As the world becomes increasingly more competitive, our country has struggled to adequately prepare its future competitors. Despite its efforts, millions of children each year fail to receive a quality education that puts them on a path to success.

The government has responded to this problem with increased funding that attempts to close the academic achievement gap, but we have not yet seen results: graduation rates have not changed, achievement gaps between white and minority children persist, and American students continue to rank in the middle when compared to their international peers.

Education experts Lindsey Burke and Jennifer Marshall from The Heritage Foundation elaborate on the issue:

Taxpayers will spend $120,000 on the average student entering kindergarten today before that student finishes high school. Families should have greater control of this investment. Giving families the power to choose safe and effective schools for their children will encourage the innovation and improvement that American education needs for the 21st century. It is time to move educational control out of Washington, D.C., and back to families and local communities.

The Heritage Foundation’s policy recommendations encourage success in schools while requiring less government involvement in education.

Click here to read more about Heritage’s solutions for education.

Do you think that public education adequately prepares America’s youth for the future?

Comments (31)

Robbie Smith - July 10, 2012

public education is a disaster, every student that comes to Safe Harbor Boys Home & Maritime Academy has come out of government education and when given diagnostic tests we find they are up to 7 years behind. Many 11th graders can not multiply two numbers by two numbers, even with a calculator! Ever heard the saying “don’t get smart with me because I won’t understand, I went to public school”? We experience that every day with incoming students who are going to school for social programs not education.

O. R. (Sonny) Dakan - July 10, 2012

For those that watch O’Riely on Mondays, with “Watters World” it is evident that a majority of the young people questioned about our history, know nothing! You can only guess that they get the same edication on many other subjects. How sad!!!

Dewey Switzer - July 10, 2012

No! Unions have to go and revert to Parent and local control and charter schools

phyllis talmadge - July 10, 2012

EDUCATION like HEALTHCARE does Not improve with federal beaurocracy! It deteriorates! We need honesty in our leaders, not more “me firsters” that want glory not results..

phyllis talmadge - July 10, 2012

No! Our education system seems to be union oriented rather than educating children. These days education is better done by home schooling taught by parents that have morals and ethics and love this country and its founding principals.

John Archdeacon - July 10, 2012

The US Federal Government needs to get out of public education and return responsibility for education back to the states. The only job the Federal Dept. of Education should retain is to make sure all students across this land learn the U.S. constitution, learn who our founders are and why they are as relevant today as they were 200+ years ago. Kids need to learn what makes America great, and why we are different than all other nations on earth. If our students are taught about America, they will then learn about personal integrity and personal responsibilities which are unfortunately missing from so many Americans today! The root cause I think for many of our problems as a nation is lack of proper education, especially about America and its uniqueness. Since the Feds created the Department of Education back in 1980, things have gone downhill pretty steadily!

Jack T - July 10, 2012

Public education INADEQUATELY prepares America’s youth for the future. The fault can be traced to the teacher’s unions promotion of progressive ideology that has infiltrated and consumed the educational curriculum. Until and unless we return to adequately teaching the three R’s and forget about student self-esteem we are on a path to oblivion in education.

Kimery - July 10, 2012

The public education system is a joke. Students do not learn anything valuable that business need or want. Business do not care, and nor should they, about an employee’s self-esteem!!! Any parent who sends their child to these indoctrination camps isnt’ much of a parent when it comes to doing what is best for their children.

kay depoy - July 10, 2012

As a former Educator, i left when politics became more important than the teaching, money does not educate. Motivated Teachers and students are needed. Students that have some respect and want to learn. Treating Education as a business will never work until the Teacher can fire the non-workers. Teaches can’t be judged on unmotivated students performance! Social programs and government paper work take up all the teaching time. Go back to the basics – with student that have some manners and respect. It is better to learn to fail and keep going in school, than to fail all your adult life. We need to teach our students to work for success instead of telling them they have all succeded and the world owes them a living.

Lloyd Smith - July 10, 2012

Very simply NO! Government and teachers unions have stymed innovative teaching while standardized testing have limited students to learning only how to pass these tests rather than learing to think. Our children are very capable–it is our government that has inhibited the learning processes. More money for more teachers doing the same things is not the solution. get government out of the way so that true innovation can be explored and provide an opportunity for our children to once again become leaders instead of sheep following a government plan.

