As a former elementary school teacher, there is a lot to be done to improve schools. Let’s start with —
The most important step is to empower those most responsible for a child’s success: parents.
Parents who are concerned with their child’s education have an innate ability to be actively involved in the educational process. As a teacher, these are the parents who show up for every conference, every PTA meeting, Curriculum Night, and so forth.
As a teacher, I was more than happy to talk to these parents. But I never needed to see them. The parents I needed to see were the ones who suffered from “trophy child” syndrome. They were only interested in their child’s well-being — much less their education — when it impacted their ability to show off their child’s accomplishments as if it were their trophy.
Parents MUST be involved, but they need to take a more realistic approach. Odds are you child is not a genius, a rocket scientist…in other words — Perfect. They make mistakes, they will get in trouble, and they will not always get the A — and you have to be OK with that.
If you can do that as a parent, then your child’s education will improve.
…this plan would expand school choice…
Sorry Senator Rubio, but this is nothing more than a political talking point. If parents are not actively involved, all school choice does is move the failing education from one school to another. The issue is not the school — the issue is the value of an education. School choice does NOT increase the value of an education.
…local control… ending any and all federal efforts to impose Common Core on all 50 states and getting the federal government out of K-12 decision making.
Now this would definitely be an improvement because the raising of standards does NOTHING to improve a child’s education if it does not include personal accountability. Children who have been taught by their parents — which any parent can do regardless of economic situation — to value education; those children will learn, be successful in spite of their circumstances. (I know this to be true because I was one of those children.)
They’re products of an education system in which two-thirds of our kids can’t read at grade level.
This is a true statement. Most of the kids in my last fourth grade class were reading at a second grade level. The so-called “gifted” children were barely on grade level.
But this goes to another problem that you do not mention in your post — the concept of social promotion (or the self-esteem issue). Children today are not held accountable for their own education — they have no fear of failure because the failure is put on the teachers. It is basically political correctness run amok as we try to protect children from the so-called stigma of failure.
Children have to learn from failure sometimes, it will help them be stronger for it. If we went back to holding the children accountable — you have to pass the class on your own ability to proceed, the improvement in education would be mind-blowing across the board.