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Education

Education
May 18, 2017
PRESS RELEASE: Heartland Institute Experts React to Minnesota Legislature Passing Tax-Credit Scholarships
"Private school choice in Minnesota is literally nonexistent, so enacting this tax-credit scholarship program would be a great first step for the North Star State" - Tim Benson
Government Spending
May 17, 2017
Local Michigan School Board Gets on the Privatization Bus
The Cedar Springs, Michigan School Board approved in May a contract with a private business to provide transportation services, reducing annual spending by $350,000 to $400,000 per year, in addition to $610,000 in one-time revenue.
Education
May 17, 2017
Common Core or Freedom of Choice: Which Will Prevail?
In the land of the free, surely choice eventually will triumph over the dreary imposed sameness of a Common Core.
More News
Education
May 16, 2017
Could Trump Become Education’s Great Liberator?
President Donald Trump may receive little or no credit anytime soon from within the public-education establishment for potentially easing the dead weight of federal mandates from the pursuit of learning in classrooms across the country.
Education
May 16, 2017
Texas Senate Amends Bill After Unusual Alliance Opposes School Choice Law
A group of Texas homeschoolers united with public school advocates in the state to oppose a school choice bill.
Education
May 16, 2017
Texas ESAs Would Increase Teacher Pay, Study Finds
Teachers in Texas would receive substantial pay increases if the state were to enact legislation establishing education savings accounts (ESAs), a study found.
 

The Issue

Education has been a high priority for Americans since the first settlers arrived here. The Founding Fathers thought a free society would be impossible without an educated population. Thomas Jefferson, our third president, said, “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.”

K–12 schools in America today, particularly public schools, are failing to perform their essential duty of passing along to the next generation the core of knowledge that makes civilization possible. A once-vibrant marketplace of public and private schools has become, as Peter Brimelow wrote, “in essence a socialized business, the American equivalent of the Soviet Union’s collectivized farms.”

Today about nine of every 10 students attend schools that are owned, operated, and staffed by government employees. About 70 percent of the teachers in those schools belong to unions, working under workplace rules that frustrate the best and brightest while protecting the incompetent and even dangerous teachers. Curriculum has been debased as teachers and administrators lowered standards in order to make their jobs easier and to avoid being held responsible for falling student achievement. The public education establishment “even [has] policies now that make curriculum ‘teacher proof,’ as if teachers would mess it up if they weren’t watched and managed every minute of the school day.”

The publication in 1983 of A Nation at Risk warned Americans of a national crisis caused by the poor performance of their public school system. Many reforms were instituted and the resources devoted to public schools were vastly increased. However, in 2003 the Hoover Institution’s Koret Task Force on K–12 Education concluded those reforms “have not improved school performance or student achievement.” In the intervening 20 years, about 80 million first graders “have walked into schools where they have scant chance of learning much more than the youngsters whose plight troubled the Excellence Commission in 1983.”

Today, 13 years after the Koret Task Force report, evidence of inadequate public school performance continues to emerge: the country’s poor standing in international comparisons; staggering dropout rates for big-city high schools that show little or no improvement over time; stagnant test scores and a large achievement gap between white and minority students; more graduates requiring remedial education before or after entering college and workplaces; and deficiencies in school curriculum such as neglect of civics.

Even more alarming is emerging evidence that the problems affecting public schools are spreading to private schools as they increasingly adopt the curricula and tests used in the public sector and as Catholic schools close due to competitive pressure from “free” charter schools. We can no longer assume that simply moving a child from a public to a private school will produce better outcomes.

Our Stance

Transforming K–12 education is the most important public policy issue in the U.S. today. Unless we can improve the quality of education students receive today, we have little hope of solving many of the most vexing social and economic problems of tomorrow.

The Heartland Institute has long been a leading voice for school transformation – and school choice in particular. Since 1997, it has published the school choice movement’s national outreach publication, School Reform News. More than half of state elected officials surveyed say they read School Reform News, making it the movement’s most effective way to reach policymakers.

School choice, the Parent Trigger, and digital learning are three innovations that create new opportunities to transform education. While promoting positive, transformative change in K–12 schooling, Heartland does not shy away from opposing the special interests who would take over – even nationalize – education. We are among the country’s most effective opponents of Common Core State Standards.

Featured Subtopics

Apple core
The Heartland Institute has been at the forefront of pushing back on Common Core education standards. Our effort is led by Lennie Jarratt, project manager for education reform; Joy Pullmann, research fellow for education policy, and Teresa Mull, managing editor of School Reform News.
Man with computer
Understanding that freedom to fail is necessary for innovation, proponents of online education generally advocate policymakers create a level playing field for various learning opportunities and provide an appropriate amount of oversight for public funds to ensure excellent options rise and poor options fall.
Young man choosing a book
School choice improves educational outcomes not only for those who attend schools of choice, but also for those who remain in traditional public schools. Research shows parents given a choice tend to be more satisfied with their child’s education, which leads to more parental involvement in student learning.

Additional Subtopics

  • Achievement Gap
  • Classroom
  • Court Decisions
  • Curriculum
  • Desegregation
  • Education Industry
  • Funding: Cities
  • Funding: Federal
  • Funding: States
  • Higher Education
  • Home Schooling
  • Incentives
  • International
  • Parents
  • Preschool
  • Private Schools
  • Public Schools
  • Remedial Education
  • Special Education
  • Spending & Achievement
  • Teachers
  • Teachers Unions
  • Testing
  • The Parent Trigger
  • Workforce Development

Videos

Title: Stop Fed Ed - Cora Weber of USPIE
Description: STOP FED ED is a campaign led by parents, taxpayers, and educators committed to ending Common Core and the U.S. Department of Education. The fight against Common Core has exposed the failures of those trying to force a federally-based one-size-fits-all curriculum on states and local school districts. Even strong Common Core supporters realize the name is toxic and have accepted the premise that the federal government should not be dictating curriculum.

Education Experts Team

The Heartland Institute's experts on education issues are available for legislative testimony, speaking engagements, and media interviews.

Heartland Staff Policy Experts