One of the five key elements of presidential contender Mitt Romney’s stronger economy plan is overhauling America’s education system — The Skills to Succeed. The bullet points of this education update are:
-Give every family access to a great school and quality teachers
-Provide access to affordable and effective higher education options
-Focus job training programs on building valuable skills that align with opportunities
-Attract and retain the best and the brightest from around the world
As we wrote in our article of June 11 of this year, NEA Report Card: F, the education problem has been growing in America for decades, as the costs of educating our children skyrocket and students are churned out of the public education system with less and less actual education.
A decades-long growing battle between liberals and conservatives over education is culminating in calls to either get the government and unions out of education altogether, or to entirely overhaul the system.
The first bullet point – affording every family access to a great school and quality teachers is a broadly discussed function of reversing decades of damage done by the teachers’ unions and leftist bureaucrats and administrators. Their intractable resistance to objective standards of excellence and testing of teachers for competency – or even compensation based on merit and results, has left them exposed as the typical “more money for less work” union members they have become. Merit pay for teachers and tuition vouchers for students, to take to any school they desire to attend, will have the immediate and permanent effect of forcing schools to compete for their livelihood—a capitalistic concept quite foreign to the unions and their Democratic partners.
The second bullet point – providing access to affordable and effective higher education options is a cutting-edge concept that is as yet, undeveloped in the public arena. The Federalist Press editors hereby proffer a plan that will revolutionize American higher education.
The major problems with the current system are: 1) costs have artificially skyrocketed and the taxpayer is left holding the bag for much of it while students incur decades of debt; and 2) leftists dominate the system and classrooms, leaving indoctrinated students with little usable education and mush for brains.
The editors propose a new higher education option, patterned somewhat after the current CLEP and DANTES programs. In this age of digital access it is feasible to launch a program that provides students with online classes, with lectures by top experts and stunning graphics and demonstrations. A basic 2 year core curriculum will ensure that all students receive across-the-board instruction in math, science, English, history, etc. Then specialization will occur in 3rd and 4th year online classes. This is essentially how colleges and universities are supposed to offer classes now, but they have strayed far from their mandate.
Third and fourth year specialization courses in the government offered online university should emphasize productive degree programs initially; science, engineering, language, history, chemistry, education, pre-medicine, pre-law, etc., with some liberal arts programs being added as the system is more fully developed to accommodate their greater need for interactivity.
To help reduce cheating on exams, a major problem in the current system as well, testing centers should be established for this online university system with certified proctors to administer computerized tests. Students can take online courses at their own pace, and show up to take the exams as soon as they have completed the course.
Costs, which will be only a fraction of the current $500 billion, can be shared by students and the taxpayers. Students can pay a low flat fee for each course, and the federal government can dramatically cut its higher education budget and finance the remaining cost of the online university system.
This proposal will provide higher education for anyone who wants it, and anyone who is self-motivated enough to do the work. It doesn’t get any easier, cheaper or better than this.