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Today’s education system just isn’t what it used to be

Out On A Limb
Ross L. Talbott
Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO

Some years back, my mother taught school at the Salt Creek one room school. She was the whole staff. Around here, we had such schools on Garfield Creek, Canyon Creek, Peach Valley, Divide Creek and many more.

Oddly enough, the dropout rate was low and the success rate was high. Then we built larger schools in town and started busing the kids.

When I was teaching, we had a district and a county superintendent. In my school board days, the state Department of Education had come into being, and they were handing down mandates.



Also, there was the teachers union that we had to deal with. Removing a bad teacher was incredibly difficult and so was seldom done.

Parent involvement had been sidelined to almost nothing. The PTA was the Parent Advisory Council and was a total sham.



Now, in total violation of the U.S. Constitution, we have the federal government telling us what to teach, what to feed the children and how to grade success.

You can be suspended for bringing a plastic butter knife in your pack.

We used to bring our guns to school and go hunting as soon as school was out. We also played mumblety-peg with our pocket knives at recess.

The so called public schools have become government schools. In many families, both parents must have jobs, so the schools become the day care until they graduate and then the kids become wards of the government.

Child labor laws were well intentioned to stop abuse, but they have been overdone to the point that very few kids have learned any work skills by the time they graduate.

College is virtually unaffordable unless your parents are wealthy. American Indians also get free tuition, but very few take advantage of that opportunity.

No one has ever demonstrated that more money poured into education has any direct connection to student achievement. The educational system is always demanding more money and tries to lay a guilt trip on anyone who objects.

The major portion of your property tax “government lease payment” goes to the public educational system. If you own land, a house or a business, you pay it every year even if you never had kids in school. Almost all of my grandchildren are schooled outside the government school system, and yet I pay a huge amount into the government school system.

All my life I have heard that increasing regulation and increasing the money will make it better. It hasn’t worked. It’s a prime example of the rule that idiocy is defined by doing the same thing and expecting different results.

I realize that public education creates lots of jobs, but the cost to society is high.

In business, we try a new process, but if at some point we realize it isn’t working, we back off, re-analyze and change direction or maybe start all over. This is necessary because the market and competition drive the process.

If businesses operated like the American educational system, we would be in irreversible debt, sort of like the U.S. government.

Why can’t we rethink the whole process?

We could look at governments such as New Zealand, which reformed its government. They privatized many services. They reduced taxation to only tax income and consumption. They turned education back to parents.

We need to realize that competition works whether it’s business or education. Consequences teach us better than regulations ever can.

One last thought. I am leaving in the morning to take training in pesticide application to keep my license up. I have been spraying weeds and bugs for more years than those trainers have been alive.

Oh well, we are creating jobs.

“Out On A Limb” appears on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month. Ross L. Talbott lives in New Castle, where he is a business owner.


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