‘Soviet Style’ Education System Not Cutting It

It took me a few days to stumble upon this op-ed from Clark Howard that appeared Thursday on, properly lambasting the state of the American education system as a dysfunctional monopoly. I have made no secret of my disdain for my public education. While punctuated by occasional points of light, most of my primary and secondary schooling was a giant blob of pointlessness. I spent most of my time in high school doing anything other than my assigned work. In my evenings, I was surfing the web, reading, writing, and working on my web site—experiences that have been extremely valuable in my life and career. I did these things when I should have been completing my repetitious, pointless, busywork homework assignments.

To this day, I’m glad I was a ‘mediocre student’ who didn’t do his homework. My after-school experiences made me who I am, and all-too-often my ‘schooling’ and its onerous after-school requirements just got in the way.

Having said that, I am a strong supporter of education. It doesn’t have to be this way. Our schools should be among our highest public priorities, and they can be world-class institutions that provide valuable experience for the vast majority of students. To do so, however, we can’t continue to operate our schools in a government-mandated, monopolistic, hyper-micromanaged, cookie-cutter way. We must give students and their parents options, and through the natural process of competition the whole system will steadily improve. Some schools will be more successful than others. Some will cater to specific types of learning and be better suited for certain individual students. Maybe teachers will be free to teach. Maybe students won’t have to have a committee approve their bathroom breaks or prescription medications.

Imagine that. . . .

Scott Bradford has been putting his opinions on his website since 1995—before most people knew what a website was. He has been a professional web developer in the public- and private-sector for over twenty years. He is an independent constitutional conservative who believes in human rights and limited government, and a Catholic Christian whose beliefs are summarized in the Nicene Creed. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Public Administration from George Mason University. He loves Pink Floyd and can play the bass guitar . . . sort-of. He’s a husband, pet lover, amateur radio operator, and classic AMC/Jeep enthusiast.