NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


October 30, 2006

We need a new education environment that listens and responds to what parents say.  To move us in the right direction, we need to toss aside certain assumptions, says Eugene Hickok of the Heritage Foundation.

A new vision of education in America should embrace the principles on which America is supposed to be based: freedom, equality, opportunity, responsibility and ownership.  For example:

  • The status quo lacks freedom, and the façade of equality has allowed an achievement gap to haunt the nation; millions are denied a real opportunity.
  • Newly minted accountability systems have school administrators gagging and leave too many parents confused, resulting in too many failing to take responsibility for the future of our children.

Imagine what education in America could look like with these new principles in place, says Hickok:

  • With freedom, families could decide how best to educate their children.
  • Equality would be measured in terms of the education children receive and each student's achievement, rather than merely in dollars spent per student.
  • Responsibility would begin at home; parents would have the power to determine whether their children are receiving a quality education.
  • This more robust notion of accountability would enable people to determine how much their investment yields in terms of a child's education.

Gradually, families might begin to take back ownership of their children's education. Ownership is essential, giving a sense of authority that could drive ongoing improvement in education.  The relationship of family, child and education is direct and tangible, rather than distorted by the demands of a system.

Source: Eugene Hickok, "The Education Revolution America Needs," Washington Post, October 27, 2006.

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