The murder of 17 innocent high school students in Parkland, Florida reminds us that public schools are dangerous. Too dangerous for children.
Yet there are pro-public school ideologues who refuse to face the facts. They shut their eyes to reality. They spout their slogan: “Public schools don’t kill public students. Killers kill public school students.” We have heard this for 50 years. Yet the killers are always one of these: (1) enrolled public school students, (2) public school graduates, or (3) expelled public school students. It’s time to turn a deaf ear on the refrain about public schools not killing public school students.
When was the last time you heard of a mass execution of students in a private school? The next time will be the first.
When did anyone hear of a dozen or more corpses lying on the floor of a homeschool co-op?
The facts are inescapable. Students in public schools are at risk. Terrible risk. Unacceptable risk. There is no excuse for this any longer. None. The statistics are clear. Students get gunned down only in public schools.
Yet defenders of public schools never cease spouting their slogans about a constitutional right to taxpayer-funded education. They claim that this is guaranteed by the Constitution’s general welfare clause. This is preposterous. There were no taxpayer-funded day schools in 1788, not even a military academy. There wasn’t even a school at West Point. It was a fort. West Point was where Benedict Arnold had been in charge.
We need to organize . . . now. We need to go to the voters . . . now. We need to tell them what they already know but refuse to say in public: it is time to ban public schools once and for all. No more excuses. No more gradualism. Gradualism kills! In every town, every city, every county, every state, and in Congress, our voices must be heard. “Shut them down! All of them!”
There should be a school building buy-back program. Any school board that is willing to turn in its schools to the local police department should be paid. The empty schools can be then sold to private schools or even turned into business complexes. The police department should be allowed to keep the profits. We want our men in blue behind this.
County schools can be sold by the local sheriff’s office. Same arrangement. “Support your local sheriff. Turn in your schools.”
What will the students do? They can stay home and sign up for the Khan Academy. It’s online. It’s free. There would soon be a market for similar programs. Churches can create them. Retired teachers can create them. Service organizations can create them. If Salman Khan can do it, others can do it. There is a working model. This isn’t rocket science.
What about the children of mothers who work outside the home? No problem! A city or county can pay profit-seeking charter schools to enroll students. Tax support involves coercion, but it’s better to have private charter schools with armed guards than what we have now. There have been no mass shootings in charter schools. There have not been any gang-related murders, either.
What about today’s student-to-teacher ratio of 16 students per teacher. Double it to where it was in my day. Each student will sit at a carrel that touches a wall. The carrels will be in a U-formation. Each student will use a cheap Chromebook computer. The student will wear headphones to listen to online lectures and audio-visual presentations. A teacher will walk around to monitor the students from behind. The students will not know if the teacher is monitoring them. There will be few behavior problems.
What if a student gets stuck? He will raise his hand. The teacher will come over and ask what’s wrong. The student will say: “I don’t understand this.” The teacher will say: “Google it. That’s how you will learn everything as soon as you get out of school. Get a head start.”
“But,” you may say, “if that’s all a teacher had to do, then a low-paid worker could do the job. The high school could hire two or three $100,000-a-year teachers for one-time emergency instruction sessions, and the rest would be paid whatever a starting teacher is paid today.” Wrong. A teacher would be paid no more than 70% of what a starting teacher is paid today. There would be lots of applicants with B.A. degrees in education. They would be trained in college mainly in Googling.
What about hoodlums and gang members? Expel them.
What about disruptive students? Expel them.
What about teachers’ union members? Expel them. (OK, I’m just kidding. No charter school would hire them in the first place.)
Academic performance will improve. U.S. News and World Report rank the best academic high schools in the USA. The top three schools in America are run by the same charter school company in Arizona: BASIS. So is the number-five school. The ranking is here. I am sure BASIS can meet the demand.
If BASIS doesn’t want to set up schools in high-crime neighborhoods, then local entrepreneurs can do it. Cities can set up voucher programs. With no school buildings to heat, cool, and repair, no teachers’ union to placate, and no liability insurance to buy, taxes can be lowered.
I see a market for private security services for charter schools. “We pack. Kids learn.” They can hire ex-football coaches. I can see the recruiting brochure. “You’re big. You’re loud. You’re ready.”
This program is practical. We must close the public schools forever . . . for the sake of the children.