Bertha - July 10, 2012

I think schools need to return to the old fashion way of teaching grades1 through 4. Teaching the student to read through vowel sound-out. Then they can read anything. My oldest son was taught by vowels the next were taught sight reading. Not only was the reading harder for them but also spelling words. I understand multiplication is no longer taught. That is a form of arithmetic one uses all their lives. A calculator is not always available. Kids should be able to add several numbers across and several lines down. My father could add several numbers across and 8/9 down faster than I could on paper or in my head. If a child is not making a passing grade he/she should be held back in that grade until he/she reaches that grade level. No child should be taught by computer before the 6 th grade!!!!

S. Mayo - July 10, 2012

No. Besides the United States military, government is not good at much of anything. Education, the Postal System, Healthcare and most systems would be better run by the private sector. America’s education system even in college is a weeding out system not an education system. Instruction should be more individual with advancement in modules of one month. After testing if a student cannot demonstrate mastery they go back and repeat the module. Significant hours are lost due to “homeroom”, “pep rallies”, class clowns who are not removed from class because there is little discipline. Students need to be shown that they are preparing for a career, not just getting through the day so they can be free to pursue entertainment. Our system is antiquated and ridiculous.

Sally Vose - July 10, 2012

The answer is not to throw more money at education – we need the Federal government and the unions to get out of the business of interference. Our local governments and parents are more capable of deciding our children’s fate and, more importantly, will make better decisions if we are directly involved in the decisions.

joan - July 10, 2012


Harry Ruter - July 10, 2012

Funding has increased year after year to pay for the costs of the unionization of the teaching profession. Promotion is not by merit and good teachers are the first ones fired. We need to go back to basic mathematics and take calculators out of students hands. We need to re-introduce history dating back to our founding fathers and allow students to take money and go to the school of there choice.
Why do we even have a department of education within the government wasting taxpayer money.

joanCee - July 10, 2012

NO, students are not being adequately prepared for the future. They cannot spell, they cannot write, they cannot think. Students are being prepared to be followers, not leaders. That was the goal of the “Father of Education,” John Dewey, who picked up the idea at the Frankfurt Instute in Germany and brought it to our schools and universities. One good source for documentation is in the paperback book: Cry Havoc,
by the late journalist and social historian Ralph de Toledano.

Jackie - July 10, 2012

Only a massive parent involvement strong enough to push back from Government Education can radically alter our children’s future from the current progressive movement. We are not a nation of thinkers any longer. Our children sit in front of textbooks, teachers, and computers and are spoon fed information.

Richard Gaskill - July 10, 2012

NO! as long as the unions are in charge of our polititions & teachers,our children will suffer.Get the goverment & their unions OUT of our schools,and let our teachers do the job they really want to do,”TEACH”We need educated kids for the future,or we won`t have a future in America.

john Miller - July 10, 2012

Second attempt: The entire thrust of American education is wrong in that we gage success or failure by how much or how little students remember of the things they are taught. Horace Mann had it right when he wrote somewhere (as I remember it) “You don’t educate a person by teaching them things they know not but by helping them become something that they are not. Turn the passive students into a curious ones and go home! They will educate themselves.
See: “Take This Fish and look At It” by way of illustration.

Joyce - July 10, 2012

As a retired school teacher, I think that the NEA should be dismantled and thrown in the trash. Our kids deserve an education that is the best in the world instead of the trash they are being taught now. Teachers should not get tenure and they should be be retained based on preformance evaluations given yearly.

Tom Lanners - July 10, 2012

It is not a coincidence that every service or industry that became Unionized, also became ruined. Public education is one of the most important for the future of America. It not only has failed to educate our children, but has actively turned them against the Country. The Department of Education must go, and then we can work on it State by State after that. Minnesota is close to hopeless. Our black students have the lowest graduation rate from high school of any Metropolitan area in the Country. Even worse than D.C. or Detroit, pretty tough to do.

