Re-educating the school system

The attempt by liberals to preserve the public education system is just that – an attempt to preserve a system, one that is failing all too many students and ignoring the needs of those students.

Now that Betsy DeVos is the new secretary of education, there are three things she must do if she is to succeed where others have failed.  First, she must break the death grip that the teacher unions have on the public schools.  Second, she must radically restructure the delivery of education.  Finally, she must abolish her department.

To those of us who follow the news, it is no secret that the teachers' unions exist to serve one constituency:  the union leadership, and none other.  They prevent incompetent teachers from being removed and replaced, while at the same time, refusing to protect rank and file teachers from violence at the hands of miscreant students.  They maintain their position of power through corrupt political influence and by intimidating teachers who dare to question union policies.

The secretary must aggressively promote a policy that ensures that all contracts with teacher unions are carefully and publicly reviewed so that the interests of students and their parents come first (and second, and third).

The second challenge is to change the very concept of how education is delivered.  The armed forces long ago met the need for training personnel quickly, efficiently, and thoroughly.  Public schools should imitate their success.

In that system, there is no school year.  Subjects are taught in modules.  A module may take from one day to several weeks to complete, but there is a test every week.  Students who fail the weekly test must repeat the week – not the entire course, and certainly not the year.

The test itself is not designed by, nor given by, the instructor.  After all, why should the instructor be placed in the position of evaluating his own performance?  Military testing is performed by people who did not teach those particular students.  The tests are designed by others.  The teacher may administer quizzes, but these are not part of the student's grade, only tools for the teacher.

One additional measure needed in the public schools that does not apply to the military is parental involvement.  Whenever a student registers for school, he should be accompanied by a sponsor, be it a parent, a guardian, or someone else.  The sponsor must sign an agreement to be responsible for that student: for his attendance, performance in class, and discipline.  The sponsor must attend periodic meetings with the teacher or staff and must be on call should the student's needs require it.

Once the secretary of education has achieved all these things, and it should take less than four years, perhaps eight at the most, the final phase is to get the federal government completely out of the education establishment, except, of course, the military's.  The need for a federal department of education will then end, and it should be promptly abolished. 

An ancillary measure is up to the Department of Justice, which should vigorously prosecute all violations of the Constitution, particularly the First Amendment, violations of which are widely practiced, especially on university campuses.  Any time a speaker is prevented from speaking on a university campus by disruptive means that would not be allowed for a liberal speaker, that university should immediately have all its federal funding stopped and the violators meaningfully punished.

Let's hope DeVos can meet these daunting challenges.

The attempt by liberals to preserve the public education system is just that – an attempt to preserve a system, one that is failing all too many students and ignoring the needs of those students.

Now that Betsy DeVos is the new secretary of education, there are three things she must do if she is to succeed where others have failed.  First, she must break the death grip that the teacher unions have on the public schools.  Second, she must radically restructure the delivery of education.  Finally, she must abolish her department.

To those of us who follow the news, it is no secret that the teachers' unions exist to serve one constituency:  the union leadership, and none other.  They prevent incompetent teachers from being removed and replaced, while at the same time, refusing to protect rank and file teachers from violence at the hands of miscreant students.  They maintain their position of power through corrupt political influence and by intimidating teachers who dare to question union policies.

The secretary must aggressively promote a policy that ensures that all contracts with teacher unions are carefully and publicly reviewed so that the interests of students and their parents come first (and second, and third).

The second challenge is to change the very concept of how education is delivered.  The armed forces long ago met the need for training personnel quickly, efficiently, and thoroughly.  Public schools should imitate their success.

In that system, there is no school year.  Subjects are taught in modules.  A module may take from one day to several weeks to complete, but there is a test every week.  Students who fail the weekly test must repeat the week – not the entire course, and certainly not the year.

The test itself is not designed by, nor given by, the instructor.  After all, why should the instructor be placed in the position of evaluating his own performance?  Military testing is performed by people who did not teach those particular students.  The tests are designed by others.  The teacher may administer quizzes, but these are not part of the student's grade, only tools for the teacher.

One additional measure needed in the public schools that does not apply to the military is parental involvement.  Whenever a student registers for school, he should be accompanied by a sponsor, be it a parent, a guardian, or someone else.  The sponsor must sign an agreement to be responsible for that student: for his attendance, performance in class, and discipline.  The sponsor must attend periodic meetings with the teacher or staff and must be on call should the student's needs require it.

Once the secretary of education has achieved all these things, and it should take less than four years, perhaps eight at the most, the final phase is to get the federal government completely out of the education establishment, except, of course, the military's.  The need for a federal department of education will then end, and it should be promptly abolished. 

An ancillary measure is up to the Department of Justice, which should vigorously prosecute all violations of the Constitution, particularly the First Amendment, violations of which are widely practiced, especially on university campuses.  Any time a speaker is prevented from speaking on a university campus by disruptive means that would not be allowed for a liberal speaker, that university should immediately have all its federal funding stopped and the violators meaningfully punished.

Let's hope DeVos can meet these daunting challenges.