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Public School Questions
By David W. Kirkpatrick (May 15, 2008)
Senior Education Fellow
U.S. Freedom Foundation www.freedomfoundation.us
WHY is certification required for those who teach in the public schools but not for the education professors who teach others to teach in the public schools?
WHY does schooling require more certification credentials than any other profession -- to teach at the elementary level, to teach at the secondary level, to be an elementary school principal, to be a secondary school principal, to be a superintendent, ad infinitum?
WHY do so many educators complain about excessive government regulation (about which they are right) but oppose any attempts to enact meaningful deregulation of the system?
WHY do so many businessmen, who say they believe in free enterprise, competition, and minimal government interference, support a monopolistic school system in which ignorance of capitalism is rampant, criticism of capitalism and the for-profit motive is almost universal, individual enterprise is a no-no, competition is nonexistent, and government interference is virtually absolute?
WHY should school administrators be former teachers? Do court administrators have to be lawyers, or hospital administrators doctors?
WHY is it assumed that an administrator who was once a teacher can evaluate all teachers regardless of their specialty?
WHY, when a disadvantaged student from a lower socioeconomic status doesn't do well, is the student blamed; but when those from advantaged backgrounds do well the educators claim the credit?
WHY did NEA TODAY, in September 1994 boast that the "NEA and its allies succeeded in defeating ... an amendment that would have provided federal funds for private school tuition vouchers to students in schools deemed unsafe..." The item's headline was, "Best Win For Education Employees." How about the students?
WHY shouldn't former NEA President Keith Geiger, quoted as saying that inner-city schools "are absolutely terrible -- they ought to be blown up," be willing to let the students leave first?
WHY do so many educators bemoan parental apathy when parental involvement is usually only welcomed on the school's terms. Join the PTA, the Booster Club, help raise money, spread the word about our good school but don't think parental involvement means you can have your child assigned to another school, or teacher, or otherwise have any choice over your child's school environment.
WHY did former U.S. Secretary of Education Richard Riley advocate "parental involvement" at the same time he was saying he was totally opposed to parental choice. Involvement without power is merely manipulation.
WHY do both opponents and proponents of school choice argue over how good or bad the "system" is when even the strongest defender of the status quo should admit that not all public school students succeed, and even the most adamant "school basher" needs to concede that some public school students do very well.
WHY don't we show more concern for students, which is what school choice is all about. As a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court said in 1925, "the child is not the creature of the state." There are still those who think it is.
WHY does the American Civil Liberties Union oppose school choice, when that same 1925 U.S. Supreme Court decision meant the parental right to determine a child's education is a civil liberty?
WHY should the argument for school choice rest on how many public schools succeed or fail? With 14,000+ school districts, millions of staff and 50,000,000 students, almost anything that can be said is true someplace. Even if only 10% fail -- and no one argues the figure is that low -- that's nearly 5,000,000 students. There is no advantage to
them if others succeed.
WHY is it that when the establishment tries something different they say it will take years to evaluate, but when they object to a reform they attack it if it doesn't show immediate gains?
WHY is the public school establishment, which claims to "teach critical thinking and problem solving," is unable to think critically and solve its own problems?
WHY those who want to change the educational process are known as conservatives, while those defending the status quo claim to be reformers?
WHY is it claimed that school choice will "cream" the best students when public magnet schools and elite schools, such as Central High in Philadelphia and Stuyvesant High in New York City have done so for generations?
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"The schools aren't as great as they used to be, but they never were." --Will Rogers, quoted .283, Edmund Fawcett & Tony Thomas, The American Condition, NY: Harper & Row, 1982
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Copyright 2008 David W. Kirkpatrick
108 Highland Court,
Douglassville, Pennsylvania 19518-9240
Phone: (610) 689-0633