Scores from the 2009 Programme for International Student Assessment to be released Tuesday show 15-year-old students in the U.S. performing about average in reading and science, and below average in math. Out of 34 countries, the U.S. ranked 14th in reading, 17th in science and 25th in math.
And, on top of delivering horrible results, we’re spending more money than ever while watching our performance lag:
…with the exception of Switzerland, the United States spends more than any other country on education, an average of $91,700 per student between the ages of six and fifteen.
That’s not only more than other countries spend but it is also more than better achieving countries spend – the United States spends a third more than Finland, a country that consistently ranks near the top in science, reading, and math testing.
This isn’t new. We’ve known this for a long time now. And, just as long as we’ve been watching spending go up and achievement go down, we’ve been debating how to change one or both of those trajectories. And of all those debates, few have been more contentious than all the others. That subject? That topic?
That’s right; choice. As in school choice. The concept of being able to determine where you wanna go to school and where you don’t. From where I’m sitting, the Democrat position has always been one of undying support for the institution of the public education system. And THAT system is anything BUT choice. You have no choice but to support it financially. Heck, even if you don’t have kids in the system you are expected to contribute through the tax system, mostly property tax levied at the local level.
And even if you DO have kids in the system, you don’t have much, if any, choice. At the appropriate time you are given the opportunity to register your child and, often based on where you live, are told which school you will attend. Don’t like it? Tough. So is the tender mercies of public education delivered to her children.
The Republican position? Choice.
It’s the conservatives who are fighting the good fight of offering families and their children the choice of attending not only what school they would like to attend, but which “system” they would like to attend. In other words, if you don’t wanna go to public school, you are free to choose a private school and obtain some form of voucher to help you pay the tuition. Or, failing to overcome the liberal objection to choice [ironic isn’t it] the concept of Charter schools has been thrown out there.
Charter schools are an idea that keeps the school under the control of the public education system but are not private–they don’t charge tuition and are therefore able to take in any family, independent of income. Even THIS idea is fought tooth and nail by the left.
In short, the only satisfactory solution is to continue to confiscate more and more of your money in a losing effort to throw it down the toilet to educate your children in a way and manner you don’t agree with.
Choice is the antithesis of the liberal mind [i know, hilarious, right?].
Education activists are rallying around a homeless woman who may face jail time for enrolling her son in kindergarten under a friend’s address. Supporters say the woman’s story is yet another dismaying example of inequality in the U.S. education system.
Choice of which schools you can attend are restricted. Unless you are
- A criminal
- A “victim of the inequality of the system”
Choice for you. Not for me.