Americans live today in an education discrimination society in which a student can only attend public school where they live. Many young children are condemned to poor education and challenging life simply by their home address. Moreover, children with learning differences have to sue their school district in order to receive a school voucher to attend a school that can address their learning differences. Choice in education is the #1 civil rights issue of our time. Everyone agrees that a good education is critical to becoming a productive worker and responsible taxpaying citizen. Let’s give every young child the chance to attend the very best schools without any government barriers to entry. Also, because a free market society is so focused on productive gains as soon as possible, there is a natural tendency to delay making large investments today for a longer-term national strategic advantage. In short, the market is not rewarded sufficiently to make significant long term social service investments that benefits all participants.
Proposed Solution: ‘Empower Our Children’ Act
- Parents and their students should be able to take their own tax money (eg property taxes) via a voucher and apply in a regular application process to any public, parochial, or private school they feel best suits their children’s needs. In-district residents have first priority on their public school, but qualified students from other districts should have the opportunity to attend higher performing schools to which they are admitted. Vouchers will motivate great schools to invest to get even better, make poor performing schools accountable to improve or lose students, and allow all students to attend the best school they can.
- We must eliminate tenure relating to employment status in public K-12 schools. A union is free to pay tenure to members without regard to work status just like a pension, but each school administration needs the ability to retain the best teaching team possible including terminating tenured teachers.
- We can create public-private ‘education trusts’ in counties across America, in which private individuals and companies fund with pre-tax contributions of cash and/or appreciated stock. These trusts can distribute performance compensation to high performance schools and teachers. High performance means a) helping improve student performance over prior year and b) maintaining high performance. Performance includes both academic and non-academic extracurricular performance (eg arts, music, sports, and volunteer participation rates). This will motivate counties and school districts to compete for performance funds by making their ‘total education’ product better and creating ‘best practices’. These public-private regulated trusts are close to each community and will be responsible to a) identify and share best practices for all schools and b) allocate funds to schools based on standard performance tools leveraging existing STAR test resources. School administration would have freedom to distribute funds to teachers with standard reporting accountability on-line to the trust and general public.
- In order to attract a greater number of qualified teachers to the profession, we need to prioritize teaching as a profession. Therefore, we could waive federal income tax on the first $100,000 of combined household income for full-time teachers in federally-qualified K-12 schools (public, private, or parochial schools) especially in the most needy school districts based on class size and/or performance levels. This will motivate more highly educated adults to join teaching profession at some point in the career including those with engineering or science skills.
We want to empower students with choice, administration with flexibility and performance programs, and teachers with performance compensation and job mobility.
Proposed Solutions hot links: Work; Home; Education; Retirement; Health Care; Immigration; Rejuvenation & Relationships