Parents With Financial Control.
School Choice is already creating profound
competition-induced changes needed to give America's
children a world-class education now. When
parents, not the bureaucrats, direct taxpayer education
dollars, the schools improve.
Follow What Works.
In 1944 School Choice proved its ability to
produce results; the GI Bill succeeded in making
American colleges the envy of the world. People picked
their school in a competitive market, based on
enlightened self-interest. It worked! The best schools
flourished, education flourished. America vaulted ahead
of the world. Now, School Choice is in effect in
progressive countries around the world. Some form of
School Choice has been endorsed by nearly every
presidential candidate since the mid 1980's. But schools
are properly a STATE issue, and state politicians are
reluctant to upset the school monopoly - the largest
employer in nearly every state legislator's voting
The most important component of any School Choice plan
is that legislators may only mandate results. Let
the teachers decide how to exceed the goals. There
must be no big-brother dictation of how results
are accomplished, and no attempt to control the schools'
curriculum! Accreditation must only consider the
school's ability to produce students capable of passing
statewide competency tests prescribed by the
legislature. To be fair, and to encourage schools that
cater to exceptionalities, children with
exceptionalities must be rated on a scale that
challenges their full potential.
The State's main job should be to keep score so parents
and students can make decisions based on reliable
information and comparisons. Publicize results and
options (schools offering special programs, success with
certain exceptionalities, etc.).
Parents can judge the school's methods, and
whether a school is doing a good job and "vote with
their feet" based on results. The choice, for
example, of whether classes should be held in a
traditional school, an office building, or in a field,
should be up to teachers, not someone in the state
capitol. If teachers and principals make inappropriate
choices, parents can force corrections or leave. Even
the quirky and inefficient school building codes can be
Market forces do not react to pilot programs. Only a permanent
re-allocation of resources can prompt entrepreneurs to
turn buildings into innovative schools and develop staff
and curricula to meet the needs of today's students.
There is no need to "test" School Choice. That
is a blatant stalling tactic. It already works at the
college level, and has been successful in other
Private, And Religious Schools Equal.
The GI bill empowered the people (not an
education bureaucracy) to decide where to spend their
education dollars. There was no subsidy to favor or
disfavor any religious group. The subsidy favored the
student, avoids the specious "church/state
entanglement" argument, and has been OK'd by the
supreme court in four test cases.
Avoid New Formulas.
Start with the current per-child funding formulas (state
Educational Funding Plan). Make no attempts at social
Pay For Results.
In future years, revise the formula to one that is results-based
instead of cost-based. Look at our dismal International
Test Scores. There is nowhere to go but up.
Reject the notion that Choice should benefit poor people
disproportionately (that implementation requires a tax
return mechanism). If we use tax dollars to support
education, let's get over the specious class-warfare
arguments and fund ALL kids. That's not a new concept.
Rich kids currently benefit from government schools by
simply showing up. Nobody stands at the door turning
them away based on financial status.
Our government schools are the most expensive in the
world. Government buys all other types of services from
the private sector, why not education services? Private
& parochial schools nationwide get superior results
at half the cost. Make the initial credits worth
only 80% of what the government schools currently get.
This saves money from day one, leaving more for
remaining schools. Choice relieves overcrowding, and the
extremely high cost of new government school buildings.
Deposit directly to the student's account at the school
of their parent's choice on a monthly basis according to
attendance rolls (truancy begets no revenue). Don't
create vouchers people need to qualify for. Make it work
the way government schools get paid now - the money
simply follows the kids. Let outcomes determine whether
the money is wisely spent. When "bad" schools
fail to attract students, the financial loss to
taxpayers is minimal, more than offset by the benefit of
cleansing the system of a poorly performing school. This
is far less costly than the present system of throwing
more money at non-performing schools.
Let Good Teachers
Competition for teachers and administrators who get
results has significantly raised professional wages, and
freed teachers to choose and to innovate as professional
educators. See Article
on Teacher Pay. Education Week proved Choice works
to benefit teachers. See the "Big
Secret" unions don't want teachers to know.