If there's one thing most of us can agree on, regardless of the party lines, or ideological perspectives, is the failure of current public education system to prepare our children for the future. The thing that adds insult to injury is the enormous expenses of maintaining a system designed to benefit one segment of the population(our kids), and instead, has become a life support system for school administrators, teachers, and maintenence personel, all of whom are doing considerably better than the rest of the population.
It's imperative we make some very serious changes, because our current system is both ineffective and unsustainable at current rates. I think it's time to scrap the entire system, and start over with one that will be more effective, especially for the children who are particpating in it.
What I'm proposing is a wholesale(on a state by state basis) privatization of the public school system. The students would be given vouchers, and would be able to attend where they wish, providing there's room. All current public schools would be transitoned into private schools.
The reason I'm attacking one of our "sacred cows" is that after looking at the amount of revenue it takes to keep the dinasaur fed, including administrative costs, maintenence costs, teacher salaries, and benefits, I find that it could be done better in the private sector. The biggest benefit of the move would be that since the money that is spent on all of the peripherals mentioned above would be eliminated from state tax coffers, allowing them to pay more tuition on a student by student basis. Students could attend the schools that would best serve them and we, in turn, would be launching a new industry, which would need employees; good-ole'-boy administration practices, along with the ridiculous salaries would be gone.
Schools could be better held acountable to educational standards, because if they don't measure up, they don't get to play; the nature of the school would be unimportant; it could be a secular school, a Christian school, an Islamic school, whatever, as long as they met the requirements set by the state to guarantee that regardless of what they might be learning about anything else, they are getting their core educational needs addressed in a positive manner.
Also gone would be the Department of Education... teachers who are on top of their game would be able to make a good living, those that aren't would need to find a new way to support themselves; that alone would improve the educational standards. Gone would be PERA or Public Employees Retirement Accounts, and the teachers would transition to Social Security.
We don't need publicly funded schools to have public schools; we need schools that put the student first, even if it's done for a financial gain; generally, that way, you at least get what you pay for...