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What’s Wrong with Public Education in Idaho?

The Case for School Choice

I’m not sure how many times I have to say this but if you want to solve the problems with our school system, parents need to start by attending the school board meetings and voting for conservative board members. It’s interesting that Idaho is still at the bottom of the scale nationally when it comes to K-12 education spending at $8,100 per student, considering we spend over 3 billion on public education, which is about 55% of the state budget. Yet even spending that huge sum of money, we do not get the bang for our buck as taxpayers.

The question is why do we rank so low for spending eight thousand per pupil while Utah spends about the same and is ranked number 2 in the country in K-12?

I’ve been a pragmatic financial guy most of my life who believes the numbers always tell the story and I think if we do enough investigating, we are going to find an education system in our state that is not very efficient. It is not always the amount of money you spend per student, which the NEA consistently promotes. It is the caliber of the education process and where the money is spent in our education system. Obviously, the people who are responsible for running Idaho’s education system are doing a poor job.

The problem doesn’t end at K-12; it continues to college. The 4-year graduation rate at BSU is terrible. There were approximately 2,130 students in the class of 2015. How many of them actually completed their degree in a timely fashion? Four years after entering BSU, just 18% had finished their degree and graduated. By 2017, six years after starting their degree, 45% of the students had graduated and after eight years, 48% of this class completed their degree. These rates are attributable to the government school system and those employed to run it. With the amount of taxpayer dollars we spend on education, you would think that we would have much better numbers.

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I have been calling for a forensic audit of our school system for years and nothing has happened, yet our budget has continued to grow while there has been less bang for our taxpayer buck in terms of the education outcomes. We need to take a deep dive into how our money is being spent because there is definitely something wrong when we have states spending less than us per pupil yet with results that are much better than Idaho’s scores.

Personally, I think the problem with public education lies in the edicts that are placed on what we have to teach as opposed to what we as a state think we should be teaching. Trump has said he will change our public education system and give states more freedom but in reality, the federal public education system needs to be dismantled and allow the states to decide on what and who will instruct their children. Parents don’t have enough say in what is taught in our public schools yet they are the ones paying the bill.

Estimates put the number of homeschooled children in the U.S. between 3.7 and 5 million, which may account for nearly 10% of K-12 students, and these homeschooled students routinely outperform those enrolled in government schools.

According to the National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI), the home-educated typically score 15 to 25 percentile points above public-school students on standardized academic achievement tests. Seventy-eight percent of peer-reviewed studies on academic achievement show homeschooled students perform statistically significantly better than those in institutional schools. Homeschool students score above average on achievement tests regardless of their parents’ level of formal education or their family’s household income.

Home-educated students typically score above average on the SAT and ACT exams that colleges consider for admissions. Homeschooled students are increasingly being actively recruited by colleges. Whether homeschooling parents were ever certified teachers is not notably related to their children’s academic achievement. The degree of state control and regulation of homeschooling is not related to academic achievement.

I would urge all those who are concerned about their children’s education to go to the NHERI website and read the information presented there to learn about the many benefits of homeschooling.

It is time to dump our public education system, which does nothing more than waste our tax dollars and indoctrinate our children into the same failed government programs that have given us two generations who were taught how to be woke, broke, and sniffing coke! Most parents are not aware of what their children are being taught because in most cases they have nothing to say about the curriculum they are being taught. If parents don’t participate in the who and how their children are being educated, they should not be surprised if their children wind up in a career as a barista at Starbucks.

States need to regain control of their education systems and start running them like businesses instead of daycare centers so both parents can work. And then, once our young people graduate from high school, they are encouraged to borrow money from the government at 6 – 8% interest to attend college or university, yet the government only pays 2 – 4% interest. Why are we charging our children double the interest on their loans? There is something wrong with our system when we have our children graduating from college and paying back the cost of that education for 10 or 20 years or more. Our education system beats the college drum very loudly in high school, making students feel inferior if they don’t go on to get a college degree. What they don’t tell them is how much it will cost and how long it will take to pay it back even if they get an excellent job.

Most of us have forgotten that the Trades are a terrific way to make a living and most learn with on-the-job training. We have a huge shortage of welders, auto mechanics, and construction workers of every shape and kind, and their wages have been soaring in the past few years.

