Saturday, November 17, 2012

Education reform proposal

The Founders of our nation did not mention the word education once in the entire constitution.  It wasn’t that they did not believe in education, to the contrary, they believed it to be vitally important and the only way our nation would continue to thrive in the future.   They did not mention it because they wanted the people not to have to deal with any government dictates, and to have the total freedom necessary to determine the best method of education for their own children.  
They certainly did not want the government to control the education process, as this was a sure pathway to government indoctrination and tyranny.  We can see from today they were absolutely correct.  As they acknowledged freedom of religion, they also acknowledged freedom of education.  
The results from the top performing education systems in the world (Finland, Singapore, Hong Kong), all seem to point in that direction as well.  
All of these systems raise the eligibility requirements to become a teacher to an extremely high level, and teachers are treated as true professionals on par with physicians and dentists, with complete autonomy, teacher collaboration to find the best teaching methods, continuing teacher education, complete public trust, and increased status and pay.  They are given complete leeway to determine the best methods to teach the children under their auspices and are also responsible for virtually everything related to the classroom without external testing or monitoring.  There is no teacher’s union or administrative requirements other than the school principal.   In essence, there is virtually no government control of education.  Parents can choose the school of their choice, and each school has virtually the same resources available, making educational opportunity equal across all social and economic levels.  
While the best systems have various methods of funding, they have completely gotten away from government intrusion and control.  Our educational system is heading in the opposite direction, and the results show.  
Though these systems all seem to exist in smaller populations, and funding is generally done through government funding mechanisms, I would like to propose a possible method we could use to accomplish the mechanics of the best systems, but with a funding method more in line with what the Founders had in mind.  
First, a few facts gleaned from U.S. government  and educational sites:

  1. The U.S. (Federal, State and Local) governments together as of 2011 spend $916 billion on education funding, or $11,000 per child in public schools.
  2. The U.S. governments (all levels), spends and collect taxes equal to $8,000 per household on education. 
  3. The average household income is $50,000 / year.
  4. There are 115 million households in the U.S. according to the Census Bureau, of which 20 million have one child, 77 million have no children, and 18 million have more than one child. 
  5. Average private school tuition in the U.S. = $8,500 / year. 
  6. Private school students score significantly higher on the ACT tests than public school students, (which explains why the ruling class all send their kids to private schools). 

The funding proposal is as follows:
  1. Privatize ALL the schools.  Eliminate all Federal taxes dedicated to education, State sales, income and other taxes spent for education, (which accounts for the largest percentage of the state budget by a large margin),  and Local (think property tax) spending and taxation for education.  This saves each average household approx.. $8,000 / year. 
  2. Each employee would have 10% of paycheck taken out  and placed into an educational savings account (ESA) invested in a basket of safe alternatives to grow tax deferred.  (If average household income = $50,000, then this would be $5,000 / year).
  3. For the 20 million households with 1 child, they would save $8,000 on taxes, spend $8,500 on tuition, (almost a wash).  They would use their ESA funds for the balance, for any other extraneous expenses, and to keep it growing to fund a college education.  
  4. For the 77 million with no children, they would save the $8,000 in taxes, but would have only 20% of their ESA funds deposited into their ESA account.  They could use this for their own education, or transfer it to a another family member or any other beneficiary for them to use for their education.  The other 80% of their paycheck withdrawal would be deposited into a state education fund to be used to supplement the poor (those without a paycheck), and the 18 million households with more that one child.   Though this may seem a bit unfair at first, they are saving $8,000 in taxes, and losing $4,000 in paycheck withdrawal, so they still come out ahead $4,000.  
  5. For the 18 million households with more than one child, they would use their tax savings ($8,000) plus their ESA contribution ($5,000), first, then would be given a voucher from the state education fund to make up the difference.  
  6. The poor (without a paycheck, which with the right systems (i.e. private charities and churches), would only be a temporary situation (we will save that for another discussion)), would use the state education fund entirely.  
  7. Note that the paycheck deduction is based on a percentage.  Obviously those who make a lot more than $50,000 per year would be paying a lot more into the state education fund.  Since the state is no longer spending $11,000 per year to educate each child in a public school system, there may wind up being a surplus in the education fund.  If that occurs, adjustments (reductions) can be made in the percentage of paycheck withdrawal, but  I believe the percentage should be kept the same for all income levels. 

Each parent, no matter what socio-economic status they are in, chooses which school to send their child to based on the curriculum taught, the methods used, and the results obtained.   This levels the playing field and gives all children regardless of circumstance an equal opportunity for a quality education.  
Once the funding has been established, the elimination of union and government interference and intrusion into the educational system via the privatization of all the schools will create  a free enterprise environment which will encourage competition to give the parents the best education for their children and excellence from both the teachers and the schools.   Since they now have a choice as to where their children go to school,  parents will begin to demand their teachers be extremely well qualified, much as they do with their pediatrician or dentist, raising the bar on entrance into the teaching profession.   Without government intrusion, the privatized school, in order to reduce costs and become more efficient, will cut all the administrative fat, utilizing only a principal to manage the business of the school,  and transferring those savings into giving the teachers the resources they need.    As in the medical profession, the teachers will have total autonomy to find the best methods for their students, attending state and national conventions and meetings to exchange ideas they can take back to their classrooms in an effort to constantly improve the quality of their product and the satisfaction of the parents and students.  
I believe, as the Founders probably did, that a completely free market is the best method to achieve the highest quality education for all of the children in the U. S. A.  

