Posted BY: Donald P. Nielsen

The American public education system is failing our children. That fact is revealed by the recent National Assessment of Educational Progress exam scores. The reality is that 77% of high school seniors are not proficient in the core subjects after 13 years of schooling. 

No entity — private or public — should survive with this lack of performance. Yet, perhaps our most important public institution has not only been allowed to fail miserably but has consistently received increased funding to do so without any accountability. 

Every few years, a new program is introduced that will supposedly improve our schools. For example, “Goals 2000,” “No Child Left Behind,” “Common Core,” etc. None of these initiatives has made any significant positive difference. Instead, they only drive up costs to taxpayers.

If we want to effectively educate all of our children, a new education system is needed — not a tweak of the existing system and certainly not more money.

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Student Focused, Not Adult Focused

Unions may not be the sole cause of the obsolete system, but they are the major constraint to fixing it. A union’s mission is to improve member compensation, enhance member working conditions, and protect member employment. Our teacher unions do a fantastic job of achieving this mission. Unfortunately, this mission statement has nothing to do with the education of children. As a consequence, they focus solely on the needs of adults. For change to occur, the power unions wield in our education system must be constrained, and a new system that focuses on the needs of students must be established.

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