National School Choice Week began two days ago with an eight-member panel at a middle school in Jersey City. The results are shocking. Something is very, very wrong with public education in America today. Any parent who does not know this yet, will know it after reviewing the material that the panelists presented.
National School Choice Week
Former NJ State Senator Richard J. LaRossa. Photo: CNAV
National School Choice Week is a project by hundreds of concerned current and former legislators, teachers, and current and education officials. They seek to give all parents, regardless of income, a choice in where to send their children to school. Do that, they say, and even government schools would have to compete for their pupils. When service providers compete, they either improve or die. That is the iron law of capitalism. School choice activists see no reason not to apply it to schooling.
But of course, teachers’ unions cannot allow anyone to compete with the government monopoly. (Yet the same politicians who accept teachers’ union money, always send their children to elite private schools.) Politicians have a choice. Higher-income earners have a choice. Middle- and lower-income earners do not. Paying twice for schooling, once in school taxes and again in private-school tuition, is not an option for many families. School choice activists want to remove the need for parents to pay twice.
The NJ school choice panel
RoseAnn Salanitri, head of the New Jersey Tea Party Caucus, introduces the school choice panel in Jersey City. Photo: CNAV
Eight activists, including a former New Jersey State Senator, a former Colorado commissioner of education, and an ex-Marine, met at the Franklin J. Williams Middle School in Jersey City on Sunday, January 22. They held a thought-provoking discussion. Bob Bowdon, producer of the seminal schooling documentary The Cartel, led the panel. RoseAnn Salanitri of the New Jersey Tea Party Caucus, and Nicholas E. Purpura of the Jersey Shore Tea Party Patriots, introduced the panel. (See the embedded videos of the entire event.)
The panelists indicted the current government school model on several grounds. Colleges must re-instruct new students, many of whom read and write at fourth-grade level. (They call this “remedial instruction.”) The colleges that train teachers, pretend to train them in the art and the “psychology” of teaching but make no effort to train them in the subjects they will teach. State Departments of Education then certify them to teach, though they might know nothing about their subjects! One frustrated panelist said,
The requirements for graduation are now no better than the requirements to get out of prison: time served, and good behavior!
Meaning that only by disrupting class, destroying school property, cutting school, being always late for school, etc., can anyone fail to graduate. Discipline problems are often rife in some schools, but that was the least of the issues for which the panelists condemned the government schools.
Terrence Moore, school choice advocate. Photo: CNAV
Panelist Terrence Moore (the ex-Marine) described an interview with a teacher candidate:
She said, “I have taught reading with a variety of methods, including some phonics.”
So I asked her what sounds the letter A makes.
She said, “Uh…uh…do you mean like Long A and short A?”
And I said, “Sorry, lady. Any kindergarten student already knows that the letter A makes four different sounds: Ay, Aah, Uh, and Aw. Thus, you say ‘father,’ not ‘fayther.’
Nor did they neglect the politicians, or fail to discuss solutions. They discussed all types of school choice and school alternatives, like charter schools, voucher systems, and homeschooling. But they also discussed how to make school choice happen: parents have to care enough to change the system.