Tom Lanners

Jim Thompson - July 10, 2012

The problem is discipline. It starts at home with parenting. If good basic parenting and control are present, the kid will have no choice but study and try in school. and Succeed.
If not, the kid is on his/her own to face life… good or bad.
And society has to deal with the problem.
Most Americans will justify living in these United States by supporting their own. Those that do not, are leaches and a drain on our great country.

Charmaine Cooper - July 10, 2012

NO! Public schools fail to prepare students for success. The government/Ed Union seem busy focusing on promoting ‘political correctness’ in the educational materials and school environments.Nowadays it seems they want to ‘cleanse’ the students and materials of meaning or substance in order to end up with a group-think (or non-think) PC mentality. Those without a proper education are at risk for lacking independent thinking skills. Independent thinkers, were and are the backbone to this Great Nation. Group-thinking can make for vulnerable people who are easily influenced and manipulated by leaders propagating this PC agenda.

Merle Dengate - July 11, 2012

My Grandmother was a country school teacher in the late 1880’s. She taught classes in the first to eighth grades in a one room country school house. The test that the kids had to pass to graduate from the eights grade. nobody today can answer any to the questions on that test. I have a copy of the test and I’ve tried to find the answers on the computer,but haven’t had any luck.

Stephen Feher - July 11, 2012

Any plan to improve education must include industry. Kept at the local level, an education plan that involves high schools that offer vocational training (carpenters, plumbers, draftsmen, EMT’s) while accumulating college prep credits, allows students to choose to work in their (certified since industry is involved) specialty or go on to college. Such vocational prerequisites, as determined by local industry needs, allows these students to earn a living while going to college or to enter the workforce, trained by the companies that will hire them.

Seems like a no brainer but don’t expect the NEA to embrace this idea.

Robert Weidmann - July 11, 2012

I am a product of our public education system going back to the 40’s and 50’s. I recently took a shortened version of the naturalization test that is given to candidates for naturalization and I am embarrassed to say I scored in the low 80’s. Then I read that professors and instructors in college around the country scored in the 50’s. This is appalling. Individuals applying for US citizenship know more about our country’s history than our natural born citizens. I’d like to see EVERY high school student pass this test before being allowed to graduate. Call me an old fool — I’ve been called worse but this is what I believe .

J E Houser - July 11, 2012

Education? What is that? It does not exist. “Reading and writing and ‘rithatic. Taught to the tone of a hickory stick.” Reestablish the group called “parents” and get rid of that group called “government.”

Jim Cipa - July 11, 2012

Issue private school vouchers and end the failed public school system. Sell off the public schools to pay down public debt.

Teacher Joe, in Los Angeles - July 11, 2012

I am a Republican in the teachers union. This year I’ve become my school site’s union rep. I look forward to fighting the Dems in the union who have made it an arm of the Democratic Party. But friends, the union is NOT the problem. They do make things worse. Too often they work for the interests of union members and not for education as a whole. THE KEY TO THE PROBLEM IS IN KAY DEPOY’S 7-10-12 post. Read it and think about the implications of what she says. TWO POINTS 1) Though I’m not against charters they will only concentrate good students away from bad ones. 2) My students ARE prepared for a world where upper management takes all the cream from the top and leaves little for those on the bottom. Today’s businesses leaders don’t know thier history either ROBBIE SMITH. They need to look at what Henry Ford did to wages to sell cars!

Larry Wilkins - July 13, 2012

The education system in the country is not doing what they are supposed to do because of the NEA, and the Teacher’s Unions. It’s all about the money that is poured into the education system and more money from the government will nevery cure the problem. Every parent should have the option for a voucher to send their child to a private, charter or whatever school. The only way the system will change is if there is competition with the public education, which is and will continue to be a failure. I know alot of teachers, and I cannot believe the complaining from them and they they can’t wait until there summer vacation, too many teachers in it for the cushy retirement and benefits.

J.L.T. - July 15, 2012

Some of our Founding fathers understood that without character and virtue, education is an invitation to depravity and the secularization of our society and enentually the moral and virtual collaspe of our republic. Listen to what one patriot said.
Benjamin Rush
(Signer of the Declaration of Independence)
“The only foundation for a useful education in a republic is to be laid in religion. Without this there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty, and liberty is the object and life of all republican governments.

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