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Ben Thompson for President- 2008

PRO-EDUCATION
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EDUCATION

In 1983, President Reagan's Commission on Excellence in Schools released its report, A Nation At Risk,
warning of major problems plaguing the public school system. Today, 20 years later, low test scores, consistently high drop-out rates, drug use, and increasing violence still characterize many of our public schools. American education remains in a crisis and we need a change.
The current system is harmful to schools and it undermines parental authority and responsibility. People around the country sense this. In 1994 twenty-five states had some form of school choice legislation pending or introduced. Many more have passed similar legislation since then.
Denis Doyle, writing in the Wall street Journal, indicates that teachers, both public and private, are more likely to send their children to private schools than is the general public.
71% of the public say they support education vouchers that give "parents the ability to choose the public or private school their children attend" (Doyle article). Apparently this support is not only broad, but also deep- 2/3 of those who favor school choice say they do so "strongly".
In urban areas the percentage of public school teachers who send their children to private schools is much higher. (Personally, I think vouchers and choice are tiny steps in the right direction, but, at best, only band-aid approaches). The widespread support for school choice is part of the "parents' rights movement," in this case an attempt by parents to regain control from an education bureaucracy that has stripped the individual schools of their autonomy and incentives to meet students needs.
Nobel Laureate economist, Milton Friedman, states that less than 50% of the education tax dollars sent to Washington, D.C. find their way back to the classroom. This bureaucratic, administrative waste is outrageous. That money should have stayed in local communities where much more can be done with much less and much more effectively.
The federal government has no business in education. The U.S. Department of Education should be eliminated. This would leave these wasted funds to local school districts where many MORE needed and effective education programs can be estalished for much LESS $, without all the hierarchal redtape.