LANSING, Mich. – During a legislative hearing at Michigan’s state capitol last week, a member of the education establishment made a stunning admission about how parents are viewed by the “experts.”
Debbie Squires, associate director of the Michigan Elementary and Middle School Principals Association, explained to members of the House Education Committee why her association opposed allowing more cyber (or online) schools to operate in the state.
“Educators go through education for a reason,” Squires said. “They are the people who know best about how to serve children. That’s not necessarily true of an individual resident. I’m not saying they don’t want the best for their children, but they may not know what actually is best from an education standpoint.”
Committee chairman Tom McMillin, a Republican, seemed taken aback by Squires’ comments.
“Wow … Parents don’t know what’s best for their child?” McMillin asked.
“I said they may want what’s best for their child (but) they may not know,” Squires replied.
Squires’ comments are noteworthy because they give parents and citizens a window into the minds of the nation’s self-proclaimed education experts. Despite their talk of “collaborating” with parents to reform public education, the establishment honestly believes that parents are too ignorant and ill-informed to choose the best learning option for their child.
Not only that, but they believe charter schools and cyber schools are consuming tax dollars that rightfully belong to the government-run public schools. They argue that the only thing preventing traditional public schools from producing amazing student results is a lack of money.
They claim to “know best about how to serve children.”
The facts suggest otherwise.
According to the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Services, per pupil spending increased by 82.5 percent – in constant dollars – from the 1980-81 school year to the 2008-09 school year.
What did taxpayers get in return for their increased investment? From 1980 to 2010, Scholastic Aptitude Tests (SAT) scores in critical reading dropped one point (from 502 to 501), while the average math SAT score increased a meager 24 points (492 to 516). (A score of 500 is considered to be average.)
The experts have had 30 years and untold billions of dollars to turn things around, and they haven’t.
It’s difficult to see how parents could do any worse.