To Save America, Defund the Schools

I've just been informed by a friend that school's closed this year, but you can send your kid to daycare — in the closed school. For money.

There are online classes, of course — but why?  They're terrible for children, and we know now that the disease itself isn't the issue.  Matt Walsh reports that kids are three times more likely to die of the flu than COVID-19.  So we know that schools aren't being closed for their safety.  We heard that childcare costs hundreds a month, per kid, which we know parents can't pay, since many of them are too poor.  We heard that teachers are essential and then were told, by the teachers, that they're inessential.  L.A. County told us they'd take the children back — if we could stop all "police brutality" and adopt universal health care and mail-in voting.

The solution to this whole fraud is simple.  Truth is, our teachers are overpaid and incompetent.  Why send your kid back to school when, according to The Root, 75% of all black boys in California, where state spending on students is enormous, can't read or write proficiently?  Why put your kids in a classroom where there are 30 students to one teacher?  Or where you're a white God-fearing conservative, and the teacher hates America?  Or where teachers can't discipline children because doing so is "racist"?  Or where you don't have the time to meet and assess all the teachers?  Or where grades are curved to pass dunces?  Or where your voice gets drowned out, as a parent, because the other parents won't stand up with you or won't even show up?

The U.S. Census Bureau reports that in 2019, a year when tax revenue was steady and teachers showed up for work, Americans spent, on average, $12,000 a year per kid.  In truth, we spent it, but we didn't have the money.  State, national, and personal debt continues to dig us into a grave.  Every year, we dump money into this abyss, and the education largely gets worse.  The teachers get more radical.  We don't get the classes we really want.  There are too many students per teacher.  We don't like the kids in the school.  But what if we took this money that we don't have?  What if we cut it in half, put the money in the state fund, and redistributed it to each and every kid in the state?

What this would mean is revolutionary.  First off, note what it would do for teachers.  No longer paid a measly salary to be overrun and underequipped, the rate of pay would skyrocket as the job itself would get easier.  You recruit 15 kids, and now you've got 90,000 bucks.  In a poor state, this is a gold mine — less students and more capital.  You spend $10,000 on materials (if that) and $15,000 on rent, and you're still left with $65,000.  This is at an easy $6,000 per kid, $747 less than the rock-bottom cost in the cheapest state in the union (hello from us in Idaho).  New York State already spends $23,000 per student according to the Census Bureau.  What have we got to lose but our chains?

But note what it would do for parents and students.   First off, there's the choice.  Teachers all over the union could be personally interviewed and selected by cautious and interested parents.  They could be regulated, on some basic level, by the state.  They could be fired at will, and if not fired, then unhappy parents could transfer schools — to another little red schoolhouse with somebody more competent, or patriotic, or godly, or manly.  Curricula, instead of being left to every parent, in homeschool conventions, to pick through — an overwhelming process — could be advertised by the teachers themselves.  Not only teaching, but what's learned will become a matter of marketing.  Organizations will spring up endorsing candidates who fit their standards and values.  Students will no longer receive "an education" that's half vanilla, half poison, but something more fine-tuned, more robust, more catered to the intelligence, the virtues, the fine-breeding of the families themselves.

Racial disparities will be immediately erased.  Worried that black children are underfunded and underserved?  They will receive the same money as white children, according to the state they live in, and poor whites will receive the same money as rich whites.  People looking to teach their children Plutarch will win, and so will people teaching children mechanics.  There will be national standards on math and science and English.  The states will set their standards beyond this, according to their cultures and their average level of intelligence.  

There remains an important and troublesome question.  How will this be put into action?  I'm not here to give you a complete plan.  But there are teachers all over the nation who recognize this opportunity.  Principals who've run large schools and will know how to establish little ones.  The fact that each teacher can own his own business — the way God intended it, and the way things were run when America and England were on the upswing — will mean that extremely talented teachers will suddenly become big business.  Parents can put in more money as they choose.  So can the states.  Regulatory agencies will find ways to ensure that the money goes to schools and isn't squandered, and parents, whose money and children are directly involved, will probably beat the regulators to it.  Churches and civic organizations will put their stamps on great teachers.  Masses of money, spent on janitors, security guards, principals, and other such necessaries, will become unnecessary.  Sports, so important to keeping schools funded, will no longer be the top priority.  The education of our children will become paramount.  The people most interested in education — the parents — will have supreme power.  And a chokehold on the American people, held for so long by communists, incompetents, and radicals of all sorts, will be absolutely broken. 

Idaho, where this writer lives, is ranked 35th in education and is also the least regulated state in the union.  It's filled with free people who don't like the left wing, don't like being told what to do, and hate an imbalanced budget.  I propose we start the experiment here, and when it succeeds — Lord willing — we'll take it to the rest of the nation.

Jeremy Egerer is the author of the troublesome essays on Letters to Hannah, and he welcomes followers on Twitter and Facebook.

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