|Riverside County, CA||November 7, 2000 Election|
Education: Choice, Not Politics
By Bill ReedCandidate for United States Representative; District 43
This information is provided by the candidate
Getting politics out of education is critical for the success of our students.On May 4 of this year, the federal Department of Education celebrated its 20th anniversary. From it's inception in 1980, this bureaucracy has spent over $550 billion, but where are the results?
National Assessment of Educational Progress tests have shown the most minimal of improvements over the last 20 years: high schoolers reading scores rose only ONE POINT from 286 to 287 out of 500; Writing scores FELL from 290 to 283 and math scores rose ever so slightly from 299 to 307.
Currently, over $15 billion is being spent each year by the federal government on education. Despite this high amount, it's not like throwing money at the problem will make it disappear A 1997 study of 1,697 homeschooling families showed an average per-pupil spending of $546 as compared to $6, 993 for public educated students. Private schools fall in the middle. SAT scores for students in private and homeschools are consistently higher than their public school counterparts. Want further proof that increased spending does not necessarily equal better education? On May 1, the Missouri Board of Education denied the Kansas City School District accreditation after failing to meet performance standards. The district spent lavishly, but test scores and achievement remained painfully low.
When parents and students are allowed to participate in school choice, amazing things happen. In Milwaukee Wisconsin, nearly half the schools participating in a private school choice program cannot spend the $4,984 allotted to educate each of it's students. Milwaukee pubic schools spend an average $9,500 per student! Why can't the private schools spend all of what is allotted them? Lois Maczuzak, an administrator at St. John Kanty School stated "We don't have to pay for a huge administration and a lot of red tape". Her school spends an average $3,096 per student!
On June 1 2000, a home schooled student won the National Spelling Bee and the two runners up were also homeschooled. This is yet another indication that school choice works for our children. We have nothing to fear by allowing parents and students to make choices which will result in educational excellence.
Rather than throwing ever-increasing amounts of money at a problem or mandating ever-increasing regulations and programs, why not be bold and demand greater flexibility for parents and students to choose the best form of education that fits their needs.To put it bluntly, the federal government must step out of the way and place education back into the hands of families, churches, businesses and local districts. To date, our representatives like Ken Calvert and Mary Bono refuse to do the right thing. They refuse to support elimination of the federal Department of (non)Education and they give in to special interest groups like the NEA, who constantly have their hands out for more taxpayer goodies and lobby for increased power. It is only their interests and not those of parents and children which are paramount.
Will we sit idly by as more of our money and parental rights are being taken away or will we insist on knocking down the barriers which only keep our children undereducated and ill-prepared for the workforce. We don't have to accept the current state of education in America. We CAN do something. Like the old saying goes: "if you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got." Positive change can happen, but it's up to us to see it happen. I'm dedicated to this change. I hope you will join with me. The future of our children is just too important to leave to status quo politics.
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