President-elect Joe Biden's nomination of Miguel Cardona as the new Secretary of Education provides a glimmer of hope for improving education results for minorities and the poor. He is supposedly a strong supporter of public education, but he also appears to have an independent streak.

That is why I believe there is a ray of hope for those students who have been left behind by public education. If he encourages state legislators to stop throwing money at public schools that chronically fail to improve, and if he helps by targeting a large percentage of federal funds to help the students in these failing schools, this would be a refreshing wind of change.

There must be options for students in the big metropolitan areas who are attending failing schools. Baltimore is a good example. There are a number of fine public schools in Baltimore: I graduated from Baltimore Polytechnic in 1963 and it is still considered a top-notch high school. However, there are other schools where despite years of increased spending, they continue to fail students who attend them. More importantly, they are creating an increasingly large group of adults who are poorly educated and unprepared for success in life. They have no hope.

For these students (especially in the elementary grades), their parents need options to extricate them from these schools before it is too late. The options are: 1. more independent, i.e. free of teacher union interference, charter schools, or 2. access to private schools with the use of vouchers. The Legislature has a real opportunity to do the right thing by using some federal funding, if approved, and by reallocating some funds from failing schools and offering these alternatives to caring parents. If they have the will to stand up to the teacher unions and if Secretary Cardona will support them, it will make a dramatic difference over time.

Our founding fathers believed our republic could only survive if the people were well informed and well educated. If we blindly continue down our current path, the future does not look good for future generations or our system of government.

(10) comments

DickD

This is ridiculous. You want charter schools with teachers not meeting state qualifications. That is ridiculous.

shiftless88

The overall problem will not be solved without solving the broader issues, as noted below. Just be honest; by advocating charter/private schools as a "solution" what you are really saying is "let's get the cream of the crop out of the schools and allow them to thrive while basically giving up on everyone else who is in this situation through no fault of their own". You go tell the kids that; "sorry, you aren't worth our time or effort".

Hayduke2

shift- [thumbup][thumbup] Too many times that is the story.

Riptide262

Shiftless, Your comment "let's get the cream of the crop out of the schools and allow them to thrive while basically giving up on everyone else who is in this situation through no fault of their own" suggests that removing the top is the goal. I offer up an alternate discussion point. "Lets get the disruptive kids out of the schools to allow teachers to teach the remaining kids that actually want to learn." I believe that economic poverty should not result in a poor education. However, resources are limited and those resources should be spent on the kids that want to learn and that can be accomplished by separating the disruptive students that are only in the building to cause trouble. The remaining students that want to learn are absolutely worth our time and effort.

I am a strong advocate of public schools but I believe one of the biggest advantages of private/charter schools is not their ability to choose who they admit, but rather their ability to choose who they do not to admit. I wonder how failing schools would do if they could remove the 10% of the kids who cause 90% of the trouble. Unfortunately, this approach does not address what to do with the 10% of kids who still deserve a chance. However, I would add the caveat that that chance cannot impact students that want to learn.

MD1756

Failing schools are the fault of the state and local governments (and to some degree parents) they are not the fault of the federal government.

Hayduke2

I would add that it is also the result of broader socio-economic issues that need to be addressed or focused on.

threecents

No tax dollars to private schools, as that will hurt public schools.

Dwasserba

Private school parents pay taxes and do not take up public school seats. When private schools fail, students go to public schools.

Hayduke2

Dwass - that is the parent's choice! I am not sure why this is relevant to this article.

Hayduke2

Sorry Dwass- previous comment was poorly said. Author starts talking about public schools failing and jumps to touting charter schools. Evidence suggests they are neither worse or better at achievement overall. Address the issues where schools fail and institute reform in the public schools that works - change will take extended time and commitment!

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