If a person starts a small business, and fails to meet a market need, it will not make a profit and will go bankrupt and be out of business. But, if the company does meet a market need, it can make a profit, stay in business, and perhaps grow and expand.
Our government structures are different as they do not require a department to effectively meet the market need for which they were established in order to continue. In fact, history has shown that quite often, when a bureaucratic department fails to meet the needs for which is was established, it simply demands more tax dollars to grow and expand . . . and that process is repeated time after time. That's how we get bureaucratic bullies who ignore the demands of our legislators.
President Franklin Roosevelt warned of having federal unions with bargaining rights. People didn't heed his warnings and now we have out of control bureaucrats who can't be fired, and when they do get "punished" for bad behavior, they are rewarded with an extended paid administrative leave.
Using education as an example, in 1977 President Carter established the Department of Education. In doing so, the federal government usurped a right that the Constitution left to the states. Since that time, billions and billions of dollars have been, and continue to be spent every year, in an attempt to provide our youth with the best, high-quality education that is possible. However, the results have been going the wrong way . . . the desired objectives are not being met.
The Programme for International Student Assessment, (PISA) has shown that we are not meeting our "market needs," but are showing mediocre results as compared to other developed nations even though our annual per pupil dollar investment is at the top of the list. For example, a recent PISA report showed that our performance is continuing to decline . . . we dropped from 24th to 29th in math, from 19th to 22nd in science, and from 10th to 20th in reading. How do we react to that? President Obama's FY 2017 Budget provides for $69.4 billion in discretionary funding and $139.7 billion in new mandatory funding for the U.S. Department of Education. Is that rewarding failure?
As part of that new mandatory spending the department is requesting new preschool programs for 4-year-olds with $1.3 billion in mandatory funding in 2017, and $75 billion over 10 years to pay for the president's "Preschool for All" proposal. This is somewhat alarming as it somewhat quickly follows mandatory kindergarten, which increased school teacher ranks by 8.3 percent. This new proposal would add another 7.7 percent to the teacher ranks; a 16 percent increase in teacher union membership during the current administration. According to the National Center for Education, our annual el-hi education cost is $621 billion, or $12,401 per pupil. A 16 percent increase could result in public school costs increasing by over $99 billion annually.
There should also be some serious concern over the "indoctrination" of the child at such impressionable young ages. At those young ages, the values to be taught should be in the hands of the parents.
Another serious concern is whether our children are being used as sop to the unions for their political support. Just think, what will a possible 16 percent increase in union dues "buy" our politicians?
Another issue concerning education is the high school dropout rates. Graduation rates had been running at about 70 percent nationwide, with a great number of urban areas only registering a 50-50 split between graduation and dropout numbers. The government is patting itself on the back for achieving an historic 81 percent graduation rate. However, it appears that the bureaucracies may have done some "cooking of the books" to achieve that number. A report by New Hampshire Public Radio turned up evidence that some schools don't report dropouts as dropouts, but classify them as having left the country, or as being home schooled. Others provided low credit "diplomas" that are not accepted as qualifying for entry into a state college, and another provided "appeals," granting diplomas to students who simply could not qualify academically. Sounds something like the Veteran's Administration scandal . . . if you can't meet the objectives honestly, just pretend that you did. After all, the headline still reads that an historic achievement had been reached. Here is the link to the NHNPR report: http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2015/06/09/412939852/high-school-graduation-rates-the-good-the-bad-and-the-ambiguous
Consider setting uniform standards that "must" be met for both public and private schools, and then having a per pupil cost of 75 percent of the existing amount follow the pupil. If the parent's choose the public school, that school gets that amount. If the parent's opt for a private school, including parochial schools, those schools get that amount. We shouldn't be afraid to let "free enterprise" compete with our bureaucracies, both will perform at a higher level than they do now . . . and, the children will be the beneficiaries.
(Bob Meade is a Laconia resident.)
- Category: Columns
- Hits: 386