Sen. Randal H. "Rand" Paul (R.-Ky.)
“Let’s figure out how to have competition in our schools—competition for better schools,” said Sen. Randal H. “Rand” Paul (R.-Ky.) to the American Action Forum.
“Let the students decide where to go; attach the money to the kids, and the money will go to the better schools, and the poorer schools will meet their demise,” he said.
Teachers should also receive competitive pay, without union interference, said Paul, who was joined at the forum by a panel of education experts including Zakiya Smith, , Jeff Selingo, and Andrew Gillen.
“Why not on occasion give a really good teacher $100,000? You’ve got to break up the idea that every teacher deserves $55,000, no more, no less—the idea that everyone’s going to contribute the same and we’re not going to reward some teachers and not re-hire some teachers,” he said.
wrote about some 400 teachers in New York who had inappropriately touched students but could not be fired because of union agreements, said Paul. “You can’t do that. You have to change—we’ve got to break up the ideas of what we’ve been doing.”
Paul’s son tore a ligament in psychology class while the teacher sat with his feet up on the desk and let the kids play basketball every day; that teacher should not get the same pay as the teacher who works in and out of the classroom, calling parents and engaging with students to increase their test scores, he said.
Often parents cannot blame teachers for failing students, said Paul: a study by Malcolm Gladwell showed that the education gap between impoverished and well-off students widens during the summer.
“He comes to the conclusion that the only thing that he’s identified objectively through statistics that would work would be longer school-years,” he said.
Constitutionally, states, not the federal government, should manage education, he said. “There’s nothing in the Constitution that says anything about education. We’ve drifted from that.”
Increasing education funding will not fix the problem, he said.
“I think it doesn’t work. I mean, look at Washington, D.C., we spend what, $16,000--or is it $20,000--per pupil in Washington, so the school district that spends more money than any other school district in the country has arguably one of the worst educations in the country,” he said.
Annie Hsiao, director of Education Policy at the American Action Forum and major organizer of Paul’s talk, said funding for American college educations has also come to crisis.
“Based on 2009 numbers—the state of student loans right now--the default rate for student loans is 8.8 percent. Federal default rate is 13.8 percent,” she said.
“You do see a market increase in students being unable to pay back their student loans because in many cases they graduate—or in many cases they don’t graduate, half of students don’t graduate—and aren’t able to find employment because again they haven’t been equipped with the skills necessary,” she said.
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Are the long titles getting to be too much? Maybe I'll cut back next week. = P