I can agree there is not a findamental difference in "what" needs to be taught.
But I cant disagree strongly enough that there are 50 different ways to deliver it. Why can't SC decide to do all education through the internet etc?
I would not have a problem with customizing modalities and that kind of thing.
But you can't have SC deciding to teach creationism or tobacco farming while California and Maryland teach organic chemistry and Freidman economics. Tobacco farming might be important in some areas of SC but they are not what citizens of the United States need to know. If we get to the point that all students are so well educated that there is extra time to teach tobacco farming, quantum physics, creationism, or Koran study as electives then I'd have no problem with that.
But at this point there are only a handful of states of the 50 that are even meeting the most basic standards for even a minority of students. Most colleges report that 60-75% or higher of the incoming freshman class over the last decade or two do not meet minimum abilities in reading, math, or writing. And remember, that is the fraction of the college-bound students. If you include all high school graduates the statistics become embarrassing.
We have a a lot of problems to address before we start letting every school distric decide what is important.
Let's agree to disagree about the cream rising to the top of the political system. It's off topic.
Fine. But your argument is that local politicians would be better at establishing education policy. That would only be true if local politicians were smarter or otherwise better qualified. I don't agree it is off topic but I can agree to let you believe what you wish.
I believe that the public eduation would do better if the money was raised and spent as locally as possible. We already have national standards of education, just like other countries. It doesnt seem to be helping very much. In my opinion the system is broken but the only answer being forwarded is... spend more... we already spend more then any other country and the product we get is worse and worse...
One major problem with your local funding approach is rich areas would be much better funded than poor areas. That might not seem terrible on the surface but it leads to institutionalized poverty. I am not a big fan of redistribution of wealth. Frankly, I want to keep what I've earned. But I also think every student should have the opportunity to succeed even if his parents did not. And that just doesn't happen in the system you describe. It has been tried in this country and the results were not good.
I suspect... (i would argue that it is absolute but ...again) I suspect that it is PARENTAL involvement... that leads to better education. Imagine a US where you can only claim your child as a dependant if they maintain a c average...or go to the next grade...something... to make parents part of it. How about charge more taxes on parents whose children get into trouble at school, fine them, etc? How about not trying to treat all children equally and accept that some kids need different things and start seperating into schools that specialize into various courses of study?
Here we could not agree more. I think your system is an excellent idea. Let's hold parents accountable for their kids behavior and education. Remember the private school I mentioned? After about 8 years of association with the school my opinion of what makes it work did not change from what I observed at kindergarten orientation. It was parental involvement. All parents and often extended family were very involved. Some parents were contractors, some doctors, one was a law school dean, and a couple had ordinary jobs in stores or whatever. I sat next to all sorts of people in those tiny chairs during "parents nights" or other school functions. They were all normal people but shared the common trait that they cared about their child's education!
The DoD schools work in a similar way - there is a great deal of parental involvement. I understand those schools were terrible 25-30 years ago but are now excellent.
Yeah, Germany has some good things going. Actually much of Europe has a similar system. I think it is a decent system but is maybe a little too socialist for US sensibilities. I went to a year of school in Europe so I'm pretty familiar with the details. I was not in Germany but the system where I was is almost identical.
It seems to me though that, aside from the individual states having operational control, the schools are the same everywhere. Unless I am mistaken, the national government defines the curriculum and other details. If I'm not mistaken, the funding is also largely from the national government, more so even than here.
I don't think the problem with schools here is with funding. I think it is with how money is spent. People point to things like busing to a correct discrimination and say that that is a waste of money. It might be. But in many areas the money spent for that is small compared to waste elsewhere. Schools pay outrageous salaries to multiple levels of administrators then argue they can't afford teachers. Compare that to a factory with 200 assembly line workers and one plant manager! A school might have 30 teachers and 15-20 administrators.