Competition improves food, computers, cars, movies and music, so why not apply competition to our schools?

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos visited the Founder’s Classical Academy in Schertz on Feb. 4. The Founder’s Classical Academy is a tuition-free charter school, which challenges the traditional model of education.

At first glance, it seems like DeVos’ only qualification for being selected as Secretary of Education is because she is a billionaire Republican donor. However, she has actually been involved in helping educate children for many years. She has been a part of several education action groups such as Action Institute, All Children Matter and the American Foundation for Children. She has donated more than $5.2 million to charter and private schools.

Her reasoning for contributing to charter and private schools over public schools is because they continue to run on the failed government model that has been in place for the last 100 years.

The American Education System has been declining in performance for the past four decades. Our Nation’s Report Card (www.nationsreportcard.gov) indicates that only 37% of 12th graders test proficient in reading, 22% test proficient in science and 25% are proficient in math. Compared to countries across the globe, the United States ranks 23rd in reading, 25th in science, and 40th in math.

Meanwhile, students in charter schools test at 95% proficient. What went wrong?

The problem with our educational system is that it has not changed in over 100 years. We continue grouping kids by age in schools instead of academic proficiency. We continue giving summers off so the knowledge students acquired dissipates.

Central planning is at the core of all this and central planning usually fails because it is rigid and cannot adapt to change. Government control does not work. Secretary DeVos visited a charter school to see why these schools are doing better than public schools and doing it with less funding.

Competition is the key. If a teacher is not performing well at a charter school, they are replaced quickly. This motivates educators to do their best so they may retain their jobs. It is much more difficult to remove a teacher from a public school.

Public school teachers could receive tenure and they will retain their job whether or not the students excel. This unflappable job security leaves no incentive for teachers to continue educating at a high standard. Also, with competition, parents may choose which schools their children can attend without any cost to them. As mentioned earlier, the charter school DeVos visited in Schertz is tuition-free.

With competition, good schools will thrive and bad schools will eventually close their doors. Most people are blinded by a belief that big government in schools is a “good thing.” Clearly, it is not working and many of Mrs. DeVos’ critics secretly agree.

Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton and Al Gore all had their children educated at private schools instead of public. Barack Obama sent his kids to the Sidwell private school in Washington, D.C. instead of the public schools in the area. Sidwell is also the school former Vice President Joe Biden sent his children to. If having the ability to choose the school you want for your children is good enough for elected officials, then it should be good enough for us all. It is time to end this “Do as I say, not as I do” policy of politicians.

Anthony was the Libertarian candidate for U.S. Congress in district 15 of Texas.

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