With all the political theater about confirming Betsy DaVos as Secretary of Education (an agency I think should be terminated), lets discuss what should be done to fix an ailing education system. Here’s some food for thought:
Under the current U.S. education system, the quality of students’ schooling is largely determined by their parents’ income. This is because wealthy parents can afford to send their children to private schools and live in neighborhoods with the best public schools. Such options narrow as income declines, and the children of poor families—who are often racial minorities living in predominately Democrat run neighborhoods and cities—typically end up in the nation’s worst schools.
Contrary to popular perception, funding is not the primary cause of differences between schools. Since the early 1970s, school districts with large portions of minority students have spent about the same amount per student as districts with fewer minorities. This is shown by studies conducted by the left-leaning Urban Institute, the U.S. Department of Education, Ph.D. economist Derek Neal, and the conservative Heritage Foundation.
Moreover, contrary to the notion that certain minorities are intellectually inferior, empirical and anecdotal evidence suggests that with competent schooling, people of all races can excel. For example, in 2009, Public School 172 in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, New York, had:
- a mostly Hispanic population.
- one-third of the students not fluent in English and no bilingual classes.
- 80% of the students poor enough to qualify for free lunch.
- lower spending per student than the New York City average.
- the highest average math score of all fourth graders in New York City, with 99% of the students scoring “advanced.”
- the top-dozen English scores of all fourth graders in New York City, with 99% of students passing.
I’ll add more as the discussion moves forward 🙂