Trump and Education Reform

Now that the grand theater is over, it’s time to get down to business.

I’m not so sure if the many outlandish promises (i.e., the wall, Muslim registration, etc) are ever going to materialize; but then again, I’ve been wrong about Trump at every twist and turn.  I should just stop making predictions.

I found his inaugural address to be quite good, certainly simple and succinct.  A negative response was inevitable, no matter what he said.  The left and the media will loose their last vestiges of legitimacy very quickly, not because they have an ideological opposition to Trump, but because they will find a way to criticize everything the man does or says because of it.  (Remember soon after the election when Trump had the gall to have dinner without notifying the press?  That sort of thing.)

There was one statement in particular that I hope he follows up on:  “…an education system flush with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of knowledge…”

This is quite the case.  For all intents and purposes we (as a nation) have among the wealthiest education systems in the world, yet the mediocre results become more obvious with each passing year.  It’s clear to everyone except those in the education system that it’s not a matter of money, but of method.  Really, what justification do we have to continue this failing educational status quo?

The growth of school choice in the last few years is encouraging.  What really would be needed to “fix” this education system is the innovations and improvements that really only happen by private initiative on an open market.  But most people have decided that education should never be privatized; so we are left with very few options, and most of them being some variation of government monopoly.

The school choice system – one I hope is honestly pursued by the new Trump administration – gives at least the illusion of choice, and more importantly the motivation for the providers of education to improve their product.  Quite simple enough, but it still finds widespread opposition.  Mostly because some students might have a better educational experience than others; and this is true.  However, would we rather stifle the potential of the brightest students in the interests of fairness of equality?  Would we really want to see that potential unrealized so that all the students are equal in the same, dismal public school?

As for our own state, you can bet that teacher pay is going to be an issue this Spring, as it always is.  Never mind the fact that the pay rate of public school teachers is inflated relative to the pay rate of private school teachers; and never mind the fact that while we are comparing the rates of teacher pay here to other states, we fail to take into consideration the cheaper cost of living here – yes, let’s ignore all that.  Everyone seems to be quite decided.

The taxpayers are already heavily burdened with this inefficient Oklahoma public school system.  But rather ingeniously, Oklahoma State Representative Mark McBride has devised a plan that would basically allow us to have our cake, and eat it too.  Use TSET money to fund, at least in part, education employees involved with health or related matters, thus freeing up money for other education purposes.  Besides healthcare expenses, TSET money is largely being wasted on these silly TV ad campaigns – but I think education is a far better use for that money.

House Bill 1245 is one that is really worth watching.


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