Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Problems in Education Caused by Government and Size

Having districts and schools get too big, and the rise of government interference, have been very devastating to education.  Districts getting too big cause schools to also get too big, as I have explained on my website, www.smallerschools.org.  The site also shows data supporting and explaining why size can be so negative.

Government interference mainly started when John Kennedy used education as an issue to get elected in 1960.  He blamed the schools for the USSR getting a man in space first.  This accomplishment had nothing to do with schools and everything to do with the fact that the USSR had spent so much of their budget in this pursuit, and we hadn’t.  By promising federal funds, he got just enough votes to win.  His successor, Lyndon Johnson, fulfilled this promise in 1965.  We did get to the moon first, but it was because we invested in NASA, not for anything the government did to or for the schools.  Federal funding was followed by legislation year after year, seldom with sufficient funding for implementation, adding to the burden imposed on local schools.  The legislation then invited judicial rulings that further increased requirements without funding

There were many educators who began to see, first in the federal government and later in states, a source of money and power by promising reform and training to improve teachers.  After almost 50 years, there is little evidence that these diversions of funding made any improvement.  Indeed most of the “reforms” in teaching only undermined good teaching, such as the constructivist-based philosophy of teaching, which produced such failed programs as Whole Language, New Math, and Open Schools.  Most of the efforts to reform teachers and the system have only complicated education and weighed down good teachers.

Until these events are reversed, education will only get more expensive, more complicated, and with less quality provided.