Public education and in fact education in general has major flaws within. Poor unsuitable teachers, useless standardized testing, public education's lack of funding, shuffling kids from a d-f school into successful ones, and for the most part a general lack of knowledge gained by students through the school system. Of course there are the few exceptions.
So by reforming the education system (that is privatizing the whole system) can we effectively tackle all of these problems? More importantly though, through privatizing education how do we guarantee that every child in America will have access to a proper education?
I spent about an hour to an hour and a half (before my Latin Literature class) writing out a very basic proposal which involves and entirely privatized base with a combination of State and Federal regulations/funding.
-Certification of teachers: Potential higher-education teachers are certified by the state government. Classes that involve a certified teacher are biology, physics, chemistry, economics, calculus/pre-calculus, algebra-based classes, statistics, higher level literature/creative writing classes, etc. Certification simply involves whether or not an individual has a bachelors degree in or similar to the field of study or a significant amount of work experience in that field (min. 5 years). For example, a biology teacher must have at least a bachelors degree in biology, any math teacher must at least have a bachelors degree involving the subject such as engineering, an economics teacher must have some sort of a business degree, etc.
This certification effort is suppose to tackle the unqualified teacher issue by preventing the individuals who have a degree in education from teaching higher education classes! These people shouldn't be involved in teaching these upper level courses in high school, because they just don't have the experience! How can you have any experience in chemistry, much less be able to teach chemistry, with a degree in education!?
-Certification of schools: Schools must provide a set variety and amount of classes in order to be certified as a legitimate education institution. Certification is instituted by the state governments.
-Standardized testing: By privatizing education altogether, there will simply be no need for standardized testing, as if there was a need before. The AP and ACT tests are a part of the standards (along with legitimate grades) in determining whether or not a student is qualified for a college education.
-Funding families of all incomes: Quite a simple proposal. Take the money each state spends on education a year for each student (A national average of $10,615 /year, www.npr.org) and redistribute that money as a specialized government check to families with students attending k-12. As of 2008, it costs on average $8,549 /year to send a student to a private school (www.capenet.org) So if a family has 2 students attending school, the family will receive 2 checks of ~$11,000 (with a limit of 3 checks per family, 1 per student) Like food stamps, this check can only be used to pay for debts involving a legitimate educational institution. But once again, these are state dollars, not federal dollars.
By making these funding dollars state oriented, education will finally become an important part of the state budget, not the first thing to be slashed! This is because cutting the education budget has a direct effect on whether or not families (of various incomes) can afford the education institution that they desire! This regulated funding is to assure every child's right to a proper education.
Excess dollars from checks may be exchanged for education bonds with a set among of interest gained /year, in an effort to save for college tuition. Bonds can be exchanged at any time for a specialized check.
-Preventing Cheating: What incentive does a private school (or any school) have in preventing cheating and an inflated grade point average? None. If a student is suspected of cheating, it is verified by an on campus government official who simply records the incident and informs the student and parents that he/she cheated. On the third incident, all federal funding is relinquished from the student and appears on a permanent, visible record. Colleges and testing organizations will be able to view this record and see that this student has history of cheating.
Some good questions to discuss:
Do you expect the cost of private education to increase or decrease on the whole if this proposal was implemented?
Will there be a shortage of certified teachers?
What about religion's influence in private schools? Should we expect an increase in the amount of private schools which do not affiliate themselves with a religion?
How are consequently abandoned public school properties managed?
If major companies start to involve themselves in the business of private education, how should we regulate what they advertise to students? E.g. McDonnalds or Big Tabacco starting a private school franchise