Friday, March 17, 2006

Why I'm for School Choice

Hat tip to: Glenn McCoy

Most of you probably don't "get" this cartoon. I didn't either. I did some research. It turns out the school superintendent, Sandra Schroeder came into Madison Community school district in Illinois and shook things up. She is getting results, but guess who isn't happy? The teacher's union.

Unfortunately the Teachers' Unions are one of the main reasons our kids are in failing schools today. Why? Because they are the main people standing in the way of school choice becoming a reality for American schoolchildren.

John Stossel did an awesome show entitled "Stupid in America" on ABC about how the public schools are failing our kids. He talks about "how lack of choice cheats our kids out of a good education." Truer words have never been spoken. To watch clips of the show go here. There is a transcript of the show and 3 video clips. They are all short so take the time to watch them all.

He points out that our kids aren't doing well on tests compared to other countries.
"At age 10, American students take an international test and score well above the international average. But by age 15, when students from 40 countries are tested, the Americans place 25th."
Why is that? Are foreign kids just naturally smarter than our kids? No, its because other countries don't have a government monopoly over their schools. Belgian kids are given vouchers where their parents can pick what school they can go to. Here in America great public school teachers like our friend Becky get paid the same as lazy, incompetent teachers. It is almost impossible to fire bad teachers because of the teachers' unions. And without competition schools have no incentive to get better.

We are now spending on average $10,000 per kid for public schools. Obviously throwing more money at the problem has not helped. Other countries spend significantly less per kid than we do. And one of the reasons $10,000 per kid isn't enough is because so much of it ends up in the bureaucracy instead of going to the kids or to pay for better teachers.

So guess who is mad at John Stossel for his show "Stupid in America"? The teachers' unions. Stossel wrote an article about it entitled "I'm sorry that union teachers are mad at me". Why are they mad? And why do they fiercely resist school choice? Because they wouldn't have a monopoly on the school system anymore and they would lose their power. They don't care about the kids and the educational system. They care about their bureaucracy and their power. And its time we took up the fight and demanded better for our kids.

We have a form of school choice in Cleveland, Colorado, Florida, Maine, Milwaukee, Vermont and Washington D.C. We deserve to have school choice in all 50 states and in all school districts. I resent the fact that I have to pay double to either homeschool my kids or put them in private schools. I have 4 kids who I want to put in private school in the next year or two and I will have to get a job just to be able to pay for their schooling. Am I willing to do that? Yes! Should I have to? No

I pray that school choice becomes a reality sooner rather than later. If we can pick the schools that our kids go to schools will be forced to do better and hire better teachers. And we can also weed out insane teachers like Jay Bennish. How many parents would send their kids to a school with teachers like him? And how quickly would the school fire him once he was hindering the school from being able to keep students enrolled. It seems like everyone would be happier--teachers, parents and students. Except for the liberals who would lose their power and control over our kids!!

P.S. I'm not saying that kids can't do well in public schools and this isn't a criticism of public school teachers. This is a plea for parents to have more options.

Sources & Great Resources on School Choice:
Cato Institute
Alliance for School Choice
School Choice Info
John Stossel's 'Stupid in America'
I'm Sorry That Union Teachers Are Mad at Me
They Want to Teach me a Lesson

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