Education

OUR CHILDREN DESERVE BETTER

As in all issues, there is no silver bullet to fix the problem, but let us begin with an assessment of the situation. The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) conducts a worldwide exam every three years measuring 15 year olds in 72 countries. A total of 540,000 students took the exam in 2016. The US scores were beyond dismal: 41st in math, 24th in reading, and 25th in science.

So what does Walden and the Republicans propose to address this dismal performance. They have proposed getting rid of the Title II program, which has been in existence for 10 years and is focused on helping school districts and states pay for teacher and principal development, reduce class size, and craft new evaluation systems. By the way, this program was put in place under the Bush administration. Title II is the third largest in the US Department of Education’s budget that goes to K-12 education. Has Greg Walden come out against this proposal? No of course not. He supports Trump 100% of the time.

The minimum age for dropping out of school needs to be raised to 18. A 16 year old with a 10th grade education has no future, no hope, and will be a problem for society their entire life. And don’t tell me about the farm kid or the rancher who does not need education. Kids are not following mom and dad into the ranching business, so they better get the education they need to succeed in another occupation.

Teachers need the support of parents, not to be forced to play the role of parents. When the kid skips school, refuses to behave, never does assigned school work, I don’t want the kid in detention, I want the parents. Parents need to be accountable for their children’s behavior. And here is a thought, if you quit school before age 18, your drivers license is revoked. And don’t bring up junior’s rights. He’s a kid. Emancipation by law is the age of 18 in every state.

Then there is college. Government funding to colleges has been slashed and that is one component as to why public college cost has gone up on average 18% every year since 1995. Paying coaches ridiculous multi-million dollar salaries has not helped either. Then there are those “for profit” schools really ripping off everyone they can. Trump paid $25 million to settle his little scam outside of the courtroom. Student debt now stands at $1.4 trillion, almost twice the amount of total credit card debt. Obscenely, this is a real money maker for the government with interest rates of 6 to 8 percent. By comparison, during the great recession the banks were financed to the tune of $1 trillion with an interest rate of 1%. Further, student debt is the only form of debt that cannot be forgiven by filing for bankruptcy. Good thing Trump had the old fashion kind of debt for his 4 bankruptcy filings. And what has Walden done during his 18+ years in office to address this? Not a darn thing.

Government needs to get back into the business of funding education at all levels. They need to ensure funds are spent properly by tying them directly to academic salaries, and “gasp,” the cost of athletic programs. Schools are for education, not the minor league for the NFL, NBA, MLB, MLS and PGA. And please don’t give me the marketing 101 speech about team building. Nobody has believed that is the reason for sports programs since 1960.