The public schools have become a hopeless trainwreck. The best way I see for escaping this defective system is to provide any parent who wants to opt out of the local public school, with the dollar equivalent cost of the local public-school education as a voucher and let him find a better school. This will serve two purposes. It will better educate the youth of America and it will force the public schools to improve or wither away.
This will be an enormously expensive undertaking. Currently the budget for primary and secondary public education is in the range of 750 billion dollars a year. But really what it requires is the federal government to fund the initial outlay and then the local governments to repay the federal government for the children that do not attend their local public schools. Of course, the public schools will become a smaller and smaller part of the education system and the states can figure out a way for the tax revenues that currently pay for education to be distributed directly to the parents instead of going through the federal government. And with the competition from other schools the cost of education will most probably be lower than what the public schools currently cost the local towns and cities. After all New York City has the most expensive public school system in the country on a per child basis but the achievement level of all but the few gifted schools ranges from mediocre to abysmal. Competing with it on a dollar basis should be simple.
The outcome of allowing school choice in the United States would be the largest single increase in the intelligence of Americans since the space race pushed math and science education into the limelight back in the fifties and sixties. Suddenly kids who had languished in terrible schools all around this country, especially in the cities, would find out that they had brains that actually worked. And without the poison of the woke narrative being dripped into their heads kids might figure out that there was more to life than staring at their phones. And with a real-world curriculum, kids and parents would have a common base of knowledge from which to understand each other.
So, this will never happen. The school teachers are the most powerful voting block in the Democratic coalition. Their privileges are jealously guarded by the recipients of their donations and votes. And it would require tremendous voting change in this country to make school vouchers happen for the general population. The public-school teachers know that if they have to compete against private schools, they’ll be forced to actually teach children instead of doing whatever it is they currently do. That’s a gravy train they’ve been on for decades and they will do whatever it takes to keep it going.
But the only voting block bigger than the teachers’ unions is the parents of America. Currently the mothers vote for the Democrats in a lopsided way. If they ever came to their senses and voted for their children’s welfare instead of for their feminist vanity then there would be a chance of fixing things. There have been the first stirrings of this in Virginia with the Youngkin revolt. It would require an enormous shift to allow something like school vouchers to become law. Because of this difficulty many people think it is more reasonable to reform the public schools but I see that as a false choice. The inertia of the current population of teachers and administrators in the schools is an irresistible force that cannot be changed. It can only be abandoned.