Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Republicans & Public Education

The United States spends more on public education than any other country in the world; yet produces poorer results than many industrialized nations.   To hear Teacher Unions tell it, what ever we spend is never enough.   Most of the money goes for Teacher and Administrator Compensation and Benefits and especially Pensions.   In general, in many school districts Teachers are paid very well for employees that only work 8 months a year.  

In any case, Republicans have an opportunity to win over Independents and parents that often see public schools as their critical issue when voting.   We should support great teachers by advocating merit pay, while opposing collective bargaining involving Teacher Unions, the same as for all public employees.   Republicans should strongly support School Choice for kids in failing public schools.  This clearly would impact minority voters, primarily Blacks and Hispanics whose kids are trapped in failing, inner city public schools.   Those kids should have the opportunity to opt out in favor of private, or parochial schools to give them a chance at a good education.  It is absurd that rich Socialist politicians, like President Obama and many others, can send their kids to private schools, yet they will not give poor kids the same right.  

Republicans should also support reform of public education.   If a kid is not college bound, it is just crazy for that kid to leave high school without a vocation.   There is nothing wrong with being a plumber, electrician or mechanic.   We should determine by 9th grade if a kid can make it to college and if not those kids should be on a vocational track, which should include apprentice programs as part of a high school education.   What we are doing now is failing many kids.  Drop out rates are often 30% or more in many inner city schools.   This is intolerable.  

And, rather than it being discriminatory as has been alleged in the past, should a kid be a late bloomer and be channelled into vocational education, there are always community colleges as a safety net.   So what if a kid ends up learning a trade and then decides to go to college later.   In fact, that kid might be far ahead of the game.   This Blogger is not allowed around tools because I might hurt myself.  It might have been good if I had learned how to actually do something useful, in addition to all the years I spent at University. 

The Republican Party should be the education party.   We have to improve our public schools if we are going to be competitive in the world.   We can't have half our kids "graduating" for high school, or not graduating at all with no skill and no ability to go to university.   Republicans should propose reforms to improve public schools, even if those reforms are opposed by Teacher Unions that support Socialists, that are often an impediment to real reform. 

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