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

Education: Restore Local Control

By Joe "Jay" Haytas

Candidate for United States Representative; District 28

This information is provided by the candidate
Parents and teachers, not judges and federal bureaucrats, should decide what the schools shall and shall not teach at the local level.
American invests more in education than any nation in the world. Yet, in community after community, the education offered and the education received is abysmal. The answer is surely not another income transfer form taxpayers to an industry that has failed. Rather, it lies in the recognition that monopolies always breed mediocrity. The education industry is in as great a need of competition as was the American auto industry two decades ago.

The introduction of competition for the educational dollar is surely among the better and fairer ways to improve the educational product. The way to improve education is to enhance the classroom authority, the prestige, and the pay of the best of the teachers, and to provide greater freedom of choice for all the parents. Teaching as a profession should be on a par with accounting, medicine and law. It should be a noble profession in which it is encouraged from an early age.

Teacher testing, to identify the best and brightest and to eliminate the incompetents, seems a sine qua non of educational progress. The best of the teachers, once identified, need the authority both to impose discipline in the classroom and to remove the bad elements from the school.

But schools must go farther than this. In the early grades students must learn the basics of reading, writing, arithmetic and computer skills. Before grade school students can move to Junior High level they must pass proficiency tests in these basic core subjects. It is unconscionable for students graduating from high school to not be able to read. In high school, students must prepare themselves for a job skill or prepare themselves for post- graduate education.

Someone's values, someone's beliefs, someone's concept of morality, will be transmitted during the education of the child. The only question is whose? If there is to be an honorable truce in the religious war over public education, the first necessity is to dismantle the monopoly, to decentralize the system, to terminate federal dictation, judicial and bureaucratic. America is indeed a diverse and pluralistic society; and any judicial decree in the modern era - about what textbooks must go in, and which prayers must go out - will inevitably trample upon someone's convictions and beliefs.

The way to bring permanent peace to the war over public education is to replace autocratic, with democratic, decision making. Parents and teachers, not judges and bureaucrats, should decide what the schools shall and shall not teach at the local level. Let the character of each public school reflect the character of the neighborhood and the community in which it is located; and let the schools compete with one another based on the quality of the education product offered for the allegiance of the parents, students and tax dollars.

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