America’s education system is failing many students. When America celebrated the 4th of July this week, many people had no idea why we were celebrating. Even if they knew we were celebrating Independence Day, an embarrassing percentage did not know from which country we became independent.
Both President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney are talking about how to reform public education. Romney’s plan includes expanded school choice; Obama’s plan seeks to retain the current public school system and includes additional spending to improve the public school system . If Romney’s plan for increasing school choice is implemented, more Americans will know why we celebrate the 4th of July.
Our education system has resulted in a large percentage of Americans not knowing the purpose of Independence Day. According to a recent Marist Poll,, one in every four people does not know what country we had won our independence from. Meanwhile, 5% mentioned the wrong country. The same poll found that only 58% knew that our independence was declared in 1776; 26% were unsure of the date and 16% mentioned the wrong date. Younger Americans are more likely not to know this information. This failure to know basic U.S. history can be traced to our education system.
School choice is better because giving choices to parents allows the children an opportunity for a better education. Without this choice, many families will be stuck sending their children to unsatisfactory schools. Depriving a child of a quality education based upon the child's residence is corrupt. Some people may argue that school choice should not be offered, as children will end up on waiting lists for popular schools and will not actually be able to switch. Although this might be the case, it is better that children are put on waiting lists than never having any hope of escaping the awful schools that they currently attend.
Allowing more people switch to other schools will drive the worst schools out of existence. If some schools are not quality schools, then they should not be discontinued. If quality schools start filling up, then more children are receiving a quality education. Only the worst schools would receive harm, and harm to those schools would be change for the better.
Celebrations such as Independence Day are great, but lack of knowledge is not something to celebrate. We need a new approach to our education system, such as school choice. If America allows school choice, then we will be one step closer to fixing our education system. School choice will not completely change everything, but it will provide a choice, which is all parents can really ask for.