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We need to change our focus on government schools
I often hear a story about someone who is asked to give money to the poor and refuses, saying "that is what I pay taxes for." I think this sums up the foundational problem with the government school system.
A major aspect of the 2011 legislative agenda is education reform. I respectfully submit that while there are certainly things that can be improved, there is nothing fundamentally wrong with the government school system itself. In most schools, the majority of students can get an excellent education.
The problem with the government school system is that we have allowed the foundations to crumble. The problem is not with the schools themselves so much as that parents have abandoned their God-given responsibility to educate their children and have instead handed all of the duty of educating their kids to a government bureaucracy. A large government bureaucracy (which describes our "public school" system perfectly) is inherently incompetent for that job.
Ultimately, the primary God-given responsibility for educating the nation's children falls with the parents of those children. If the parents care about their child getting a good education, work with their children and discipline the child to study, work and learn, most children can excel in the majority of schools in the country.
I am 100% convinced that the reason we have so much ignorance despite spending mountains of cash on education is that our entire focus is corrupt. As a nation, we have abdicated our God-given responsibilities as parents because "that is what we pay taxes for." Until we shift our orientation back to where it should be, we can implement as many reforms as we want and continually increase funding for schools, but we will always fail.
This sounds like a screed against the entire concept of the government school system. It isn't. This is a call for parents to reclaim their God-given responsibilities as parents to "train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." (Proverbs 22:6) The government school system (or private schools, or homeschooling) should be viewed as the means to getting a good education, with the parents shouldering the responsibility for seeing it gets done.