Five Ways to Make American Schools Worse

Writing in the New York Times, the former chancellor of New York City schools, Harold O. Levy, shares his ideas on “Five Ways to Fix American Schools”.    To paraphrase, they are:

1.  Raise the age of compulsory education from 18 to 19.

“If the federal government ultimately pays for the extra year, it would be a turning point at least as important as the passage of the 1862 Morrill Act that gave rise to the state universities or the 1944 G.I. Bill that made college affordable to our returning service personnel after World War II.”

2.  Use high-pressure sales tactics to curb truancy. 

“This includes making “repeated home visits and early morning phone calls” as well as securing written and oral commitments from parents.

3.  Advertise creatively to increase college enrollment.

He urges public universities to be more like the University of Phoenix when advertising.

4.  Allow the Department of Education to take over accreditation.


5.  Produce better students!

“Better teachers, smaller classes and more modern schools are all part of the solution.  But improving parenting skills and providing struggling parents with assistance are part of the solution too.”

So to really sum this up:  1.  Spend more money.  2.  Spend more money.  3.  Spend more money.  4.  Spend more money.  5.  Spend more money.  And encourage parents to spend more time with their kids…but doing so may require the government spending more money.

The amount that the federal government has spent on education has (inflation adjusted) more than quadrupled since 1965 and the passage of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.  At what point do we realize that increasing the money in education is not the solution?

-Jarrett Skorup


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