Its interesting how disease occupies the media. Take the recent Ebola outbreak for example. like any potential epidemic it must be taken seriously; however the amount of time given the current outbreak makes one wonder why so little attention is given to the failure of the education system that has for five decades afflicted thousands of young people in this country.
Government-run education is hazardous to your child. It is not an airborne disease nor is it spread by contact with bodily fluids but it is a contagion caused by poor public policies_OLD and regulations; top-down control which fails to resolve the root causes of failure. Symptoms may not show themselves for some time. When they do, symptoms include an inability to read or do simple arithmetic, functional illiteracy, a feeling of having been cheated or discriminated against, incarceration, unemployment and dependency on parents or government programs for food, shelter, income, healthcare and other normal expectations fulfilled by uninfected men or women prepared for a productive life.
The public education system wants you to believe top-down, government run schools are not that hazardous to your child. Really? In Delaware children exposed to government-run education drop out at a high rate. Incoming high school freshman have a 25% greater chance of dropping out. Incoming college freshmen have a 30% dropout rate. And, many of those who stay will require six years to complete a four year degree because they are not prepared by their primary and secondary school experience.
The lingering effects of government run education can be devastating. Here are our top ten facts about how government-run schools are harming students, compared to students who do not attend a government-run school.2
1. The hazards do not discriminate by gender or ethnicity. Across the nation the Average Freshman Dropout Rate (AFGR) for females is 18%, males 28%, Blacks 31%, Hispanics 30% and Whites 19%.1
2. High school dropouts are 3.5 times more likely to be arrested than high school graduates.
3. High school dropouts are more than 8 times as likely to be incarcerated.
4. More than 30% of teenage girls will drop out due to pregnancy.
5. A high school dropout will earn rougly $1 million dollars less than a college graduate -- IF he or she can find a job.
6. This vicious cycle perpetuates itself because it is generational; one-third of the children of teenage moms will become dropouts themselves.
7. The consequences of government-run education go beyond the individual. It is costly to taxpayers, government and families.
8. Total cost of a K-12 education in Delaware is estimated to be as high $240,000 and $350,000 to educate one student from Kindergarten through a bachelors degree.3
9. It is estimated that Americans who, due to poor education quality, are ill-prepared to become responsible working adults deprive the government of as much $260,000 in tax revenue over the citizens lifetimes.
10. Parents and/or students unprepared for college will pay as much as 50% more for a four-year degree (40% t of students require six years to complete a four-year degree).
More top-down government programs and services administered through the education system is not the answer.
The solution is enabled when all families have the freedom to choose the best fit classroom education for their children and they are capable of paying for their decision.
With the fourth largest Department of Education by population, Delaware’s education system is more bloated than most states. Despite misleading statements about local control, more and more decisions are made above the school level and more policies_OLD and regulations that benefit agendas outside the classroom have to be complied with. Families who want to send their children to another school but who dont have the financial means to do so are compelled to put their children in a traditional public system more focused on government programs than educating children.
The callousness of decades of government programs that year-after-year use your child’s failure as an alibi for more spending is unconscionable. It is time to reject the tyranny of "experts" and recognize the vital importance of parents and teachers in community schools.
True change will require taxpayers, families and local leaders to show up, to create a base with the size, strength, and election clout to upset a status quo that benefits others in the system (others who are not teachers and principals who actually touch your children); large enough so the political system clearly hears the demand for parental choice options that directly benefit children and the classroom.
To start, contact your local representative and senator and tell them you want them to support legislation that funds parents’ right to choose the best education opportunity for their children. Legislation like the Parent Empowerment Education Savings Account Act (PEESAA) 4 tabled by the House of Representatives last year and will be reintroduced this year.
To find your senator: http://legis.delaware.gov/Legislature.nsf/LDS?OpenPage and your representative: http://legis.delaware.gov/Legislature.nsf/LDR?OpenPage
Senior Policy Advisor
Caesar Rodney Institute
1 Stetser and Stillwell, Public High School Four-Year On-time Graduation Rates and Event Dropout Rates: School Years 2010-2011 and 2011-2012; National Center for Education Research, USDOE; p 13
3 The cost of education is significantly underreported and underestimated by the population. Delaware Department of Education reports only the operational cost $12,734 which excludes capital, infrastructure and other costs. Some studies show Delaware’s cost is understated by as much as 40%. The National Institute of Early Education Research (NIEER) at Rutgers University reports a 2013 cost Pre-school pupil of $6,795 and K-12 cost per pupil $18,992 which is similar to CRI’s $18,518 estimate.
4 Delaware HB 353, The Parent Empowerment Education Savings Account Act (PEESAA), provides children in all income levels equal access to education opportunities. The provisions of this act allow parents, at their discretion, to withdraw their children from public district or charter schools and receive a deposit of all or a part of public funds into government-authorized savings account which they can access through a debit card with restricted, but multiple, uses. Parents can use them for different schooling options at their discretion, including private school tuition, educational therapies, online learning programs, homeschool curriculum, tutoring, and even future college expenses. The bill sponsored in the House by Rep. Deborah Hudson (R-Fairthorne), and co-sponsored by Rep. Daniel Short (R-Seaford) was tabled. The bill is also being sponsored in the Senate by Senators Gary Simpson (R-Milford) and Gregory Lavelle (R-Sharply). The sponsors intend to move the bill forward next year.