A Conservative Education Policy
The full-blown liberal assault on our education should be one of the greatest causes of concern among conservatives and those who are interested in the future of this country. The importance of education policy cannot be underestimated. He who controls the flow of information to our next generation will control the paradigm of public policy.
When conservatives stand up and voice opposition to increased education spending, despite the fact that it has not increased American students’ rankings, they are derided as not caring for the children. This is a political scheme to ensure continued liberal domination over the education system.
As such, there are several important considerations when examining education policy from a conservative standpoint. First, we must develop and promote policies that end the liberal bias that pervades our education system, notably the public school network. We must also look at measures that increase the quality of courses and education and which make American children competitive with their companions around the world, as well as preparing them for the rigors of college work and, after that, professional life. It is also critical to develop policies that complete these goals while reducing expenditures.
The first problem with the education system is the fact that the federal government is involved. In 2011, the government allotted $68.3 billion to serve as the the Department Of Education’s budget. While a small percentage of the $3.83 trillion budget that year, this is still a significant figure.
The first step is to abolish the aforementioned federal department. Only the states and local governments have roles in the public education system. This will also cause spending to enter into line with local budgets, which are not as capable as the federal government at supporting waste and fraud.
We should also examine the Constitutional role of government in education. The Constitution neither guarantees the right to an education nor does it establish provisions for federal involvement in any form of education system. The fact is that this task was supposed to be delegated to the states. While each state does still have a substantial degree of control over its education system, the federal government has usurped many state functions and established regulations that have proven to negatively impact the quality of schooling around the country.
The fact that the federal government can change education policy, influencing the classroom experiences of millions of children, all on a political whim is frightening. Unfortunately, because of Democratic Congresses and presidential administrations, the paradigm that has been established has been one that favors left-wing causes. Consider the fact that evolution is taught in public schools. In addition, we find that left-wing bias is rampant in textbooks. Liberals attempt to demean the positive influence that our nation has had on world history while avoiding critical issues such as proper instruction of the Constitution.
One of the first signs of a problem with the public school system was the end of school prayer. The justification was that school prayer, and the incorporation of religious elements into the school system in general, both violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
For proponents of this ban, it should be mentioned that 65% of Americans are in favor of permitting school prayer. It would therefore seem that most Americans have no issue with the possibility of a moment for students to pray prior to the beginning of the school day. Indeed, it is logical to suggest that the government is respecting an establishment of an atheistic system by banning prayer.
Providing a moment, at the beginning of the school day, for students to pray for the coming day. Now, as an optional activity, this neither promotes the establishment of any religion nor does it restrict freedom of religious expression, something that secular liberals have been wont to do in previous decades.
There have been no instances of positive reform that may reverse the problems that have arisen with the public school system. So, how are we to increase the quality of education in the United States? No Child Left Behind attempted to establish testing standards that would improve teachers’ perception of each student’s progress. Unfortunately, this system has failed. It has led to a situation in which teachers and bureaucrats emphasize test performance over actual learning.
A better method would be to promote an environment in which students are engaged by the material while at the same time being propelled by the desire to compete academically. In many public schools, students are advanced through the system to avoid any inconvenience to teachers. A framework that promoted convenience over achievement is bound to fail. Rather, teachers must be required to administer academic penalties so as to encourage students to pursue excellence. Teachers should not be afraid to fail students if need be. Ultimately, promoting superior performance will encourage others around the gifted students to attempt to reach their levels of academic success.
Granted, this will require a major shift in the culture at schools, but with the proper level of effort and engagement, this can be achieved.
The lack of financial motivation among families that send their children to public schools must also be analyzed. It is a useless expenditure of taxpayer funds to finance a school system with a national high school graduation rate of 75% in 2009. In the vast majority of cases, dropping out of high school is damaging to the student’s prospects and, on a large scale, to the country as a whole, particularly when one in four students does not complete high school. Consider all of the intellectual potential that could be realized if these students began to attend college and pursue their interests in such an environment.
However, if public school families were required to contribute to their children’s public school educations, it would be likely that they would pressure their children to perform as a result of that investment. They would not be willing to waste their own money to watch their children fail.
One final element to this solution is to properly separate advanced students from the others. Those who already know material and who have demonstrated significant competency should be provided with proper incentives, such as the option to skip grades. This will promote excellence while ensuring that an individually-tailored curriculum system emerges, one that provides a suitable environment to each student.
We must also eliminate the ability of school officials and bureaucrats to enforce preposterous regulations that have been imposed on innocent American students. There have been several instances of teachers and principals punishing students for seemingly innocuous actions.
These are just some examples of the injustices committed at schools. They represent attempts at coercing students to comply with the multicultural, politically correct beliefs espoused by public school employees. In none of the above instances were the students attempting to act in a controversial fashion. They simply wanted to display their patriotism and Christian beliefs through their fashion.
Such abuses of power must be stopped in order to begin ending the indoctrination that occurs at public schools.
Conservatives advocate the use of school vouchers, which are designed to help low income families send their children to more expensive private schools, rather than failing inner-city public schools. (side note – isn’t it odd that the supposedly unsympathetic Republicans are promoting vouchers instead of the liberals who claim to care for the well-being of those with lower incomes?) By providing families with the option to send their children to safer schools with superior standards and results, school vouchers keep children in school and enable them to learn in environments better suited to academic excellence.
If enacted, these policies will be an important step toward Saving the Country.