School Reform Is Not Coming Soon, Probably Never Will...

Don't bet your child's future on school reform. I recently ran across this video from the 1980s. It's an old news show called At Issue, and on this episode they discuss the widespread problems with public schools back then.

Watching it only proves that school reform isn't coming and you're better off taking direct control of your child's education through home school.

But first…

Try this: Close your eyes and just listen to the show's introduction.

I bet that if you don't get distracted by the bad 1980s hair styles, you'd think this video was talking about government school problems found today -- not a quarter century ago!

It's a great history lesson in which any reasonable person would agree that nothing has changed. Nothing.

The same mess we find today was stinking up the place even in the 1980s (and before) --

  • Teachers unions;
  • Low adult literacy rates;
  • High school graduates who cannot read;
  • Spending more and more money on schools but getting worse results;
  • Top down centrally planned experiments that sound good but do nothing;
  • Discipline problems;
  • One size fits all education;
  • Even the charts look the same... except someone changed the dates.

Parents are the answer to school reform?

One fundamental truism made on the show -- PARENTS ARE THE PRIMARY PLAYERS in helping deliver a better education to their children.

Home school anyone?

The host, Dr. Ron Paul, also makes a point that one practical solution to the problems of government run schools is to de-centralize education.

In other words...

The best education is one that is customized and tailored to your child's unique abilities...

That makes sense, right? The danger is that we've been moving in the opposite direction.

This is clearly obvious with the Grand Common Core Experiment crammed down most of our throats.

Common Core is a highly centralized, top down, one size fits all education scheme that has never been tested or proven effective, yet the Federal government is pushing hard for all States to get onboard.

It's setting up to be as disastrous as the "Cultural Reading Revolution" that pushed us away from the proven and effective 'Phonics' method of reading, and dropped us into the 'Look - Say' reading method that was a huge failure.

Anyone ready to opt-out of the 'Great Leap Forward' in education and try home school?

More money is not the answer, especially when it's just wasted by career bureaucrats --

According to a recent policy analysis by the CATO Institute, since the 1970s schools have received more and more tax money but show nothing for it.

Take a look for yourself at the chart below:

(download a copy of the CATO Institute's report here)

This would be a beautiful chart if it showed how our incomes have grown while the cost of living has stayed flat… but it's not.

Instead, it shows huge amounts of waste. Decades of waste and millions of students (and working parents) cheated.

I put together some numbers on how much the average public school spends per student over the years. They are not necessarily adjusted for inflation, but the trend is clear:

    1957  ~$1,800
    1967  ~$2,500
    1977  ~$3,500 (Numbers come from the At Issue video above; late 1980s. Time 2:46)

    1985   $6,219
    1995   $7,504
    2005   $9,266 (These numbers come from a Heritage Foundation report, 2008)

    2009   $10,499 (U.S. Census, 2011)
    2010   $12,743 (ed.gov, 2013)
    2011   $10,560 (Wall Street Journal, U.S. Census report, 2013)

The Wall Street Journal headline was "Public Spending Per Student Drops." Yipee!

But it's cold comfort because it was the first time it ever happened in over 30 years. (download a copy of the report here.)

What's more disturbing is that 26 states plus Washington D.C. spent more than $10,000 per student. New York had the jaw-dropping record of $19,076 per student! Last time I checked, New York ain't churning out baby Einsteins.

Another discomforting fact is that the least amount spent per student was $6,212, in Utah. I would not call this cheap. (We don't spend anything near that much in our home school.)

Yet, with all the tax money taken off the backs of hardworking Americans and then thrown at public schools for decades... academic standards have stagnated or fallen.

If you're homeschooling now, you've made a prudent choice. If you're on the fence about it, history shows things won't improve. Take matters into your own hands for your child's sake.


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References:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reading_education

http://www.cato.org/publications/policy-analysis/state-education-trends

http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2008/09/does-spending-more-on-education-improve-academic-achievement

http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/governments/cb11-94.html

http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=66

http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2013/05/21/public-spending-per-student-drops/