Forum Right, 3/20/12

Teachers Aren’t the Problem

By Mark Luedtke

On the surface, Gov. Kasich’s plan to retest teachers in failing schools might seem like a good idea. Teachers should know their subjects, so why not retest those in failing schools, right? But that kind of superficial analysis, the kind that makes good sound bites, produces bad policy. Kasich is trying to make teachers into scapegoats for failing schools, but teachers aren’t the problem. The problem is the government’s power of coercion.

The fundamental flaws of government schools are that they are funded by money stolen from taxpayers under threat of violence and that students are forced to attend government schools under threat of violence. Nothing good can come from stealing money and forcing people around at the point of a gun. It can only produce a thoroughly corrupt system.

In addition, teachers are coerced into joining unions against their will. Just as the government exists to enrich our rulers at our expense, coercive unions exist to enrich union leaders and their political patrons at the expense of workers. Unions add another corrupting influence to our socialist school system.

We’ll never solve the problem of government schools until we understand the problem. Government schools do exactly what they are designed to do: tear families apart and supplant the family with the state in the minds of students. This makes them docile subjects, willing tax slaves and ready soldiers as adults. To this end, government schools intentionally mis-educate children about history, economics and the nature of the state. Teachers are forced to follow this corrupt curriculum. In addition they provide a socialist jobs program for coerced teachers and a reliable voting block for Democrats. Contrary to rhetoric, from the point of view of fat cat government officials and union bosses, government schools do an excellent job.

No matter how well trained and dedicated teachers are, and most teachers do a fantastic job under difficult circumstances, they can’t overcome the corrupt system they are forced to work in. The teachers who work in the worst schools have the toughest jobs, and those are the teachers threatened by Kasich’s retesting system.

Of course, not all teachers do a great job, but we have to ask how those teachers got hired in the first place. Because the government school system is corrupt. Parents wouldn’t intentionally hire unqualified teachers — only government does that — but if they accidentally did, they would quickly fire them.

Departments of Education are based on the preposterous idea that bureaucrats on school boards and in capitals know how to educate every individual child better than parents and teachers. That’s beyond absurd. Kasich’s retesting program strengthens that false proposition.

This retesting program also loots more money from taxpayers, making them poorer and less able to educate their own children. The Columbus Dispatch reports, “Statewide, more than 7,000 classroom teachers in 346 charter and traditional public schools would be affected by the provision if it applied this year.” Also, “Ohio uses the Praxis series of exams to test teachers’ knowledge of the subjects they teach. The cost per test ranges from $50 to more than $100, depending on the subject.” That’s at least $700,000 stolen from taxpayers to enrich the politicians and their cronies for a program that will soon be run by union bosses.

Asking the government to fix government schools is like asking the mafia to fix its protection racket. The government is the problem, not the solution. Government regimentation and coercion prevent parents and teachers from cooperating to meet the personal educational needs of each family. The solution to the problem of educating children is to abolish government interference in education to free parents and teachers to work together in a system of voluntary exchange to solve individual educational problems. This will dramatically lower the cost of education and increase the quality. It will also restore healthy families and healthy communities.

Mark Luedtke is an electrical engineer with a degree from the University of Cincinnati and currently works for a Dayton attorney. He can be reached at MarkLuedtke@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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