(Paul Jacob/Common Sense) – Progress in education does not require a never-ending increase in funding for public schools.
My wife and I have home-schooled our daughters. I know that kids like learning, and away from classrooms can learn, and learn well. The future of education almost certainly involves a wide diversity of educational methods and systems that place children in environments where they learn best, not where it is merely convenient to spend tax funds in huge gulps.
In Washington State, government is adapting to such new options. This was noted in the papers, recently, when Tim Sutinen, a candidate for the state legislature under the “Lower Taxes” party label, praised the state’s virtual charter schools. All of his school-aged kids (he and his wife have ten, total) receive instruction at home. But their lessons and testing are conducted over the Internet, from teachers hundreds of miles away.
Had he lived south of the Columbia River, in Oregon, though, his children would not be so lucky.
There, the teachers’ union has made opposition to virtual charter schools its “top priority.” Olivia Wolcott of the Cascade Policy Institute correctly argues that were the union truly supportive of “the best interests of Oregon children, it would support the virtual charter schools that have the ability to improve education through cost-saving innovation.”
But unions are in the business of raising pay for public school teachers. And that’s not the same thing as improving education.