A full house, at the Nixon Library, greeted nationally syndicated talk show host Hugh Hewitt and Dick Morris, author and political commentator, jointly hosting an evening dedicated to School Choice Week. The Education Revolution Tour: Restoring America’s Pride is touring America to offer a bright hope for the future of America’s kids.
We should be leading the world in education, yet our 15-year-olds rank 35th out of 57 countries in literacy and math; we are behind most industrial nations!
According to the Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) involving a half-million students in 41 countries, U.S. fourth-graders are performing poorly, middle school students worse, and high school students are unable to compete. By the same criteria used to say we were “average” in elementary school, “we appear to be “near the bottom” at the high school level.”
What is school choice? Dick Morris answered saying that a “revolution is happening this year in the United States.” He shared that only 15% of American kids attend Private or Parochial schools and “the rest go to the only remnant of socialism in the United States = Public School. This is the only area in a parent’s life that they don’t have a choice.”
In 1990, per student spending was $7,300 and today, $10,000: resulting in 0% improvement in reading and 4/10% in math. More money has not improved our students, but it has paid for more bureaucracy and teacher’ unions who push for teacher tenure and seniority pay.
“We have to let the kids, who are trapped (in bad schools), find a way to excellency,” said Hewitt. “School choice isn’t just a tool, it is a higher calling. Academic performance of students to other kids internationally is down because we gave up on doing difficult things. There is too little return for the hard work.”
“One size doesn’t fit all. Kids are unique and should have the option to find a school that fits their needs. If we empower the parents, we will reform education,” stated Morris.
So what is the answer? School Choice.
“Our message is simple: we need a K-12 education system that provides a wide array of options. We need an effective education system that has the flexibility to personalize and motivate students and allow parents to choose the school that is best for their child.” National School Choice Week
Not all schools are in bad shape and do in fact produce quality students exceptionally educated, but this is the exception. Most are following in the footsteps of Detroit, “where a report from the Detroit News Monday suggested that without government aid, the city of Detroit will be forced to close down nearly half of the city’s public schools in the next two years. Additionally, the paper warns that average high school class sizes will swell to 62 students by the following year.”
Detroit is an example of what ultimately happens when teacher pensions and union contracts continue to grow as the economy slumps. The students and the community suffer when learning comes to a stand still at the hand of unions and bureaucrats.
This is a-political, it is about American children everywhere, who need an exceptional education and deserve to have the best schooling provided in the greatest nation on earth. We can do this and we must demand that it gets done. Choice is the answer through vouchers, tax credits and scholarships; as well as providing creative educational experiences utilizing virtual learning, specialized schools with paths to various vocations and careers and outcome based standards so the tax dollars won’t be wasted. Charter schools, home schools, private and public should all play a unique part in the educational landscape of America.
Get involved. Become active as School Choice advocate. Attend an event and hear the exciting ways schools will see the light at the end of this dark age, in 2011.
“The modern issue of school integration is school choice,” Morris said. It is THAT important.