More of the Same Won’t Help

Published December 14, 2006

Dear Editor:

I was surprised Mayor Bloomberg did not cite mayoral control as the solution to the problems of U.S. public education (“Flabby, Inefficient, Outdated,” Dec. 13). That’s what he said would work for New York City’s schools — but it hasn’t. Mayor Daley in Chicago hasn’t had much success after a decade in charge of the Chicago Public Schools, either — the high school graduation rate is still only 50 percent, and the latest urban NAEP scores show Chicago’s students are ill-served by their public schools.

We all know that U.S. public schools are failing, but Mayor Bloomberg’s solution — maintaining bureaucratic control of the schools and telling parents, “Keep sending us your kids, along with even more money” — is what we’ve been doing for years with no improvement and at the cost of millions of poorly educated children.

On the other hand, more and more parents without teaching credentials are successfully educating their children at home. Why not give parents a voucher and let them decide where to educate their children? That solution does actually improve the public schools, as Milwaukee and Florida have shown. When will leaders like Mayor Bloomberg and Mayor Daley stop this senseless waste of children’s lives?

George Clowes ([email protected]) is senior fellow for education affairs at The Heartland Institute.