Education is the most critical issue in California, more serious than even the budget crisis. When Gray Davis first ran for Governor, he promised that Education was to be his highest three priorities, but instead Mr. Davis has shown us what they really were all along: Re-Election, Re-Election, and Re-Election. What were the results? Education spending per student has increased nearly 30%, while classroom performance remains relatively unimproved and at the bottom of a nation producing a third rate primary and secondary education product. The system is broken and the State is nearly bankrupt. So what can we do?
One answer is to free Californias teachers from the overwhelming power of national unions. Teachers should have a choice whether or not to support an often radical political agenda. Unlike Gray Davis, if you elect me Governor of California, I will enforce the law that prohibits unions from requiring campaign contributions in dues payments without teachers permission (Beck (487 US 735), 1988).
Second, we must reverse the trend toward large unified school districts that has effectively excluded parents from affecting public school decisions. The purpose of consolidation was supposedly to reduce the cost of overhead through economies of scale and to strengthen the districts collective bargaining power, but that isnt how it has turned out. Instead, district bureaucracies have become enormous and the resulting issues are so complex that parents are pushed aside by an organizational machine controlled by union lawyers.
I plan to assist formation of corporate service associations for school districts so that they can divest operations into smaller, more personalized institutions while retaining the organizational muscle to deal with the unions. Smaller school districts will give parents a stronger voice on district boards over the issues that matter to them. The principle need to make this possible is to develop programs for children with special needs. Here is where can turn to parents for solutions.
Some would argue that parents on local School Boards arent qualified to make administrative decisions about public education, especially over programs for children with developmental challenges. So, Id like to talk about an education success-story that not only proves that argument wrong, it points toward a total transformation in public education.
Home education is enjoying a renaissance in America, and religious freedom isnt the principle reason. Parents are choosing to home school to assure educational excellence for their children, whose learning habits they know best. A family bond of patience and discipline is a critical factor in student success, especially in a challenging situation. What many people don't know about home-schools is that they have a high percentage of students with genetic, behavioral, and developmental disabilities that had often been poorly served by public institutions. Even with that statistical disadvantage, SAT, ACT, and STAR test scores strongly indicate that home education is producing superior results across the entire spectrum of individual ability.
So parents ARE competent to make choices about their childrens education, and home schools successfully manage nearly every type of specialized educational problem. So what are they doing right that we can apply to public institutions?
As home-educators have grown in number, they have been organizing into loosely knit education cooperatives that point to a new form of public education: a decentralized, customer-oriented network for lifelong learning, using products customized to meet individual interests and abilities. That promises what 21st Century public education could really become: a multi-disciplinary market of customized learning products and services.
We are already starting to see the effects of this change. Software and curriculum companies are finding a growing market of customers committed to gaining competitive advantage. Colleges and universities are offering online degrees because they need superior students to assure productive alumnae. Superior teachers could get rich transmitting their ideas and methods to a mass-market. Where better to develop those products and sell them to the world than California?
We can use private and home education as if they were R&D laboratories developing and testing proven learning tools and services. Public school parents on school boards could then select those products that the State would fund for use in public schools. It is a gradual transformation, from experimenting on our children with untested academic theories, to contracting for innovative tools and methods that have been proven in the marketplace.
All we have to do is let it happen and keep government from regulating new educational methods out of existence. If you elect me Governor, that is what I will do. Federal education dollars arent worth the price of Federal control and bureaucratic requirements. Private and home education both leave the State with more money to spend per-child and provide a competitive incentive for public schools to keep their customers.
Together, lets help California rise from the ashes of a broken system and lead the way once again, into a world of exciting possibilities for our children.
Any human then could use any means imaginable to acquire the necessary knowledge to pass We Test tests. Any school would do, no accreditation required. The Internet is loaded with coursework and curricula, libraries and lab-simulators. Any human with the drive and intelligence to learn on their own could then qualify for a job. No saving for decades, no brainwashing, completely transferable work, at any pace one can withstand. Any employer could then simply select from a menu of We Test specifications instead of a diploma, at any level. We Test tests.
One would think that this should have happened a long time ago, but in fact there is one thing standing in the way that makes the realization of this seeming inevitability a matter of now or never.
State licensing requires degreed credentials obtainable only at said profligate, bureaucratic and unaccountable institutions charging outrageous fees and demanding excessive time as only a State monopoly could command. Why not just amend the legislation specifying education for state licensure by adding the simple words, "or equivalent"?
As an example of how little it would take, consider my wife. She just passed her board certification exam as a Clinical Nurse Specialist in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit. She walked into H&R Block, sat at a computer, took a three-hour exam harder than anything she'd endured in her Masters' Program at Cal State San Francisco, and within five minutes after completion had her passing grade. If the private system can handle a test that specialized, why can't it test arithmetic, algebra, US history, or college chemistry? Instead of bricks and mortar, it would be e-books in quarters. Why not?
Any politician that tells you that he/she has a plan to create jobs is blowing smoke up your butt. There is no fixing the job situation. It isn’t going to happen-not by any act of congress anyways.
I especially like the part about the “We Test” franchise. **Excellent** idea!!
Carry-Okie, I think you should write a vanity, so that these ideas could get wider viewing.
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