Monday, January 31, 2011

Separation of Church and State

As you know, the 'separation of church and state" is not in the constitution, and actually was only in an obscure letter from Thomas Jefferson to a Baptist elder and was pulled out of obscurity by Supreme court justice Blackman to support his misguided opinion in a 1946 ruling, and we have been bludgeoned with it ever since. The Founders never intended for God to be removed from public discourse, but just the opposite. God is fundamental to our nation's survival, as our laws are generated from His laws, and His moral code is our moral code, without which we will descend into debauchery, with totalitarianism the necessary consequence. This has happened with all other successful 'empires', and is happening now with us. A people without a God given moral code cannot govern themselves. This is why one of the foundations of the statist ideas is do away with religion, because religion and morality allow a people to behave with civility toward each other and ensures their liberty and ability to self govern. , The Founders meant that the state will not force citizens to follow only one religion, nor will the state pay any church's way. They also stated the government will not be allowed to stand in the way of whatever religious observance the citizens may wish to engage in, weather that observance be on private or public lands. These ideas are all clearly laid out in the Federalist papers, and Judge Blackman's ruling along with the liberals continued attack on our religious foundations are simply a perversion of the truth to advance the statist agenda.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Economists Eugene Steuerle and Stephanie Rennane of the Urban Institute have crunched numbers from the Social Security Administration and found some interesting facts.

Consider an average-wage, two-earner couple together earning $89,000 a year. Upon retiring in 2011, they will have paid $614,000 in Social Security taxes, and can expect to collect $555,000 in benefits. They will have paid about 10 percent more into the system than they're likely to get back.

What a great deal! Makes the 0.02% interest I’m earning on my savings account look pretty darn good!

In addition, according to the administrators who run Social Security, the system will go into the red in 2014, and we will have to start paying the difference between what is coming in and what is going out in benefits from a federal treasury that is already running annual trillion dollar deficits as far as the eye can see.

Another interesting fact to consider, according to Yahoo Finance, from 1950 - 2009, the S & P 500 grew at an average annual rate of 7%. This is with dividends reinvested, and is adjusted for inflation.

The Social security tax rate that is removed from your paycheck each pay period is 6.2% of your gross income. For the average wage couple mentioned above, that is $5,518 removed each year.

Using a compounding calculator, if the couple works for 40 years, starting at age 25 and retiring at age 65, put $5,518 in the first year and every year after that, and simply invested that in the S&P 500 index, (plain vanilla, nothing fancy), you would have a retirement account worth $1,262,326. That seems a lot better than $555,000.

I remember when Bush suggested we start with just an option of moving 5% of our Social Security payments over to private accounts, he was beaten until he was bloody by the AARP and the media to the point that he had to withdraw his suggestion.

Of course we have to phase the privatization of Social Security in over a very long time to take care of the seniors who are already on it, but can anyone explain to me why we just don’t get this done?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Sharon Statement
The above is a link to a statement written by Stanton Evans and signed at the conference at Sharon on September 11, 1960 that establishes 12 of the eternal truths that I believe.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Good government by Thomas Jefferson

"A wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government." ----Thomas Jefferson.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Why socialism doesn't work

An economics professor at a local college made a statement that he had never failed a single student before,
but had once failed an entire class.
That class had insisted that Obama's socialism worked & that no one would be poor & no one would be rich, a great equalizer.
The professor then said, "OK, we will have an experiment in this class on Obama's plan".
All grades would be averaged & everyone would receive the same grade so no one would fail & no one would receive an A...
After the first test, the grades were averaged & everyone got a B.
The students who studied hard were upset & the students who studied little were happy.
As the second test rolled around, the students who studied little had studied even less & the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too so they studied little. The second test average was a D!
No one was happy. When the 3rd test rolled around, the average was an F.
The scores never increased as bickering, blame & name-calling all resulted in hard feelings & no one would study for the benefit of anyone else. All failed, to their great surprise, & the professor told them that socialism would also ultimately fail because when the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great but when government takes all the reward away, no one will try or want to succeed.
Could not be any simpler than that. Remember, there is a mid-term election in 2010!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The financial results of government programs

To President Obama and all 535 voting members of the Legislature,
It is now official, you are ALL corrupt morons:
The U.S. Postal Service was established in 1775. You have had 234 years to get it right and it is broke.
Social Security was established in 1935. You have had 74 years to get it right and it is broke.
Fannie Mae was established in 1938. You have had 71 years to get it right and it is broke.
War on Poverty started in 1964. You have had 45 years to get it right; $1 trillion of our money is confiscated each year and transferred to "the poor" and they only want more.
Medicare and Medicaid were established in 1965. You have had 44 years to get it right and they are broke.
Freddie Mac was established in 1970. You have had 39 years to get it right and it is broke.
The Department of Energy was created in 1977 to lessen our dependence on foreign oil. It has ballooned to 16,000 employees with a budget of $24 billion a year and we import more oil than ever before. You had 32 years to get it right and it is an abysmal failure.
You have FAILED in every "government service" you have shoved down our throats while overspending our tax dollars.