Letter: Fix Education

Our own education system is destroying our children's future.

In Tennessee, 87.2 percent (2012 state report card) of the public high school seniors received a regular diploma. According to ACT's 2012 career and college readiness report, 84 percent of these students with regular diplomas are not ready for college. [Ed. Note: It's worth adding that the study's overall national figure for college-ready graduates was 25 percent, compared to Tennessee's 16 percent.] This situation is a death sentence for the state's economy and for these students for life. Knox County is not much better. Board members and superintendents come and go, they become better at misinforming us about the truth, but nothing changes for the better. Most public elementary and high schools are poorly performing "Failure Factories." Why is this terrible performance allowed to continue? Our governor should take much more action to remedy this situation.

How can we expect success without education districts having to deliver a measurable goal like an average consolidated ACT score that represents growth? They do not have such a goal. When you do not have such a goal, you can't have a plan to achieve it. When you do not have a plan, how on Earth do you create a proper budget? You just guess. We need much better management than what we have.

How can we allow an old law called "maintenance of effort" with focus only on the education district receiving every year at least as much funding as in any prior year, without having to meet an average ACT score, especially when performance has been poor year after year? Experienced management would not allow that to happen.

How can we fix education if we do not act upon and inform the public about:

1. Truthfully where we are, and what the challenges/problems are in order of priority,

2. What our specific measurable monthly objectives are per school and district

3. And fix those challenges/problems with professional management of education and petitioning for law changes if needed.

Can the long-failing education system do it? They have not for decades, so I doubt it.

Gov. Haslam, tear down this union-supported, poorly managed education system that we are paying for with our hard-earned dollars! Look at the best performers in the world! There are many of them. After all they achieve far better results with less dollars spent per student than we spend in Knox County. It is high time to replace this failing system that is destroying our future.

Victor Spencer