While I support the right of school systems to spend more of their tax dollars on schools than another school district might choose or be able to do, as a nation we have an interest in seeing that all students have access to a quality education regardless of how shiftless or provincial their parents might be.
Everyone likes to point to Catholic schools as a model of success in education. Catholic schools do not operate without regional and national oversight. http://www.ncea.org/about/index.asp
My Catholic school taught science in Science class and religion in Religion class. The Science teacher didn't teach Creationism and the Religion teacher didn't teach Evolution. And no one seemed to have a problem with that.
The reason that Catholic school works is because the population is self selected and because the parents answer to the school. We behaved ourselves because in a couple of hours our mothers were going to be in the parking lot talking to our teachers and school admins. And above all of this was the "board of education" known as "The Diocese".
We had no physically disabled kids. We had one simpleton who was allowed to attend rather like daycare and kept busy by the principal. We had no kids whose parents were in prison, none whose parents were gangsters, and damned few whose parents were on the equivalent of Welfare. The student body was ethnically homogenous except for one black kid, three Jews, and some gypsies.
The above link will lead you to charts which will show you that the efficacy of public education peaked around 1965 - 1972 and has deteriorated ever since.
Feds should get out of it. They failed.
The secondary shift was the end of ability tracking and mainstreaming. The parents demanded this. Parents of kids who were not in the A group could never accept that their kids simply did not perform academically. They believed that the school was programing their kids for failure. Blacks and education academics insisted that the tracking system had to be done away with because it would forever shut the black kids out, because they weren't getting the educational support "from society".
This was all supported by the activist and judicial belief that the history of underfunding black schools could only be addressed by bussing, such that it would be impossible to underfund black schools. A surprising number of otherwise intelligent people still believe that majority black schools are underfunded, when in fact they are disproportionately over funded in almost every school district.
The cost of distrust is high. The cost of deception is higher. The cost of dishonesty is highest. When people can't even discuss the situation in terms which actually define it without being screamed at and labeled "racist" then progress doesn't seem likely regardless of whether there is a DOE or not. In fact, the only people who are currently allowed to demand a return to neighborhood schools are poor black people, and the only ones doing that are associated with black separatist and Muslim groups.
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