Education: Too Important for Politics

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Michelle Rhee, the school chancellor for Washington DC, roughly equivalent to our district superintendents, is likely on the way out. The reason is that the current mayor has been voted out, and a new mayor, financed and backed by the local teacher’s union, is in.

Why did the teacher’s union work so hard and spend so much of their dues to get rid of the current mayor? Because Michelle Rhee has been making life difficult for the school teachers. See, Michelle Rhee made educating the children her top priority. She decided that everything, from her administration to the teacher’s union to the schools themselves, should bow to ensure that the kids in DC had a chance to get an education.

Of course, this doesn’t make the teacher’s union happy. The last thing the teacher’s union wants to see is school children succeeding. Think about it. They get paid big bucks as long as education is a problem. Once kids start learning, there’s no more reason to reform schools and bring in expensive new programs and hire more teachers.

This has confirmed my suspicion. One of the biggest mistakes we have made as a country is entrusting education to our governments. Education and government does not mix any more than government and computer programming. The people were wrong to let politicians get in control, and we are paying for it as our kids get dumber and dumber each year. We are paying for it as Bill Gates and other technology leaders import educated children from India, China, and other successful countries.

Now, I am not arguing that politicians can do a good job managing education, or in some cases that they actually have done some good things. I am arguing that education is so important that the possibility of having politicians screwing it up, which is extraordinarily high, is too risky.

If you want real education reform, you will demand that government get out of the education business, from the highest to the lowest levels. At most, we should have local school boards, one for each school, and perhaps a small tax to support education within that community. Having government involved at any level beyond that is too risky for our children’s future.

Teachers, like everyone else, must live life realizing that there is not infinite resources to go around, that people expect results, not promises, and that it is not fair that they get to raise money from incomes that are financed by the taxpayers and then use that money to influence elections.

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