A Strategy to Reform the Public Schools
April 9, 2012
The Council on Foreign Relations has admitted that America's tax-funded schools are a disaster.
No reform has ever improved them. Mine would at least make them cheaper.
Ron Paul needs to train Republicans in winning school board elections. That is a practical goal. If Ron Paul Republicans cannot win control over school boards and them cut their funding, it is naive to imagine that they could win the Presidency, both houses of Congress, and then cut government spending.
A political movement needs small victories. Here is a way to get them.
First, they must win a majority on a local school board. Ron Paul needs to set up a training program to show them how. Second, they need a workable reform program to implement after they have a majority on a board. Here is such a program.
1. Vote no on all pay raises.
2. Raise the student/teacher ratio by 20% (as a token start)
3. Announce a 20% for administrators the next school year.
4. Announce a 10% pay cut for teachers for the next year.
5. Wait for the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) to strike.
6. Refuse to settle when the AFT strikes.
When asked why they are doing this, board members should say: "To eliminate waste in a time of economic crisis. Taxpayers deserve this."
If a strike starts, the board then publishes the salary scales of every striking teacher. Show the number of paid days off. Remind voters of tenure laws work so that incompetent, overpaid time-servers cannot be fired. Show how SAT scores have declined as student-teacher ratios have declined. Have all this ready in advance. Have a Web site with all the facts and figures.
Meanwhile, advertise for accredited teachers in every college newspaper in the state. Post this notice in the papers' classified ads every day for a month:
27 full-time jobs for teachers. All grade levels. Go here: www.bit.ly/[number]
That link will take them to a WordPress.com blogsite (free) where the young near-graduates can select a job. Offer salaries at no more than two-thirds of the existing salaries. Offer a student-teacher ratio of 33 to one. Make it clear that there will be no tenure. Tell them that the jobs are contingent on the AFT's refusal to return to work. Have them fill in application forms and send them in.
College seniors with certified degrees are about to graduate. They are on average $24,000 in debt. They have no job offers. They are desperate for a job. You think they won't apply? The board will be flooded.
At that point, the board members call in the local media and show the pile of applications. "We can get fully accredited teachers at two-thirds of today's pay scales." This video is posted on YouTube and embedded on the school board's site.
If things go well, the AFT members will not settle by the date their contracts expire. Then -- whammo! -- every one of them is replaced.
Show teachers that their careers are at risk. Let them live in fear of the loss of their jobs in an era of budgetary crises.
The Federal Reserve System will inflate. Prices will rise. Local teachers' salaries won't. The higher the rate of price inflation, the cheaper that local schools will become to operate.
The AFT may call in the National Labor Relations Board. That will lead to a long, drawn-out legal fight. Meanwhile the schools remain closed.
Board members will recommend that parents adopt the Ron Paul Curriculum, a free online curriculum comparable to the Khan Academy. If it is not available, then they recommend the Robinson Curriculum. They should do this until the union settles.
This will break the most powerful union in the United States.
Margaret Thatcher busted the coal miner's union as her first major act in office. Ronald Reagan busted the air transport controllers union as his first major act. The Ron Paul revolutionaries should bust the American Federation of Teachers, district by district. Reveal to all that the AFT is toothless. Send them a message.
AUDIO RECORDERS IN EVERY CLASSROOM
The next step is for the school board to authorize students in each class to take battery-operated $35 audio recorders to school and record what goes on in the classrooms. This is called "taking better notes." It is for helping students get better grades.
Students will be told that it's OK to upload audio files onto YouTube after school. Students will also be encouraged to create free WordPress.com sites that will host these links, course by course, so that other students can listen. .
Parents will be encouraged to hear what is being taught. Who knows what parents will discover? Let's find out. If any of them don't like what they hear, they can protest officially with the board.
Every teacher will know from then on that parents and school board members can monitor what they are teaching.
The AFT will go ballistic. "This inhibits free speech!" The answer: "We are paying their salaries. This speech is not free. It's expensive. We think voters should see what they are paying for." The AFT will shout: "This undermines academic freedom!" The answer: "This isn't college. The children are minors. Parents deserve to know what is going on. So do taxpayers." Voters will support the school board.
MAKE A DEAL WITH THE BEST TEACHERS
For the local teachers who are self-confident, the district will make them a deal. They will be allowed to record their classroom presentations. They will then upload them to their own YouTube channel. This is easy. It is also free. The district will ask only this: the videos must have a shortened link visible at the bottom of the screen at all times. The link is to the board's special commercial blog site. The teachers will be allowed to produce PDF products: workbooks, textbooks, and exams. The district will sell these to home schools students and school districts everywhere. Districts will be able to buy them at an annual fee per enrolled student. The teachers will get a 50% royalty.
If the AFT protests, point out to the local representatives that their opposition is keeping good teachers from increasing their income. Is the AFT opposed to good teaching? Is it opposed to teachers profiting from their skills? The answer to both questions is "yes," but the AFT cannot admit this in public.
Every school board will be able to use YouTube courses from the best public school teachers in America. These courses will be on YouTube for free. Any board can then install flat screen TVs in the classrooms. Then the board can demote existing teachers to the status of a teacher's assistants, with a corresponding pay decrease. These TA's can help individual students and administer exams. This is not rocket science!
Meanwhile, parents can use the videos for home schooling. The fewer the number of children enrolled at school, the less the money the state pays to local districts.
Students' SAT scores will rise: better teaching (videos). The voters will love it: better results for less money.
Word will spread. Other districts around the nation will imitate the "Ron Paul districts."
Defenders of limited government need to get children into educational programs that defend limited government. The tax-funded schools promote ever-larger government to fund ever-higher salaries for teaching ever-smaller classes.
Here is the next battlefield. If Ron Paul Republicans cannot win here, they cannot win the Presidency and Congress.
First things first.
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