Consider the average salary range of a professional welder or automotive technician.

Not everyone is cut out for college, and we must look at the realities of future earnings including the cost of these educations. Our federal education system needs to go the way of the dodo bird and be replaced with rational, reasonable, and effective ways to educate our children so they can be successful in life. Education starts with the parents! Only the parents can change the way their children are educated and only if they take a real interest and use their voting power to change boards of education and force them to allow parents to have an actual say in the curriculum that their children are being taught.

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7 replies on “What’s Wrong with Public Education in Idaho?”

Bob,
The WSJ did a good deep dive on this a few years ago and the results support your thoughts. The “numbers” are not all that they seem, you can find out what each district spends per student and far higher. BUT, if you look at the ranking of states New York, Chicago spend crazy amounts per student but not a good comparison. Comparing us to Wyoming is ok and they spend about twice as amount as Idaho and Montana spends 50% more. Fine, we will accept their numbers but let us compare test scores to these states. We beat or match test scores. More money don’t guarantee better results in a failing system.
Look at Kansas City, MO when courts took over the schools and spent unlimited amounts of money. This took place in the ‘80’s but was a clear example that you can’t spend your way to success.

The main problem with public education is that it is … public. Public as in collectivist / socialist / one size fits all. With this formula, excellence quickly falls away.

100% agree with Quatermain !!! “Public” Education is GOVERNMENT Education !!! Government has no role whatsoever to play in the education of anyone !!! Private schooling, Home schooling – Hey, NO education is better than Government/Public Education !

The problem with government schools is the same as the problem of government in general. There is a huge, huge criminal conspiracy. It is called communism. Communists told you their plans in 1848 when they wrote the Communist Manifesto.
Look at it. Get past the BS. Understand those 10 elements. All are implemented by this thing called “government”. No government would mean no communism. Communism is the religion of the Synagogue of Satan, aka those that are not Jews, but masquerade as same. They are of their father the devil. Their God is Lucifer and they are waging war against the world by deception. Wake up!

One of the elephants in the room which most school districts will not discuss is discipline. There is none. I speak from the experience of working as a Teacher’s Aide at a high school in Kootenai County. When I was hired in 2016, I could not believe what went on. You had a small core of dedicated students. The rest were simply shambling, texting, slack-jawed, mouth-breathing, brain-dead, vaping Mall Zombies. Teachers were afraid of their own shadows and the only “Free Speech Zone” was the Teacher’s Lounge. I was told to do nothing which would bring upset parents into the office to complain. My supervisor’s exact words were: “We need butts in the seats to get our money from Boise.” Needless to say, I did not last the year. If you look at what it takes to get a HS diploma here in Idaho, it makes one wonder. You do not need even elementary algebra. No foreign language because we all speak English! So, riddle me this, “Educators”: How will all these minimalist young sheeple compete? This is why enrollment is falling in the Government Schools here in N. Idaho. Parents are taking the bull by the horns and enrolling their children in private schools, charter/STEM schools, and homeschooling their children. The confiscatory levees passed by the ignorant voters in the Post Falls, CDA, and Lakeland school districts are now a thing of the past. Voters are waking up. Stay tuned.

Bob:

How the heck did you decide that “we do not get the bang for our buck as taxpayers”? There is an article to the contrary by Jason Bedrick and Jonathan Butcher at The Heritage Foundation on September 16, 2022 titled Heritage Foundation finds Idaho schools deliver biggest bang for the buck.

And you have misread what U.S. News said about Utah. The PreK-12 rank for them was #6, not #2. Ranks for us and our neighbors are: Utah #6; Wyoming #19; Idaho #23; Montana #27; Washington #32; Oregon #44; and Nevada #45. WE rank third out of seven, which is not so low.

Government schools are just that. The N E A was created by Socialists for socialists in 1857. Lemhi County just passed a 20 million plus bond that includes Pre K. Lenin and Marx both said “Give us your children at the earliest age possible and we will make good state citizens of them.” or words to that effect. Sometimes I think Johnny can’t read because Johnny’s parents WON’T read. Self imposed ignorance is stupidity.

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