On Oct. 17, 1979, Jimmy Carter created the Department of Education. The legacy of nationalizing education is the cost per student increased dramatically, test scores decreased and job skills decreased. Local school boards have less control over nearly every aspect of their school.
In 1993, the Missouri State Legislature passed SB380 Outstanding Schools Act. This widely touted bill was the fix all for all that was wrong with our public schools. The legacy of SB380 is that it empowered DESE and the State School Board to take over any school not performing to the state standards.
“Teaching to the test” was created by SB 380 and it stole valuable time from the instruction the parents, local school boards, and teachers thought was most important. It ended a teacher’s ability to truly run her own classroom.
SB 380 put state mandates on local school boards, taking away local control.
SB380 in 1993 was the largest tax increase in Missouri history.
This 40-plus year experiment in top down control of education is an expensive failure. Home school, Christian schools, and private schools frequently outperform public schools.
And yet the state’s heavy hand is here too, Murray Rothbard explains: “…in the current system, the state has found a way in the United States, to induce the private schools to teach state supremacy without outlawing private schools. By enforcing certification for minimum standards, the state effectively, though subtly, dominates the private schools and makes them, in effect, extensions of the public school system. Only removal of compulsory schooling and enforced standards will free the private schools and permit them to function in independence.”
It’s time for a real change in education. First step should be for Missouri to opt out of all federal mandates and programs. Second step is for the Missouri Legislature to give 100% control back to local school boards.
If the goal of education is to prepare our children to be happy and successful in life, then we need to recognize children are naturally diverse. They represent a variety of skills, learning abilities and interests. To press all these personalities into the same mold inevitably leads to distortions and repressions. Our public school system today mirrors a totalitarian system, not an American Free Market.
Decisions on what is best for each student should be made by the parents at the family’s kitchen table and then with the school of their choice.