Well we are back on track - this was going to be number 2 - but it got pushed back to spot number 3....
The Business of Government is to ensure the education of the the leaders and workers of tomorrow. If we as a nation are serious about competing in the global marketplace then we have to stop pretending to care about education and start doing something about it. Unfunded Federal Mandates and Teaching to the Test is not ultimately going to cut it.
What needs to happen - is the Federal Government needs to not only see about setting a national standard - it also needs to provide a basic funding source. While I cannot comment on how other states fund public education I cannot comment on Ohio. In Ohio, the bulk of the funding comes from property taxes. Therefore the budget of a school distract can vary wildly from city to city, county to county. It is inherently unfair on a number of levels and frankly it needs to be overhauled. I know there is some State formula - but it is still not a fair system. Every child in the state is not getting the same education - no matter how you dice it - kids in more affluent areas are getting a better education.
In countries like Germany and Japan - there are national exams. Every child takes the same exam and it is not the PSAT, the SAT or the ACT - not some weird test that tests nothing really. It tests them on real knowledge. Knowledge that they will eventually expand upon in college or vocational school.
I think we need to have the Federal Government Fund public education at a basic level and then have that augmented by the States. Furthermore - there should be a National Sales Tax or Flat Tax or something to cover the cost of public education.
Places like Japan, Germany and India have and are making education a priority. What I am wondering are we making it?
National ranking and the like are just silly. It does no one in Florida to know that they are almost dead last. We need a national basic standard and then the States need to step up to the plate and kick in the same amount per student. It is possible (ducking) that perhaps the system of organizing schools by distracts is not the way to go. Maybe there is too much (shudders to think) redundancy. Maybe or maybe not!
The bottom line - we need to get serious and there needs to be a serious overhaul - because frankly the system we have now - is not working. The US is slipping further and further behind in the global market place and sadly education is a big factor.