Last week President Obama signed an executive order allowing states to “opt out” of the reading and math requirements of No Child Left Behind. After all, who needs to know math when everyone has their own calculator. And kids don’t need to read when they’ve got video games. Oh, and the last “R”, writing, was already dead – everyone “texts” these days. That’s why so many entering college freshmen need to take a remedial writing course.
With the 3-R’s dead, the question is what are we getting for the $10,000 per student per year of taxpayer money the federal government spends on education? (Keep in mind, that doesn’t count what state and local governments spend.) No matter how much money we have thrown at education we still have semiliterate high school graduates who can’t get a job. Never mind the up to 50% that drop out before graduation (after as much as $100,000 taxpayer dollars have been spent on them).
Maybe it’s time for the federal government to get out of the education business and return that activity to local communities where it used to be, and where it truly belongs.
Editors note: The $10,000 per student, approximately, includes federal, state and local spending on education. State governments provide the majority of the spending. The federal proportion is slightly less than 10%.