Between 1950 and 2009, American public schools experienced a 96 percent increase in student population. During that time, the number of administrators and other staff increased by over seven times the increase in students. This staffing surge still exists today, but the promised benefits are nowhere to be seen.
Source: The Failure of Public Schooling in One Chart | Foundation for Economic Education
The source article is a great piece from Daniel J. Mitchell because it succinctly and effectively sums up what is wrong with public education; however, it ends there.
At some point, we need to realize not only that a problem exists, not only that it is severe, but that it cannot in anyway be corrected by or from within the very structure of human organization which allowed it to evolve and survive in a deficient state – in this case, that organizational structure is government – ever subject to the whims of political successors.
No disrespect to the Cato Institute; it produces some fantastic analyses on a broad range of topics. But like most other political think tanks, it fails when the author or another subject offers a non-solution such as:
“Juan concludes his column with a plea for diversity, innovation, and competition… …He’s right, but he should focus his ire on his leftist friends and colleagues. They’re the ones (including the NAACP!) standing in the proverbial schoolhouse door and blocking the right kind of education reform.”
The conclusion is correct in that education would improve from greater diversity, innovation and competition. But then, logic, sound economics and reality were abandoned. The author then adds where Juan’s focus should be – on the left side of the political spectrum.
Given that public education has been under the direction of both ends of the political spectrum, and in reality usually the combination thereof, this clearly isn’t a solution.
The real problem is government itself – not the people, the structure. As a form of human organization, it cannot systematically and sustainably cleanse itself of virtually any ill whether it waste, inefficiency, or graft. Just look at the 40-year trend in the above graph in cost versus performance versus the number of employees.
It is not a right or left problem. It is a structural problem; one that cannot be resolved by politics – ever. Only the free market under one rule of law positively applied to all persons can provide diversity, innovation and competition in education. If you understand the fundamentals of business, and in particular entrepreneurialism; and then centralizing forces of government, you known that this not opinion – it is fact. More choice is always more power. Government cannot provide real choice.
If you really want broad-based educational improvement, then cut to the chase: get government out of education, and do it now.
Note: The views expressed are solely the opinion of the author.
Conceptual and title source: Daniel J. Mitchell from his blog originally published on fee.org. The Failure of Public Schooling in One Chart | Foundation for Economic Education
Media source: www.fee.org