Yesterday's paper had one of those stories that should make us smile (were it not so sad). The story outlines the future of Lancaster County. Guess what: it could be very rosy. Guess what it will take: more funding for education--particularly for the needy.
Now, do not get me wrong, we need to care about the education that is being given to the neediest people. A lot of this takes place in McCaskey. If we do not fix the problem, we have a gigantic societal bill to pay. I am sort of flabbergasted that we think that more money is needed for the fix. The system is broken. It is so obviously broken that the damage is really hard to sweep under our mental rugs. It is deeper than money.
If we really want to bring hope and change for these kids, the first step is to break the monopoly on education in the City. We must give families funds (through tax credits preferably) to escape the failed schools that they are in. This will improve the education for many students and it will also improve the failing schools by bring accountability to them in the only language that they seem to understand: decreased funding.
The business community really needs to wake up and take a whiff of Folgers here. There is no partnership between business and public education. These two things represent two radically different worldviews. In one, vast benefits are created and everything is free to everyone. This (gasp!) leads to bureaucracy, inefficiency, and whining for more support. In the other, supply and demand yield the lowest priced goods and services for consumers who can and will take their business elsewhere if the good are not good.
Business and private education, however, share the same worldview. They can make great partners because they have the same worldview.