Los Angeles, Orange County, CA November 7, 2000 Election
Smart Voter


By Keith D. Gann

Candidate for United States Representative; District 39

This information is provided by the candidate
We must provide a quality education by promoting school choice. The private sector will respond with cost-effective quality education, and provide an alternative to government-run schools, which indoctrinate our children with the idea that big government can solve every perceived problem.
Our children's education is the only basic necessity where we have virtually no choice as consumers. We are forced to pay the government, through taxation, and send our kids to government-run schools. Look at the incredible variety and value offered by the free market in housing, clothing, food, and other consumer goods and services. The power of free enterprise can be applied to education too! The failure of government-run businesses of all kinds has been proven all over the world. Socialism in its many forms sounds great, but it does not produce quality products and services. Most other government institutions have learned this. NASA does not build their own spacecraft and the military does not build their own weapons. The government does not employ construction workers to build public roads and buildings. They all hire private contractors. They get competitive bids, and change contractors when they find a company that can do a better job. Government employed teachers and administrators, although often both competent and heroic, are working in a flawed and frustrating system. As is typical with socialistic systems, the perception is that the wrong persons are making decisions at the top and a smarter leader would fix the problem. These are not stupid people. Socialism does not work well as a business model.

Although there are some wonderful public schools run by exceptional and heroic individuals, the general poor quality of government-run education is even acknowledged by public school advocates. Public school teachers are more than twice as likely as the average parents to send their children to private schools! Despite this, opponents of school choice are desperate to keep things as they are, and they use fear as their tool. It is not true that school choice will destroy the public schools. Private and public schools can co-exist, and the competition will strengthen the public schools. The post office does a decent job of delivering packages because of the competition and lessons learned from companies like FedEx and UPS. The things that work best and attract students to private schools would be emulated by public schools. For example: Incompetent teachers, ubiquitous in public schools, would not survive in private schools, because this would cause the private school to lose business. Public schools would be forced to cull the incompetent teachers to compete and survive. They would respond. Right now, it is nearly impossible to dismiss a teacher, no matter how compelling the lack of performance. That would change, and have a huge impact. After all, the student-teacher interaction is where the rubber meets the road in education.

Our grade K through 12 educational system is an international joke; however, our university system is the envy of the world. Foreign nationals fill our private AND public institutions of higher learning. They pay very high tuition rates at our public colleges and universities compared to US citizens, and they are willing to do so because they are getting a good value, and quality education. Why? Because our public colleges and universities have competition from private institutions. The same approach can fix our grade K through 12 education system.

Another aspect of school choice goes beyond academic performance. The government-run schools indoctrinate our children with the idea that big government can solve every perceived problem. Despite this, there is a tendency for teachers to be advocates for big government solutions to all perceived problems. While not intentional, this bias is conveyed to the children.

How should school choice work? The bottom line is that parents should not be forced to pay twice, through taxation and tuition, for a quality education. Tax deductions, tax credits, vouchers, and any other way to meet this end are acceptable. The method should not be federally mandated, but should be controlled at the local level. The methods that work best will be copied. The federal government should facilitate this by getting out of the education game completely.

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ca/state Created from information supplied by the candidate: April 13, 2000 16:07
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