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Our school system needs revamping

Election time is upon us again. Do you suppose we’ll ever see a ballot that doesn’t have one or more entities wanting more tax revenue? Do you hear a sucking sound? The primary abusers of the tax system are government schools. They are the masters of the gimmicks. The first bogus claim is that a bond issue won’t increase your taxes. Now there’s a real spin. The truth is that under the Tabor Amendment you might actually get a reduction. Heaven forbid! We’ve got to stop that! Then there is the kid card, “Scores will fall if we don’t get more money!” No one has ever been able to document the claim that more money improves scores. In fact, the opposite seems to be true because more money causes the focus to shift to all sorts of extracurricular activities that reduce class time.The whole sports thing has become the tail wagging the dog. At the risk of aggravating sports enthusiasts, let me challenge someone to document how many professional athletes have come out of our high school programs. Some years back, the debate team from Rifle had won some state awards, which were being presented at an assembly. The audience was booing and the teachers present were laughing. That was in the eighties, but I don’t think educational priorities have changed. Here’s another challenge. Show me a job application that asks about high school sports.Another card government schools play is the threat that teachers’ salaries will suffer and we’ll lose good teachers. When you consider a three month vacation, health and retirement benefits, automatic raises and tenure, teaching is a pretty good deal.If government schools would be completely forthright and above board, they would give the voters real information to use in making informed decisions. Here are some suggestions they need to reference and compare with state averages.What percentage of building area is classroom?What percentage is athletics?What percentage is administration?What is the square feet per student?What is the ratio of teachers to the rest of the staff?What is the actual student “time on task” in the classroom?Are grade scores of students in new buildings better than those in old buildings?What percentage of tax money goes to administration, at all levels, state, county and district?What portion of the day is social engineering and how much is actual skill development (education)?Why do we need to redesign every school? Surely the architects have gotten one right somewhere that could be a prototype.The rapid growth of home schooling, charter schools, private and parochial schools and other alternate forms of education, should be a wake-up call for government schools. Parents have little or no input into the educational process. PTA is dead. A liberal social agenda is promoted, including pro-homosexuality, anti-Christianity and sex without consequence. No wonder many parents are seeking alternatives.Some years back, New Zealand realized that 70 percent of educational dollars were administration. They shut down the whole system and gave the schools back to the parents. Guess what? Scores went from 14 to 15 percent below their international peers to 14 to 15 percent above their international peers.Maybe it’s time we took a hard look at the system. Remember, the people who create the problem are incapable of solving it. Giving them more money only makes us accessories.I propose a solution that will reintroduce competition, parental involvement and true American freedom. Give every legitimate American a voucher good for twelve years of education that he or she can spend at any school of his or her choice, private or public, at any time in their life. Then put government schools back in the hands of the parents. How’s that for a scary idea? At least we can stop feeding the beast.


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