Thursday, October 6, 2011

Does Competition Improve Schools?

One of the principles of our free enterprise system is competition - it is one of the main reasons why the U.S.A. is the economic powerhouse of the world (at least it was before Obama was elected).

Since it has worked so well in business, why shouldn't it be the driving force in improving our schools, which seem to have been flat lining, or declining, for the past few decades?

Since the 1970's, attempts at getting competition in our educational system has faced fierce opposition from the teachers unions and their political allies, the Democrats. It seems the teachers unions seem to think that Charter schools and Voucher schools are a threat to the monopoly of government-run schools.

The “one size fits all” idea that the federal government knows best when it comes to educating our children, just doesn't hack it and the poor results seem to back that up. SAT scores have been static or have fallen, even after all of the money that has been pumped into the system. Something is fundamentally wrong for us to be in this sorry predicament. Maybe it's because we don't have competition in our education system, because you are dealing with a monopolistic government-run system that is not performing up to expectations.

Look what happened in Wash. D.C., former Superintendent Michelle Rhee, was hired to run and fix-up one of the worst school systems in the country. She made a hands-on evaluation and decided to close failing schools, fired incompetent teachers, and turned the system around for the better. Included in Wash. D.C., was a voucher plan whereby students could attend a private school of their choice (just like Pres. Obama could do and does as a resident of public housing in Wash. D.C.). The plan only affected 1,500 students, but the results were better than expected, until the teacher's union couldn't stand the success of this program because it it showed positive results as opposed to the poor to mediocre performance of the public schools. After the unions went all out by lobbying the Congress (the Wash. D.C. Schools are financed by the U.S. Congress), the Congress, at that time controlled by the Democrats, voted to “defund” the voucher program, thereby sending 1,500 students back to the poor, less desirable Wash. D.C. public schools. What a compassionate thing to do? Not only was the union “successful” in getting the voucher program defunded, they also worked to get get Mayor Fendy defeated at the polls. In addition, when the pro-voucher Mayor was defeated, Michelle Rhee resigned. What a disgrace for the unions and the Democrat congressmen who cut off the funding for the voucher program, but also for the “stupid” voters who voted out of office a good education mayor. It looks like they cut off their nose to spite their face.

So, just like in business, the public schools need some competition to shake up the “status quo”. The bureaucracy of the public schools needs the competition to force them to innovate and to provide an educational environment that will keep students in their schools. With competition, the public schools must perform better or the students , who hunger to get a good education, will go elsewhere. If the public schools were doing their job properly, there would be no need for Charter or Voucher schools.

Let's bring competition to the public schools, like what is done in business, and see them flourish once again.

Conservative commentary by Chuck Lehmann

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Term Life Insurance said...

Great job Chuck in pointing out the real culprits in ripping decent schools from the poor children, who can perform, was BHO and Unions. It is mind boggling that the Rioters on Wall Street voted in BHO and Unions and they are keeping the “poor” poor. These Rioters are products of the school system which brain washes.

Don Nelson said...

There was a saying a few years back that went like this, "A mind is a terrible thing to waste". So why do the Democrats and their allies in the Teacher's Union, put up road blocks in trying to improve education for the children in the schools? These liberal loons should be sued for "educational malpractice". More money will not solve the problems we face, a change in attitude by putting the education of students first and their own self-interest second. That's the proper thing to do.