictate a child’s school by their address is a fundamental flaw.  The school will have students no matter how mediocre it is and therefor has little reason to excel – mediocre is good enough.
  2. Diversify the education ecosystem.   Not everyone is going to be the next President, and most don’t even want to.  High-schools should be more accommodating of students that want to work with their hands (industrial arts) and realize that not all students need or want so many courses to “round them out”.  Trade craft should not be lower on the totem pole.  The German system has a singular curriculum up until 5th grade at which point the students abilities, desires, and character will position them for one of three next level schools.  Maybe the German’s figured out what we haven’t: not all people are the same and not all should be taught the same things.   Even those that don’t make it to academic greatness have a chance at vocational greatness.  Not everyone wants an A in English lit, but everyone wants to be good at something.
  3. Teach real-life skills.  Spend more time discussing how to put a savings plan together, why borrowing too much is bad, how credit really works, taking care of finances, crafting a budget, buying a house, setting up a computer, maintaining a car, etc.  That way we don’t have to have the travesties of people losing their houses because they say they didn’t understand the contract or process.
  4. Teach the kids how to learn, not just what to learn.  The current model is focused on wrote memorization, probably to get the student ready for all the government tests the school needs them to pass
  5. Change the message: College is not the only acceptable path to success.  A brilliant electrician needs zero college to be successful and doesn’t need to feel subhuman because he doesn’t want to go or can’t afford to go.  A piece of paper does not make someone successful.  If the trade requires post-secondary education then so-be-it.  Doctors, lawyers, engineers and the like need something past high-school.  Colleges need to understand their purpose and refocus.
  6. College needs an overhaul.  The desire to balance the student has overtaken the need to ready the citizen.  If they are studying to be an aerospace engineer, that class in music history, archery, or modern basketry is useless.  They may wish to take it on their own, but making it mandatory is snobbery at it’s finest.  Most college degrees don’t prepare the student for their actual career much better than two or three well-written text books could.  Technical schools should be the focus, and perhaps public universities should refocus their schools around actual career needs.