The Pathetic Performance of Government (Public) Schools

Recently, Fox News’ The Five addressed the subject of school choice. Bob Beckel, liberal voice on the roundtable, responded to a call for school vouchers by saying, “that would destroy the public schools.”

My response would have been, “Bob, how do you destroy rubble?”

Today the Buffalo News reports that, according to NY State Education Dept. data, the four-year graduation rate in the city’s schools is up (yes, up – by 6 %!) to 54%. Granted that this is one report in one newspaper regarding one school system, but the performance figure is not uncommon among urban school districts around the country. For example, the News article mentions that Buffalo’s figure is higher than Rochester and Syracuse, NY – both scoring in the 40’s.

This is an accomplishment? Enough people apparently find this performance acceptable because year after year not much changes, except the ever-rising spending – often coupled with declining enrollment. It’s a shame the student’s don’t see any of it, as fees for extracurricular activities are becoming ubiquitous and the ‘ required school supplies’ list is longer and longer as the student advances though the grades.

Imagine the same boast from neighborhood businesses with which we deal regularly:

‘Welcome to the butcher shop – 54 % of our meat isn’t spoiled.’

“Corner grocer – 54 % of our vegetables are fresh.”

“Auto repair shop – we fix your car right 54 % of the time.”

And each one of those could add, ‘…and our prices are continually rising because we can keep out the competition!’

Who would voluntarily walk into any of these businesses and part with their hard-earned money? Yet that’s what millions of parents are forced to do because they can’t afford to pay their government-school taxes and private school tuition too.

It’s time for this country to decide exactly who is to be the beneficiary of our publically funded and operated school districts.

Is the purpose of the school district to provide a good living and lifelong retirement benefits to the teachers and administrators and by extension, their union bosses who get wealthy off the taxpayer dollars they launder through the staff’s paychecks?

Or is the purpose of the schools to educate the children so they can be productive citizens and the future leaders of our country in their adulthood? (If they also had a basic understanding of the country’s founding principles including freedom and capitalism – and how our country has benefited from them – that would be great, too.)

If you believe the latter, then it’s time to stand up and demand that school tax revenues belong to the children, not to the bureaucrats that feel entitled to their endless benefits – and offended by the suggestion that they should actually contribute to them, like the rest of us have done for years if not decades.

It’s time for the adults in the room to grow up, decide, and really put the kids first for a change. If that is defined as ‘destroying’ the public schools as we know them, I say good riddance because the schools, as currently operating, are destroying a lot of futures.