Posted by kallahar on Jan.15.02 at 09:47 am PST.
kallahar writes The Libertarian Party released the following press release regarding the new education bill. Summary: New federal education bill will not turn around falling test scores.
Read more to read the whole thing
WASHINGTON, DC -- The education bill signed on Tuesday by President
Bush will cause test scores to plummet and America's children to become more ignorant, Libertarians predict -- because that's what has happened after the enactment of every federal education bill over the past 30 years.
"The real education crisis in America is that politicians never seem to learn," said Steve Dasbach, Libertarian Party Executive Director.
"They haven't learned that government-run schools are the cause of student failures, and that the only way to improve education is to decrease the role of the federal government, give more power to parents, and move toward a genuine free-market system in education."
Yet decreasing federal power wasn't one of the so-called reforms in the education bill that Bush praised at signing ceremonies on Tuesday in Ohio, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire while flanked by a beaming Senator Teddy Kennedy.
The legislation, which passed Congress last year with broad bipartisan support, mandates annual math and reading tests in grades 3-8, gives local school districts more "flexibility" in spending federal aid, and gives parents the right to transfer children from one government-run school to another.
But the widely praised initiative is doomed to failure, predicted Dasbach, because history shows that more federal involvement in schools actually decreases student achievement. According to Department of Education figures:
* Between 1970 and 1995, federal education spending nearly doubled from $19 billion to $35 billion. Yet SAT scores fell by an average of 50 points. And since 1960, federal education spending has more than tripled, yet SAT scores have fallen by 100 points.
"The evidence is clear: More federal funding and involvement equals lower test scores," Dasbach said. "And now George W. Bush has signed a bill that will make the problem worse. The new budget increases funding for the Education Department, which has squandered $550 billion since 1980, by a whopping 40%."
Meanwhile, the reverse is true in private schools: They cost less money and deliver better results, Dasbach said.
* The average private school tuition nationwide is $3,116 -- less than half the $6,857 per pupil expenditure at government schools, according to the Center for Education Reform.
Yet private school students scored proficient in the 1994 National Assessment of Educational Progress reading test at 1.5 times the rate of public school students, and scored higher in math at every grade level.
So why do students do better at private schools?
The answer is simple, Dasbach said: "Private schools are rewarded only when they succeed, but government schools are rewarded even when they fail. As Education Department statistics show, government-run schools have been failing America's children for decades. Sadly, their latest reward for that failure came on Tuesday, when Democrats and Republicans increased their budget -- again."
The solution, Dasbach said, is to decrease the role of federal bureaucrats in local education, eliminate meddlesome federal mandates, stop showering federal money on failing public schools, and work to give every child the opportunity to attend a private school.
"One simple way to improve education would be to enact a dollar-for-dollar tax credit to allow any individual or company to fund private tuition for any child or any private school," he said. "Until that first step is taken, politicians will continue to pretend that government schools can be reformed, and our children will be the losers."