SCHOOLS IN TROUBLE
“The nation’s security and economic prosperity are at risk if schools do not improve,” warns a report by a panel led by former Secrretaru of State, Condoleeza Rice, and Joel I. Klein, a former chancellor of New York City’s school system.
“The dominant power of the 21st century will depend on human capital,” the report said. “The
failure to produce that capital will undermine American security.”
The report said that the State Department and intelligence agencies face critical shortages in the
number of foreign-language speakers and that fields like science, defense and aerospace are at risk because a shortage of skilled workers that is likely to worsen as baby boomers retire.
According to the panel, 75 percent of young adults do not qualify to serve in the military because
they are physically unfit or have criminal records or inadequate levels of education. These students were overwhelmingly high school graduates of our present school systems.
This panel recommends that students in underachieving schools be allowed to transfer to other public schools. In city ghettoes like Washington, D.C. that is a meaningless recommendation. Public schools in that city are consistently bad except for Georgetown. The president’s daughters go to a private school in that city because they can afford to do so. Others don’t have that option.
The one realistic option that Democrats will not even consider because of strong opposition from teacher unions is a school voucher system that allows concerned parents to transfer their children from failing schools into local private schools. As teacher unions see it, the best students and the most motivated students would leave and they would be left with the problem students.
In fact the vouchers, which in almost all cases will be less than the per pupil cost in public schools, would mean more tax money available to public schools for those problem students and for those who believe that more money is the answer to education failure. The real problem is this. The liberal community in this country wants to retain its monopoly over the minds of our children.
Blacks in ghettoes in Cleveland and Milwaukee have succeeded in putting enough pressure on city fathers in those two cities to provide vouchers for parents and students who seek something better. The results over a five year trial period have shown significant improvement in student skills. Why not allow our schools the benefit of what works so well in our economy—competition?
One of the reasons for that success is that private schools will not countenance either bad behavior or social promotions. There does seem to be almost a universal consensus that something must be done about our ghetto schools. I would think a black president, of all people, would be pushing strongly for vouchers to be made available for ghetto children.
And while he is at it, why not provide the same benefit for middle class white kids outside the ghetto. But this black president, whatever his real feelings may be on this subject, is not about to cut off the vast torrent of political contributions coming from teacher unions for his campaign.
Dr. Stan French
We Submit, YOU Decide
Dr. Stan French holds degrees in History and Biblical studies. He has studied both Hebrew in Jerusalem and Japanese in Tokyo, Japan. After teaching for many years, he successfully owned and managed two businessses both in New York and Florida.
He has been married for over 54 years.