Put Public Education Out Of Its Misery Already

Amen to Erik Lidström’s title above, and here was the introductory sentence to his post at The Federalist: “We cannot improve our kids’ education together.” Some of us have been writing about the fact that you can’t fix the public schools for over a decade. Here is Lidström from earlier this month:

Wouldn’t it be great if we could implement some grand scheme to ensure that all children, regardless of where they live, regardless of who their parents are, get a good education?

Those who oppose Common Core, or Race to the Top, or No Child Left Behind are often nevertheless convinced that government should carry out some other kind of school reform, possibly under the auspices of the individual states. Lately, copying Finland has been a popular idea, although their government system is also beginning to crumble.

Many believe charter schools (public schools freed from many regulations) should be given more freedom and their numbers expanded. Some libertarians argue it is ethically wrong for the government to provide universal, “free,” and compulsory education, and that education should be left to the parents. But libertarians may also feel the positive ring that “providing all children with a high-quality education” has to it.

In my forthcoming book, Education Unchained: What it takes to restore schools and learning, I take a different approach to the role of government in education. I demonstrate that we simply cannot reform the education of “our” children “together.” The good thing is, we could easily make changes that, within a few years, would provide virtually all children with a kind of education superior to anything that has come before. But we simply cannot do it “together.”

Government Isn’t the Answer—We Are

In fact, almost no matter what kind of government reform we carry out, the quality of education in the United States, Britain, or my native Sweden will at best remain in its current abysmal state. But most commonly the net outcome of a government reform will be that education quality deteriorates even further. Despite their enthusiasm and good will, charter schools and home schoolers today constitute not even halfway houses towards reform. They are more like a tenth of a way towards it, even though in the future both groups may become the sources of great education.

Read more: The Federalist

Image credit: www.capitalismmagazine.com.