Public Education Crisis Has Been Decades In The Making

America’s public education system has been deteriorating for decades; unfortunately, the time to easily correct course has passed. As Stephen Kruiser eloquently highlighted in a PJ Media op-ed published Wednesday, parents have become hyper-vigilant about their children’s education. They’ve taken up seats on school boards and closely scrutinized curricula. However, as necessary and commendable as this increased parental involvement is, it may be too late to salvage the public education system.

The roots of this crisis extend much further back than in recent years. It’s a mess that has accumulated for decades, comparable to the chaos a hoarder would create over the years. An attempt to fix it won’t be as simple as hiring a cleaning service. In Kruiser’s words, “We’re in sort of a ‘nuke it from orbit’ phase now.”

Among the chief culprits are the teachers’ unions. They have turned public schools into indoctrination camps rather than places of learning. The unions, drawing power from their alliance with the Democrats, have focused on creating generations of left-leaning school kids. While it may seem a grim prospect, their influence can be weakened, but it requires promoting school choice, an issue that has seen strong support from several Republican governors.

Yet, it’s not only about the leftists’ influence. As Corey DeAngelis, a renowned education expert, warns, a “rising tide of mediocrity” in our public education system has now escalated into a full-blown tsunami. His recent book, “Mediocrity: 40 Ways Government Schools are Failing Today’s Students,” highlights the scale of the problem.

Our education system’s foundations are eroding, with most Americans unaware of how bad the situation has become. Even worse, support for public schools is at an all-time low. A recent Gallup poll revealed that only 26% of Americans have confidence in the public school system, with 9% of Republicans expressing confidence.

DeAngelis rightly points out that school choice is winning – nine states have fully committed to choice in the past two years. Yet, he insists that more needs to be done, particularly by the Republican Party. DeAngelis argues that Republican legislators must embrace educational freedom, governors need to lead on this issue, and school choice proponents must vote for their values.

What’s clear is that the crisis in public education won’t be resolved by sticking to the status quo or believing in the false narrative of the benevolent government and the teachers’ unions. DeAngelis states, “When a school has a monopoly on its students, the incentive to produce excellence is diminished.”

The future of American education depends on our ability to embrace alternatives to public schooling. DeAngelis and co-author Connor Boyack write, “Whether you choose private schools, micro-schools, homeschool co-ops, online learning, tutoring, cloud-based classrooms, or another option in a quickly evolving landscape of education entrepreneurship, there are solutions out there for every child.”

Indeed, the children are the actual stakeholders here. As DeAngelis put it, parents are the “kids’ union,” and they far outnumber the teachers’ unions. This gives us hope that, with the right action, we can still arrest the downward spiral of American education.

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