Why Texas Must Start Education Savings Accounts
By Carole Hornsby Haynes, Ph.D. | October 28, 2016 Texas Insider
Texans boast that we’re a national leader on many fronts. However, school choice is not one of them. Half of the states have already enacted school choice while Texas remains entrenched in a 19th century industrial model of education with bureaucrats fighting to preserve their control over how children are educated when it is the right of parents.
The Texas Constitution states that the goal of public education is the protection of rights and liberties through the general diffusion of knowledge. However, there seems to be little concern for the child to whom this phrase applies. Instead, we fight over the equality of districts and ignore the Constitutional rights of Texas children.
Today public education is no longer about imparting knowledge to children. It is about education bureaucracy outdoing each other with the biggest stadiums, tying every child to broadband in spite of mountains of research that computer access does not promote student achievement and is actually harmful, and creating massive new debt for open classrooms for 21st century learning – a retread of a failed model from decades gone by.
The system is devoted to endless testing, data, rubrics, development of standards and objectives, measurement, data, “Smart” goals, results, data, analysis, data, improvement plans, evidence collecting, data, percentages, alignments, data, core curriculum, cross curriculum, data, accommodations, data, modifications, mounds of paperwork, data, meetings, data, more assessments, accountability, and more data. Where is the teaching? Where are academics?
True teaching is no longer a priority in public schools because the focus is new “21st Century” objectives. We are bombarded with directives to build 21st Century workforce skills yet we are still mired in the 20th century because students have not mastered those.
How can students develop critical thinking before they have acquired the foundational skills? The classical education model that we once used was an important factor in the rise of America to a super power. It has given us dynamic citizens whose brilliant innovations are the envy of the world. We have sent men to the moon. Sadly, the current model has brought us only dumbed down students and jeers in the international academic community. We’re losing sight of what is really important -- teaching our students to walk so they can run.
Much was written by our founding fathers about the necessity of educating citizens to participate in the American democracy. Thomas Jefferson wrote, “An educated citizenry is a vital prerequisite for our survival as a free people.” Yet public education is now focused on workforce training for a state planned economy instead of academics.
It seems that most of our political and business leaders have been lulled -- indoctrinated -- into Marc Tucker’s philosophy that public schools exist to train a workforce. Are taxpayers willing to continue paying for schools that are not educating our children to live and participate in the American democracy? Are they willing to pay for schools to train our citizens to live under socialism – no longer free?
I speak widely to audiences about various topics in American education. The message I hear most is the deep anger about children being trapped in traditional public schools where social engineering is a higher priority than academic learning – yes, even in Texas.
After many decades of throwing ever increasing amounts of money toward education, the literacy rate just continues to slide downward. There are too many who have a high school diploma but lack the academic basics to get into trade school, hold a good job, or handle routine family financial decisions.
Supporters of traditional public education argue that people have to pay taxes to support public education; therefore, that money belongs to public schools. It does not!! That money belongs to the child and his parents for the child’s education! Since we are forced to pay taxes, we should have the right to expect the school receiving that money to provide an academic education for our child. If they fail at that, then we should have the right to take that money and give it to a school that will provide a sound academic education. Not to allow this means the child is being held hostage by public schools that cannot or will not provide a doctrine free, pro-America, academic education.
Too many educators have lost sight of what they chose for their life’s work: educating our young to guard our freedom and carry on the great American dream. If educators really care about educating students, they will stop indoctrinating children in left wing collectivism that is destroying our culture and will subject the child to a life without freedom and the opportunity to live the American dream.
In 2017 more than 20 states are planning for ESAs, the fastest growing type of choice in the past five years. In January, 2017 the next Texas legislative session will begin. It’s way past time that Texas lawmakers adopt a universal Education Savings Accounts program -- without loading it down by regulations and restrictions or we’ll be right back to square one.
With ESAs we can protect our children’s education rights under the Texas Constitution.
Call your Texas legislators and tell them you want Texas to adopt a universal Education Savings Account program to protect children’s education rights under the Texas Constitution.