Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Basic Education

One aspect of my career that I simply LOVE is that I get exposed to a wide range of issues and perspectives -- which primarily remind me that government is failing us taxpayers. Today was no exception since I attended the annual meeting and issues conference of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce (

During the presentation of the polling results for the "Business Barometer" sponsored by the chamber I read through the handout to discover the results to a question posed to a scientific sample of the Minnesota business community - "How do you spend your training resources (for employees) ?" The results were -- 87% on specialized skills and 12% on REMEDIAL SKILLS!!

Yes, once our students graduate from our school system Minnesota businesses must spend even MORE MONEY to teach basic skills like reading and math. One executive from a radiator manufacturing company noted that her company has to teach some of their workers how to "count to 8 so they can complete their time sheets...............and how to use fractions during our manufacturing process................" Wow, even my big government friends out there (Holstein Girl???!!!) have to be very troubled that we have to pay for basic education twice -- first via the school system and then again with company money (the money the government hasn't taxed away yet!!).

Now today's presentations were disturbing enough but then I re-read this article from today's local newspaper - "Minnesota holds ground in math, reading tests". This article noted that "only 29% of the nation's eighth graders (14 year old students for my non-American readers) are proficient in reading -- that's remained unchanged since 2003." Let me pose a question -- if you worked in a sales job but had not increase your sales levels in the last four years don't you think you would get fired? But that is not the case with teachers and school administrators -- they simply tell us they need more money.

So in the last four years the American education system has made ZERO progress in terms of improving reading levels. Is it any wonder that only 25% of American adults read even one book last year? (for details see my posting "25%" at -- Perhaps even more troubling the Big Government advocates in our country look at poor performance like these test results and declare we need to "invest more" which of course means taking more of our income for their grand schemes. I would much rather keep my money in my family budget so my wife and I can hire a private tutor to work with our children in the same way the aristocrats/nobles did in European history.

Now I know why home schooling is not growing rapidly -- too many parents can't read and write thus they are unable to teach their children.

Time for more school choice.


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