American Education K-12 is terrible. It’s a hoax and a fraud, and all the reformers, some sincere – most cynical, cannot change it because contrary to their boasting about thinking outside the box, they are barely away from the very center of the box.

Decades of reforms, new ideas, new methods and American education is worse. So much of school is a waste of time, money and effort. American schools are bad for students, bad for parents, bad for teachers and bad for tax payers. Mainstream reformers are part of the problem, not the solution.

What we need is genuine straight talk on making American schools better.
And we have it – Paul Victor and The Better Education Foundation.

Paul Victor on American education and American schools:

  • American schools have been bad for a very long time and they are getting worse.

  • School and education are not the same thing. Students need more education and less schooling. Right now most people believe that more requirements and more time in school will produce smarter and better educated students. NO. Would requiring people to spend more time in church make them better people? NO. And applying that same principle to school will not work either.

  • Schooling is often the key to a better economic future, but going to school is more like a hazing fraternity initiation than an important set of experiences leading to intellectual and skill growth.

  • There are people – some with noble intentions and some with cynical motives – who are messing up the education process. I’m not talking about a small number of bad apples. The School Wreckers make up the vast majority of people who decide school policy. They include the politician pandering for votes and the careerist pandering for a promotion.

  • Most people are not clear about what schools are for. Yes – they educate and train, but they have a range of other functions. In America, schools as warehouses for children is just as important a function as educating them.

  • There is a huge and wishful misunderstanding about why people learn. People cannot be charmed or manipulated to get them to learn. All programs – which would include close to 100% of the strategies out there – are premised on the idea that learning is a matter of technique. The truth is there is very little anyone can do to make others want to learn.

  • We need to end compulsory education for high school students. Will some kids mess up if they are not required to attend school? Yes, but it’s time we started letting kids make mistakes sooner in their lives. Younger kids make smaller mistakes and they have more time to fix them. Besides, kids going through the motions of attending school are already messing up.

  • Schools do not need more money. Doing school right should allow us to cut spending on school and get more students educated at substantially higher levels.

  • We need to stop automatically deferring to the so-called experts when they roll out their plans for improving our schools and start looking at school through our own experiences. Ask yourself, “Is that the way it was for me when I was in school?” or “Would that plan really have worked to make me a better student?”

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