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Steve Kubby on Education

Better Education Gives Your Children More Opportunity

You and your children deserve the best education possible.  A good education is the key to a happier, more prosperous life.  To secure the best possible education for your child, you need the freedom to choose from a variety of options.  That includes fresh ideas about how to best educate your children.  After all, it was fresh thinking that brought about the age of discovery and made education available to more people than history's nobility.

Unfortunately, government has taken that freedom away from all but the wealthiest families. It's as though they're building a new nobility that gets the best education while the poor among us have to settle for less.

Instead of parents working with local schools to address local concerns, educational decisions are now made hundreds of miles away in state capitols and in Washington, D.C. With such a remote, centralized leadership, it's no wonder that Americans wind up with McSchools. With parents unable to choose among schools, there is no incentive for schools to do better. Most people see that in our public school bureaucracy, administrators prosper even as teachers and classrooms lack the most basic educational supplies.

The tax-supported public schools are in trouble. Teachers can't teach well because of discipline problems and increasing paperwork for social engineering experiments. Violence at schools has gone up while test scores have gone down. Bright students are held back to conform with their classmates. Meanwhile students needing extra attention are stigmatized with labels. Just how bad have these government schools become? Look at the results:

  • The U.S. has 27 million illiterates along with 40 to 50 million people who can barely read at a fourth-grade level.
  • More than half of all 18-year-olds cannot find Britain or France on a map of the world.

Of course, politicians from the big, old parties have an easy answer. They say that more money will solve the problem. If money is the issue, then why are the schools in the District of Columbia in such turmoil?

No government school system spends as much on education per pupil as our nation's capital. Yet for the past two years, the fall opening of classes has been delayed because many school buildings were decrepit and dangerous. These schools show some of the worst test results in the country, despite having the largest budget. Unfortunately, in Washington, D.C. as elsewhere in our country, most public school teachers won't let their own children set foot in government schools. Instead, they send their children to private schools. All parents and children deserve better choices.

To best see why we have today's school system, look at the history of government schools. Way back in the 1830s, Horace Mann led the movement for "public schools." On the surface, the idea sounded good. Every child would have access to an education. However, there was a different agenda at work.

When the "public school" movement began, it did not come from a cry for reform from the people. Instead, it was led by high-and-mighty intellectuals. They wanted to take control in education away from parents and give it to social engineers at the government. By stripping parents of their traditional control over their children's education, these reformers worked toward two bad goals.

The first goal was based on racism and a distrust of America's rich cultural diversity. As people around the world flocked to our young country to achieve the American Dream, these elite planners feared losing power. Instead of promoting their ideas in a free and peaceful way, they chose to seize control. Most ethnic groups resented the way those elites tried to undermine their parental authority. The most obvious example of how the people responded was the growth of Catholic schools, especially among immigrant communities.

The second goal in centralizing education was based on another one of their fears. The elites who controlled our country saw that the "common people" were gaining political power. To maintain the status quo, public schools would teach values that were considered quite un-American at the time. Government schools would teach these common children:

  • Blind obedience to authority
  • Conformity
  • Equating patriotism with loyalty to government; and
  • That education is a scarce commodity that only the government can provide.

The elite families who wanted to make the schools fit this form were slowed in their attempts throughout the late 1800s. That was because most schools were controlled by local boards. Local control rapidly decreased after the 1950s when state governments took over school funding. Since then, more and more money fed a growing bureaucracy at the expense of teachers and students. Today, matters have become even worse as Washington politicians take control even farther away from our children's classrooms.

According to Steve Buckstein of the Cascade Policy Institute, the Portland, Oregon school district has 600 employees in its central office. That's one central office employee for every 92 students. On the other hand, the private Catholic school system has only five central office employees: one for every 2,300 students! The government schools have 25 times as many employees who do not teach. And the Catholic schools do a better job with a better record of college placement.

Beyond wasted dollars, failed social experiments hurt students, too. Consider failed programs measuring children's IQS, followed by "tracking." John Gatto (1991 New York State Teacher of the Year) put it:

"David learns to read at age four; Rachel, at age nine: In normal development, when both are age 13, you can't tell which one learned first -- the five-year spread means nothing at all. But in school I will label Rachel ‘learning disabled' and slow David down a bit, too. I adjust David to depend on me to tell him when to go and when to stop. He won't outgrow that dependency. I identify Rachel as discount merchandise, ‘special education.' After a few months, she'll be locked into her place."

When people stereotype students with standardized tests from a central bureaucracy, enormous problems emerge. Those problems become worse for racial minorities. It's little wonder that Wisconsin's State Representative Polly Williams, a single mom from Milwaukee's inner city, led the fight for school choice in her state.

Rep. Williams was told parents and children didn't care about education. Bureaucrats told her the problems in her neighborhood schools came from that lack of concern. As a mom, she didn't buy that line. When she held her first hearing in Milwaukee, she was overwhelmed. Hundreds of parents, many with their kids, showed up. She discovered that when parents and children were given a choice, they became involved. It was by forcing parents and children out of the decision making process that caused disinterest to grow. Working by herself, one single mother from Milwaukee made a difference. You and I, too, can make things happen.

You don't have to settle for a second-rate education. Steve Kubby's son Sky started out in the public school system. Yet by the time Sky was a freshman in Truckee, it became obvious that he wasn't getting a good education.

Sure, to most people their school might seem good. However, few people compare schools because they know only one. Sky, who was a straight-A student in the government schools, became a D student in his first semester at private school. That didn't last for long. At the new, better school, Sky quickly learned how to study better and learn more. His grades rose steadily, and he's now a successful entrepreneur. Perhaps the most surprising thing about private schools is that they do a better job while costing less money per pupil than government schools.

Steve Kubby knows you can't get better education for your children with giant, government-run schools. We have to get back to smaller, more compassionate schools with caring teachers focused on children's success. The best solution is to return choice to parents. History proves that centralized control give you little more than poor results and a wide scale waste of resources. Steve Kubby is the only candidate for governor this year who will develop policies that lead to a rational separation of school and state so your children get the best possible education.

The possibilities are exciting when one stops letting the elite politicians tell you and me what to think about education. Your vote for Steve Kubby will open the doors to dynamic new successes in education. Schools will pop up, competing for your children. Those schools will have to perform better to win students. Some will specialize in mathematics and science, while others focus on art and literature. With the rapid technological developments coming your way in communications, from satellite television and the Internet to interactive media, the opportunities for you children will be endless. Gone forever will be the debates over sex education and religion that can never be solved with a single curriculum. All we have to do is break out of the old thinking that holds us back from accomplishing the American Dream.

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