IN MY OPINION by Kirby Urner 4D Solutions Silicon Forest
<<Only by giving parents control over their children's education funds can they secure good schooling when their children need it -- today. At the same time, the remedy will create a powerful catalyst for failing public schools to get their acts together.>>
Clint's solution sounds a lot like Haim's: lift some numbers from the accounting, pretend you could put that in each parent's pocket, and set them free to choose from a greater range of know-nothing schools.
With money like that in circulation (in the form of vouchers, to keep it from turning to cigs and beer), lots of parents would have the bright idea to set up their own Jazeebos, tax-exempt religious centers aimed at providing services for a fee (i.e. for those vouchers).
The plan'd be to redeem those vouchers and gradually build a better curriculum, so as to retain and/or increase student enrollment over the long haul. A cash cow for us all (lip smacking noises).
What this scheme overlooks is the tax infrastructure was not set up to pipe money through mom and pop storefronts. Rather, a massively bureaucratic, hugely expensive machine has monopolized the vista for some decades, and simply unplugging its life-line, now telling it to "go get a real job" (while parents collude on new ventures) isn't really good physics.
The inertia of all that crashing and burning needs to be taken into account.
Irresponsible policy-proposers like Haim don't give a rip about the consequences of pulling the plug, as he thinks only a corrupt bunch of "ayatollah mafioso types" are running it anyway, so let them fry in their own hell.
The eager beaver teachers, newly recruited, the jaded pros looking at retirement, don't really figure into his plans.
Just hit the reset button, and watch it all "self heal" I guess is his recipe -- always trust that invisible hand to do what no amount of social engineering ever could (ah, free market mysticism -- so prevelant, so worthless).
Responsible policy-makers, on the other hand, don't even start with the money. It's not about money but about content.
What actually goes on in those classrooms, what do we actually teach? That's the debate we need to be having, now, not down the road when we've already thrown the switches and given birth to yet *another* monster we can't control.
If your would-be leaders just point you to tempting numbers (like, who couldn't use an extra $19K), and get you dreaming about your fatter wallet, you can be sure they're not really telling it straight.
Why? Because real teachers make sense, don't just spew a lot of big talk about money (especially other people's money). If you're looking for leaders, find people who actually know stuff worth teaching for a change. Apply duck typing: if it sounds like spam, reads like spam, then it's probably spam -- even if the pundit's kinda pretty, telegenic or whatever (telespam).
My advice: join our curriculum writing teams, collaborate on cable TV projects, upload to You-Tube or Google TV -- or all of the above and then some.
Like, if you want to get into the teaching business, start building a track record. Then, when you can prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that you've really got what it takes to go public, then why not join a public school, or form a new one?
Charter it or whatever, or take it on the road with federal grant-giving, under the auspices of some recognized agency or mandate.
Don't throw away over two-hundred years of experience in designing public works. Make our commons smarter, better, rather than peeling off.
Integrate into our democracy, instead of heading out on your own with that crazy Jazeebo idea. Why make your best effort a competing religion? Why make it more uphill than it needs to be?
The solution should *not* require creating more "options" from the same old cookie cutters. We don't need more cults, especially more money-worshipping ones (we have a surplus of those already).
The solution should be about really buckling down and doing some serious homework. Real scholarship is our game, not just clever marketing.
Don' stay stuck on the surface. Dive head first into learning.