I'm not a teacher, and I'm no expert in how to teach kids, yet my experience in this life, and as a parent, and a bout of common sense, has me wondering if the school system would be better if Washington were to let local schools, or even the states, run the schools.
I keep hearing that the United States lags behind other nations when it comes to math and science, yet when you look at the rankings, most of the nations ahead of the U.S. are smaller nations, like Japan, which is an island.
Japan is like a small state, and when it makes a decision it's a localized decision. It would be like California deciding what is best for California students, or Florida deciding what is best for Florida students.
The way we do it in the U.S., some policy, like that of the No-Child-Left-Behind-Act is set by Washington, and that's basically some experts in Washington, or politicians, deciding what's best for every student. Basically, they are assuming they know what's best for everyone.
What if they are wrong?
It seems to me a better system would be to let each school come up with it's own system, and then they can compete with each other. The best school would then get the best kids. The schools that came up with the best systems would have the highest math and science grades, and other schools would copy what they do.
That's how competition works. When the government makes the decisions, and has all states do it the same way, they take the competition out of the equation. They stymie new ideas.
It would be like making a law back in the 1920s that required all automakers to make cars the same way. If that would have happened, the Ford assembly line never would have been invented.
Most states have a minimum day school year. It's believed kids need to be in school so many days to learn what they need to learn for the next year. Yet there is no evidence to this.
It's also believed that the smaller the student to teacher ratio the better the grades, yet in Japan, where math grades are rated the highest (or they were last time I looked), has very large student to teacher ratios. So the small class size thing is but a myth.
And throwing more money at schools doesn't make schools better either. Back in the 19th century no government money was put into schools, and kids were well educated. Yet some schools, like in New York, get paid $8,000 per student. In Michigan it's $7,000 per student. With all that money, you'd think New York would have the best school system in the world. Yet it doesn't.
Yes it does cost more to educate kids today, yet I'm sure kids can learn just as well without computers. We did. We learned with ancient film projectors and purple copied papers, and we turned out just fine. Back in the 19th century and earlier people learned on scratch boards, hand-me-down books, and teachers who taught every grade.
There's this belief that we need to set regulations so that kids learn so much each year, especially in math or science, because we don't have enough scientists to compete with other nations.
And some believe school is a day care, and therefore that's why it's mandatory school be 180 days. You have kids in school in the middle of August to the middle of June in some places. I think that's about ridiculous. It's ridiculous unless the local folks want it that way.
I think school should be from labor day to memorial day, and that's it. And school shouldn't start until 9:00 and it should end before 3:00. Yet now we have to get up at 6 o-clock in the morning to rush our kids to school because some use it as a day care service so they can get to work.
Prayer in school is nuts too. Personally, I don't think there's a need for prayer in school, yet if someone wants to pray let them. I'm a Catholic and I'm saying this. I prayed on my own before tests when I was in school, and I'm sure kids do now too. If they want to pray in groups so be it, let them.
This separation of church and state regarding schools is poppycock, and is only something that was mentioned by Thomas Jefferson after he was President, and has nothing to do with the Constitution nor the Bill of Rights. And that's not just my opinion either.
Christmas plays shouldn't be stopped either, if that school wants to have them. If a school wants to have some other religious plays, or even Muslim plays, that shouldn't be stopped either. And the Pledge of Allegiance should be allowed, if that school wants to do such a thing.
You see, things would be so much easier if the schools were not run by the government. Things would be so much more relaxed, and, I bet, kids would learn just as much if not more than they do now.
And why not try my idea? I'm sure the result wouldn't be worse than what we have right now. Yet for some reason politicians in Washington think they know more than you, and prefer to ignore the 10th Amendment that allows Senators to make laws only on what is mentioned in the Constitution, with all other matters left to the states to decide.
So what is the best way to improve our public school system? Let's have a real debate in the world of ideas, and let the best solution evolve in the free marketplace.
That's my take on it. Feel free to discuss -- be nice.