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Education Reporter

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Escape to Learning: An Educator's Answer to the Public School Crisis, Richard G. Neal, AuthorHouse, 2005, 168 pp., $14.95

Possessing an extensive background in the field of education, Richard Neal expounds on the thesis that "the Government Education Establishment is truly a powerful lobby," supporting an anachronistic, monopolistic, entrenched bureaucracy that wields control over students and their families, with appalling inefficiency and lack of accountability.

According to the author, our educational system "is based on the Prussian system, which was successful in producing students who were subservient to the state. This is the system we have today - owned and run by the state and based on regimentation, rigid bureaucracy, and discipline by fear."

Neal characterizes the current state-run monopoly as "the antithesis of all that is American," contending that "the rigid education structure is antithetical to human mental and physical development."

The two major teacher unions, the National Education Association (NEA) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), represent 3,000,000 teachers and have combined incomes of "well over one billion dollars." Since 1962, "collective bargaining in the public schools has had a negative impact on the education of children."

In private corporations, management can pursue the best interests of stockholders. The lines are blurred for school board members, who often get into their political positions "because of the support of the school system's teachers' union!"

"Unlike a private company, a school board has no profit or loss incentive." In fact, failure often guarantees additional funding for public schools, "because the prevailing mindset in The Education Establishment is to tackle every problem by spending more money. Private schools cannot afford this luxury. They either satisfy their customers, or they go out of business." "But public schools cannot go out of business no matter how poorly they perform."

In comparing private and government schools, the author cites research and experience to demonstrate that private schools are more flexible to individual needs of students, more efficient in their use of resources, more accountable, and more successful in promoting student achievement.

"Parents have lost control of their schools," Neal argues. Change will not occur within the government-supported monopoly of Education unless it is forced from the outside, through free market, consumer choice. Tuition vouchers, with no regulation from politicians, government employees, or accreditation commissions, will enable an "Escape to Learning."

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