Tuesday, January 4

THROWING MORE MONEY AT EDUCATION ISN'T THE ANSWER

Peter Gibbon, in a penetrating "National Review" column entitled, "No Teacher Left Behind," posted in "Lucianne" today, cites a NYT's article reporting that American students have the 28th poorest test score outcomes per dollar spent on education among 40 countries in mathematics and 18th in reading. Liberal Democrats persist in thinking that money is the answer to this country's educational woes; but, of course, they're only solidifying the teachers unions' stranglehold on public education in this country, while kowtowing to a major voter constituency. Few would argue that teacher salaries shouldn't be raised; but, as Gibbons aptly argues, the teaching profession needs to be transformed not just through more competitive salaries, but through more rigorous professional standards and far more stringent performance measurements. There must be a quid pro quo. President Bush's "No Child Left Behind" program appropriately requires that teachers become more highly qualified; but the president, like his father before him, talks fiscal restraint, while spending taxpayers' money like a member of the Kennedy family. But, this aside and to his credit, Gibbon doesn't just point critically at government. He also points to the shortcomings of today's parenting vis-a-vis education: "We also have legitimate concerns about a generation of young people educated by video games and reality television who read reluctantly and write laboriously." Seems "Xbox" and "Fear Factor" have supplanted the "Great Books" in most American homes. No wonder our children struggle and perform poorly on tests of knowledge and aptitude against their counterparts in other advanced countries. The "Information Age" isn't about adeptness at "Halo 2." It's about a knowledge-based society understanding that education is the unalterable key to economic performance in a world in which increasing numbers of people from all over the globe have access to information and, therefore, the engine of competitive advantage.