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Ben Franklin's bifocals Saturday, September 20, 2008

Writer Upton Sinclair
[1878 - Upton (Beall) Sinclair, author, born in Baltimore, Maryland]

Pianist, Composer Jelly Roll Morton
[1885 - Ferdinand (Jelly Roll) Morton, jazz musician, born in New Orleans, Louisiana]

Actor Elliot Nugent
[1899 - Elliott Nugent, actor, writer, director, born in Dover, Ohio]

Radio Station KDKA studio circa 1923
[1921 - Radio Station KDKA, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, begins airing daily newscasts]

Songwriter & Singer Jim Croce
[1973 - Jim Croce, singer, songwriter dies in plane crash at age 30]

Education Emancipation

It is high time for US citizens to consider what to do about our failed public education system. The first question that needs to be answered is: why should the federal government be involved in education at all? In earlier times, education in this country was treated as a strictly local matter. It was the community that hired the teacher, built the school, and was intimately involved in public education.

Nowadays we are so much wiser. We have an enormous education bureaucracy at the federal level, another one at state level, regional organizations, unified school districts, and school boards. Each one of these parasitic organizations imposes a level of overhead and bureaucracy on an already strained educational system. The only benefit we derive from this top-heavy structure is uniformity of policies and curriculum, the very anathema of education. In addition, at the federal level we are now able to capture in exquisite detail the failure of the system. This is too high a price to pay.

Next time you become upset as a parent because of the sorry state of education in your community, take a trip to the headquarters of your local school district. Chances are it will be housed in a multi-story building with dozens of employees milling about (and some very highly paid executives) all of whom are consuming resources that could be used to repair schoolhouses and pay teachers. If we got rid of all this nonsense overnight, I daresay few would notice. As a consequence we might be able to pay those who educate the future of our nation almost as much as we pay those who guard and warehouse the dregs of our society.

William's Whimsical Words:

Of course, this might require the local parent teacher associations to become closely involved in school curricula and management.

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