Get Government Out of Education
Our Children Deserve More
I live in Michigan, which I used to say proudly, and I am watching our elected officials tear this state apart. I will state up front that I have no respect for our governor, Jennifer Granholm, yet we as voters share the responsibility for re-electing her again. If you haven't heard, she plans to make Michigan the next Hollywood. Which may be a good thing for all the unemployed people (over 12% now) who are thinking of changing their career path to include "movie extra." But I digress. This is not the subject of this posting, but they are related.
Over the past several weeks, our newscasts have repeatedly covered stories about government layoffs; specifically teacher layoffs. This is not a new strategy for local governments looking to tighten the fiscal belt. In fact it's a strategy that I think most people have accepted as "business as usual." It bothers me that our children suffer the cost of our elected officials' lack of fiscal responsibility. Can you think of a worse way to do business? That makes about as much sense as beating your child because you wrecked the car on the way to work. One has nothing to do with the other. If private enterprises were as fiscally irresponsible they would be in the same state of financial ruin as...I don't know...Gm and Chrysler maybe? We need to get government out of the education business.
Hats Off To Teachers!
It seems to me that the programs that suffer the greatest losses when the money gets tight are those that hit us the hardest. The cuts in this state usually start with the police force and teachers. Two of the most underpaid, thankless, yet undeniably crucial positions on the government payroll. If you want to understand why our education systems are failing, just look at the way government values its teachers. Why would any sane, educated person want to become a teacher, or police officer for that matter? The fact is, the good teachers are in it for the "love of the game." Hats off to those that have chosen the profession for reasons nobler than a government paycheck. Our education system would be in worse shape if it wasn't for dedicated teachers.
Our government would like you to believe there is no alternative to public education; that private schools and home schooling are too expensive for the average Joe. It's kind of ironic that the same government has no problem strapping over one trillion dollars of taxes to our back. The same government that tells us our school systems can't afford new books, gives GM and Chrysler $15 billion combined to keep them afloat not knowing if they can sustain themselves. During the election campaign all we heard about was better education for our kids and affordable tuition. How many scholarships could have been paid for by the $16 billion tax dollars that Citigroup, Bank of America, and JP Morgan-Chase sent overseas for new loans and investments. By comparison, figuring an average teacher's salary at $32,000, one billion dollars will pay the salary of 31,250 teachers for a year. Our government has given away 31 years worth of teacher's salaries to businesses that might fail. I guess our leadership must have gone to government schools if they can find logic in that. Here in Michigan, the Detroit School District has been struggling for years. Partially due to the fact that the tax base is leaving Detroit, but mostly due to the corruption within the system. Schools are sorely in need of repair, several will be shuttered, and again the students will be punished for the sins of the few. They will pay with over-crowded classrooms and over-worked teachers. What a great way to insure the education of this, and future, generations.
People will argue that the government owes their children a "free education." There is nothing free about it. Besides taxes, Michigan's lottery system has generated over 3.5 billion dollars for the School Aid Fund in the last 5 years alone. Don't forget the Bingo nights, candy sales, and booster clubs to name a few more. All payed by the taxpayer. And who do we have to complain to when we don't get our money's worth? The government. What a great business model. The same authority that mandates the taxes to go to their schools, creates the guidelines to measure the success of the schools. I'm going to try that. From this day forward, compared to myself, I am a genius. I like it! What this does in reality, however, is create a no-win situation for students. Let's face it. Unless students are motivated, goal-oriented self-starters, they will receive nothing more than the bare minimum to pass. If students can't handle that, the school system doesn't have the time or resources to help; unless, of course, you conveniently fall into one of the "special needs" categories that the government can tax us for.
I believe the government wants schools to fail. If they truly didn't they would not be in their current state of dishevelment. To put it bluntly, the less educated our students become, the easier it will be to grow nosensical ideas and create a more dependent society. The government has created its own captive audience. Better schools, home schooling, and inteligence are the are the bane of dependency. If we become smarter, pesky little critters like constitutionality, free speech, and individualism will end up cluttering the tracks of the Collective Express. You can call me a conspiracy theorist if you desire, but I think of myself more as a common sense theorist.
The bottom line is this. I truly believe that education is key. Good education, not so-called free (or affordable) education. Education that inspires, rather than enslaves them. Education founded on integrity rather than agendas. Our kids deserve more.