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|Alameda County, CA||November 6, 2012 Election|
By Marilyn M. Singleton, MDCandidate for United States Representative; District 13
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Washington is not the most effective captain of our education ship. Locally-based innovations can give all children access to a quality education.The state of education in public schools is abysmal. The quality of education is the number one civil rights issue in the minority community. Each year more than one million high school seniors fail to graduate. Every day 7,000 children drop out of high school. Clearly, Washington's pouring more money into education since 1971 has not improved the product. The national graduation rate was 77 percent in 1969 and was 69 percent in 2007, despite a 49 percent increase in spending. In Oakland, the drop out rate is a staggering 40 percent.
Washington is not the most effective captain of our education ship. A recent Government Accountability Office report on duplication of federal services showed that 10 federal agencies run more than 82 separate programs to improve teacher quality. Moreover, there are many burdensome federal compliance rules that local districts must follow that do not necessarily improve education.
Washington could allocate block grants to the states. There would be more money available to students if the federal "overhead" were eliminated. Policies and allocation of resources can be better achieved by the local school district. There is more parental influence and control: the elected school board is directly accountable to the taxpayers.
Lowering academic standards for minority students is not the answer. This is crippling and degrading. Students fall into the role society creates for them. As long as minority students are not required to compete on an objective scale of merit, they will never develop the skills necessary for real academic success.
Children need equal opportunity in education and parents need the choice to opt out of a failing school. We must remove restrictive barriers to opening new charter schools, private schools, and home schooling co-ops, especially in the minority and economically depressed communities. Currently, many government schools have fallen into "the soft bigotry of low expectations." More educational choices would force government schools to compete for students interested in education and establish a culture of achievement.
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