We are spending more and more money and witnessing very little improvement, if any, in our public schools.
In a private business, innovation is essential if a company is to be able to avoid bankruptcy. Profit is the cost of staying in business, and profit requires satisfied customers.
So if any business doesn't continuously increase the quality of its products and services while simultaneously reducing costs through productivity gains, the firm's existing or new competition will persuade its customers to choose its offerings in the competitive marketplace.
Of course, unions don't relish competition and neither do most government bureaucrats. Except when they're involved with making their own individual purchasing decisions, of course.
All self interested individuals are able without hesitation to differentiate between MOM based and OPM decisions in our personal lives, but when OPM is within the reach of union and government officials, well, that's often another story altogether.
Still, Juan Williams offers hope for what the scientific method can bring in A High-Tech Fix for Broken Schools. His TV special "Fixing Our Schools" airs Sunday evening on Fox at 9 p.m. Eastern time:
"Mooresville, N.C., is best known as "Race City, U.S.A.," home of
Nascar. But these days Mooresville is leading the nation in a different
way—by using digital technology to improve public education. . . .
Our schools are undoubtedly in crisis. Prize-winning documentaries
such as "Waiting for 'Superman'" have revealed the terrible cost of
losing young minds to failing schools. Dropout rates are particularly
high among minority children in urban schools. But even parents in the
best suburban schools are alarmed by the fact that the U.S. now ranks
30th world-wide in math, 23rd in science, and 17th in literacy.
This is why the modestly funded schools
in Mooresville are drawing national attention. The school district
ranks 100th out of 115 school districts in North Carolina on per-pupil
spending. But in the last 10 years, its test scores have pushed it from a
middling rank among North Carolina's school districts to a tie for
Three years ago, 73% of Mooresville's students tested as proficient
in math, reading and science. Today, 89% are proficient in those
The big change in Mooresville began when Superintendent Mark Edwards
took the radical step of cutting back on teachers and using the money to
give every student from third grade through high school a laptop
"Think about how different the world is
today in terms of the media, in terms of medicine, in terms of the way
people really experience their lives, and education is stuck in a
19th-century model," Mr. Klein explains. "So I'm convinced that we can
[use computers to] change the way we educate our kids." He adds that the
computers don't remove the need for good teachers but help "teachers do
their work in a much more effective way." . . .
The bottom line is that bringing more technology into the classroom
shows tremendous promise to improve schools. And any doubters should
take a look at the little school district now speeding along in
Getting "more for less" serves as the foundation for productivity improvements. More education at a lower cost fits that description exactly.
In other words, more output for less input equates to better test scores and fewer teachers being aided by technology or computers. But using the ingenuity and creativity of educators to create and build a better educational "mousetrap" is the key.
Accordingly, giving teachers the tools and freedom to experiment with new teaching methods and time use is an absolute winner.
So is technology when used properly.
As is parental choice with respect to their children's education.
Mooresville is proof of the success of that very simple formula.
Let's spread the word and not be afraid to change.
We can't change anything if we aren't first willing and able to change our minds.