Every Child that Succeeds in Life is a Benefit to Society

January 10, 2022


“Socialism would be fed in small doses, until the country woke up with Communism. There would be no fight.  Americans will fall like over-ripe fruit from a tree.”   Nikita Khrushchev, leader of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union during the Cold War. 

Khrushchev’s vision is being fulfilled thru the American public school system. It must be recast so that each child, no matter what zip code or economic difficulties, has equal opportunity to attain their potential. The future of our nation depends on it.   

The first American schools were opened in Boston around 1635. All of the New England colonies set up schools and made education compulsory. Students paid tuition. In the 1800s elementary schools became tax-subsidized, and the United States had the highest literacy rate in the world. Whig Congressman Horace Mann, an educational reformer committed to public education, created a statewide system of professional teachers and attempted to develop a system where all students had the same content in their classes. By 1930 every state required compulsory elementary education for American children.  

Anti-Catholic and anti-Lutheran sentiment was strong in the 1840s. The Blaine Amendment to the Constitution forbade tax money to be used in their schools. Religious groups funded their own schools.  

Republicans were in power after the Civil War and opened 1,000 schools for black children and adults thru the Freedman’s Bureau. By 1865 more than 90,000 freedmen were enrolled as students. The curriculum was similar to schools in the north. Booker T. Washington was a dominant black political and educational leader until his death in 1915. He founded Tuskegee Institute and many other black colleges and high schools. By 1900 more than 30,000 black teachers had been trained and the black literacy rate rose to more than 50%.  

John Dewey is called the Father of American Education, but he was not an educator. Dewey was a social engineer who saw Socialism as the future of America. His efforts until his death in the 1950s were to promote Socialism thru the American education system. He has proved successful.  

Failures of the American Educational System have been addressed by many Presidents. President Ronald Reagan’s Administration published A Nation at Risk, in 1983 which states “All,? ?regardless? ?of? ?race? ?or? ?class? ?or? ?economic? ?status,? ?are? ?entitled? ?to? ?a? ?fair chance? ?and? ?to? ?the? ?tools? ?for? ?developing? ?their? ?individual? ?powers? ?of? ?mind? ?and spirit? ?to? ?the? ?utmost.?” 

Lyndon Johnson passed the Secondary Education Act of 1965, and there has been $200 billion in Federal spending for this since that Act. President George Bush signed the No Child Left Behind Act at a cost of over $140 billion. President Obama signed an executive order to improve educational outcomes for African Americans, and his Department of Education Budget increased nearly $70 billion in 2013. 

The Trump Administration backed various methods thru which parents could choose the school their child attended. This was done through charter schools, vouchers, educational savings accounts, and scholarship programs. He modernized Federal student aid systems, committing $255 million annual funding for historically Black Colleges and Universities, and increased Federal Pell Grant programs. He created the 1776 Commission to ensure that American children know history. These were steps in the right direction if allowed to continue. 

Rhetoric from President Biden claims to help teachers, and students in low-income zip codes; but his actions show otherwise. He called for a ban on federal funds for charter schools, and he opposes vouchers.  

Well-intended government programs and regulations have spent billions of taxpayer dollars, but have not solved the crisis of failing schools and unequal educational systems. School district funding is based on property taxes, and there are wide differences in funding between wealthy and poor districts. Educational experience differs between rich and poor zip codes.  

The public education system fails many, especially those in the poorest zip codes who receive sub-standard education. Most parents in the worst zip codes with the worst schools do not have the financial ability for a better school. Young people who are not prepared for life and the skills necessary for gainful employment are no benefit to themselves or to society. In some zip codes, school is merely the pathway to prison.  

If a foreign power had taken over the American School System and imposed the classroom standards used today, some might call it an act of war. Public schools emphasize social outcomes, political correctness, skin color, sexual orientation, critical race theory, socialism, and whatever is deemed right by political leaders. Modern technology requires that a person have the ability to read, communicate, compute, and complete thoughts in complex ways to be productive in today’s workforce. To maintain American global leadership, our education system must prepare all students to meet the challenges of the future.  

For decades the top-down approach used by the Federal Government to improve the American Educational System has spent billions of taxpayer dollars, but it has failed. Politicians talk about thinning the achievement gap. The way to do that is to allow parents of all children, regardless of zip code, to decide which is the best school for their child. It may be a traditional public school, a charter school, inter- or intra-district public school, a private school, a magnet school, a parochial/religious school, a technical school, or whatever is the best fit for that child.  

Letting parents decide, which financial constraints would otherwise not allow, can be accomplished by Educational Savings Accounts - where the $$ follows the child, School Vouchers, Tax-Credit Education Savings Accounts, Tax-Credit Scholarships, and/or Individual Tax Credit Deductions. These methods of giving parents control to choose the school that best fits the needs of their child have been accomplished in some states, and such legislation is pending in some states.  

Parents living in a poor zip code with an under-performing public school would be relieved of the financial burden when choosing a school that best fits the needs of their child. This would be a major step in narrowing the achievement gap, and ending the cycle of young adults unprepared with the skills needed to be self-sufficient and productive in life. , 

California leads the country in stupid, weird and crazy schemes. California has some of the widest achievement gaps in the country. About 20% of Black students meet math standards and about 33% meet English language standards and goals. To manage this gap, and improve chances of low-performing high school students getting into one of California’s public colleges, some school districts are dropping D and F grades. Problem solved! 

HUH??

There are two initiatives involving yearly voucher payments per child put into Educational Savings Accounts that are working toward the California November Ballot. There are variances of methods of the two initiatives. Both give the parents the ability to decide where the child goes to school, the $$ follows the student. If both initiatives acquire enough signatures to be on the ballot, the one with the highest number of votes in November will become law.  

This seems a grand way to overhaul the California School System. Give parents the ability to decide which is the best school for their child, and narrow the achievement gap. Let us hope this becomes a movement for every state in the nation.  

President Ronald Reagan said, “…the American people, properly informed, would do what is right for their children.”  Giving parents control over where their child goes to school is right for the children, and right for our nation. 


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The internationally published writer is a former English teacher, stockbroker, and owner/president of a small corporation.  She is active with Republican Women Federated, The Coachella Valley Lincoln Club, The California Republican Party, and Armed Services YMCA- 29 Palms Marine Base.  She can be reached at  darlenecasella@msn.com