Students are Becoming Less Educated, While Costs Continue to Rise
The Failures of the Department of Education (and other shitty policies)
The Federal Government's Role in Education
While nearly every product in existence today continues to improve and get cheaper, the cost of education continues to increase. I credit two failures of government for this debauchery: the Department of Education (1979) and the Higher Education Act of 1965. The Department of Education does not educate anyone. The Education Department (ED) has the goal to “promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access”, aka they have a mission statement that sounds like any teacher or parent, except these people have the power of the federal government to take your tax money and tell you how to educate your kids. The more local you can make education decisions, the more effective education will be.
The idea that we need to be told by educators in Washington how to educate our kids locally is ignorant. There are great teachers everywhere, and they are being literally retarded by federal influence with standardized testing and core curricula. We need to allow schools to compete with each other for the best students and for the most effective methods of teaching. The key is to provide parents and students with more choices. First, parents need to choose what they want their kids to learn. Without a national core curriculum, parents can voice their opinion through local channels on what the schools should emphasize. Second, teachers need to choose the best way to educate the students on the subjects the parents decide on. Schools with the most effective teaching methods will perform better, which will draw students from other schools, or motivate other schools to adopt the best system. Third, students need the choice to specialize in high school. Think of it as a high school major. A general studies option will still be available for students to obtain a broad education. Additionally, schools will offer programs of emphasis, which will reflect what prevails in the local society. For example: a high school in rural Texas might have a core curriculum, plus focuses in agriculture, natural resources, engineering in the oil or aerospace industries, and pediatric neuroscience (I'm just making shit up here). A high school in California might offer a core curriculum, plus focuses in film production, distillation, computer science, marine biology, and economics (or whatever).
But King RealRudePolitics! What about the poor inner city kids who have less funding and therefore less opportunity? Inner city kids might have focuses in urban development, or basketball, or soccer. Every large city can have high schools that produce nothing but the best athletes in the state, which will afford them the opportunity to receive a scholarship to their state university. Students from the suburbs who have a passion for sports or urban development will recognize the benefits of attending that inner city school. Coaches would want to work with the best athletes. Colleges would recruit from the schools that specialize in what they're looking for. The possibilities are endless (unless you want to be an Art History Major).
The Higher Education Act of 1965 is responsible for federal student loans, which today amounts to over $1 trillion. Student loans weren’t always out of control, and college wasn’t always outrageously expensive. The Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) guarantees student loans using federal tax dollars. When the government guarantees loans, the schools have no issue with rising costs, even if they don’t lead to expansion or of higher quality education, the loans are guaranteed! It's the exact same problem created by the FDIC; originally created to provide a safety net for depositors with the instability in the banking markets of the early 20th century, but is now used as an excuse for banks to not be held responsible for their investments, or who banks lend credit to (the taxpayers have got our backs!).
Today’s society seems to operate under the assumption that going to college is a right. Allow me to remind you what a right is by explaining to you what it isn’t. If the government can provide something to you, and likewise take it away, it is not a right. The federal government has zero responsibility providing you with education. If you can show me the word “education” in the Constitution, I’ll be fucking impressed. The Constitutional argument to be made here is based on the 10th Amendment (perhaps the most ignored of the Bill of Rights). If the Constitution does not prescribe a power to Congress, nor prohibit a power, that power is reserved for the States to decide, or the individuals. It does not say, "take money from people in each state to give to a bureaucracy in Washington to make blanket decisions, then give that money back to the schools who fail the most." The Constitution is filled with approximately zero bullshit, and the Department of Education is bullshit.