Education is one of the most expensive government services and should be expected to provide some of the best returns on our investment. Unfortunately, the discussions on improving education typically revolve around throwing more money at a system that was designed well before the current information age. It has been commonly and consistently recognized that the quality of education in Texas is a problem, but the answer is not more state control. The answer is innovation.
Let Teachers Teach
Given the amount of government funding spent on education in Texas, the expenditure does not seem to translate into adequately prepared students who are capable of finding a job. One reason for this is the generic standards and mandates imposed on schools statewide.
- Schools need the freedom to set their educational curriculum and expectations to meet the needs of the people most directly affected by the institution. This is especially true for students in their final two years of primary education. My suggestion: end traditional education upon completion of the tenth grade, and give students and parents the opportunity to choose the best path for the next two years and beyond, based on the talents and desires of the individual. That could mean spending the next two years in college, entering a trade or apprenticeship program, or perhaps entering directly into the workforce. Additionally, in the event that a student completes the tenth grade but is unable to decide how to utilize their resources for the final two years, they will have access to that funding over the course of the next ten years.
- Another component of this plan is to allow educators to teach and innovate based on what’s best for their students. The methods used in one district may not work for another -- this is why unfunded education mandates from the state do more harm than good.
- A significant reduction in the number of administrators per student is necessary. The previously mentioned points would assist with this, as more control in the hands of local school boards, parents, and students would not require as much oversight or paper-pushing to respond to federal and state level restrictions.