What Follows in these pages is an ecumenical initiative of Crisis magazine and the Morley Institute to address what can be called nothing less than the "Crisis in education." The opinions collected here demonstrate, in the spirit of John Paul II's Ut Unum Sint, that people of good will from differing religious backgrounds, or no [...]

What Follows in these pages is an ecumenical initiative of Crisis magazine and the Morley Institute to address what can be called nothing less than the "Crisis in education." The opinions collected here demonstrate, in the spirit of John Paul II's Ut Unum Sint, that people of good will from differing religious backgrounds, or no [...]

Big government began intervening in American education in a big way in 1965 with the passage of LBJ's Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). And at the dawning of a brave new millennium, the Clinton regime seeks to close the deal. There was no constitutional basis for that massive incursion in the '60s, just as [...]

The National Education Association and other forces opposing a free market in education continue to attack school choice as though it were a mortal threat to the nation. A key argument they make is one that unfortunately is also embraced by some sincere and ardent conservatives. A good example is found in the article by [...]

In the 1960s, the struggle for civil rights focused on political enfranchisement. Today, one of the most important civil rights struggles concerns educational enfranchisement. A 1940's high-school dropout who took a union manufacturing job could he expected to earn more over the course of his career than a college professor. But with the Information Age [...]

There is no doubt that public education in this country has failed miserably. A substantial reason for this is that parents have not been empowered with opportunities to shape the course of their children's education. Until now, the decision to send one's child to school has been a passive one, because government, not the people, [...]

In his autobiography, Henry Adams said, "A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops." This is true for teachers, and usually on a far larger scale, for politicians as well. The legacy of James G. Blaine's affect on education is an unfortunate example. Born in Pennsylvania in 1830, Blaine died in [...]

Just imagine how terrible it would be if an impoverished child going to a drug-infested, poorly performing public school were given an opportunity to attend a school of his parents' choice. This is what the U.S. Secretary of Education and leaders of America's teacher unions are today saying when it comes to providing choice, vis-a-vis [...]

No More Spending

These days, virtually any debate over education at the state or federal level ultimately turns to the question of money. And for the politically influential teachers' unions, whenever the question of money is raised, their answer is always—More! But there appears to be very little correlation between spending more on education and getting better results. [...]

Federal Power Grab

“Nothing in life is more important than how we raise our children.” In recent years, we have seen and defeated a concerted effort to nationalize health care. The Clinton administration learned from defeat and is moving incrementally to accomplish the same goals through school-based health clinics. They have adapted those lessons to education, another area [...]

School choice, which gives parents control over where the public dollars earmarked for their children's education will be spent, is the most promising education reform in the United States today. Among reform proposals, it alone transfers power over basic education decisions from bureaucrats to parents and provides poor children in the worst school systems an [...]

Collegiate Reform

When it comes to problems in education, people are divided: Either they care primarily about pre-collegiate or collegiate education. Of the two, K-12 seems to generate more concern. "Let us concentrate on the schools," goes the argument. "By the time students get to college it will be too late." True, perhaps, but to ignore falling [...]

For centuries, universities flourished throughout the civilized world, their work grounded in a view of learning as a disciplined habit of mind brought to perfection through the reading of great, enduring texts. A classical, realistic, and hierarchically ordered model of learning prevailed, rooted in philosophy, especially metaphysics, and illumined by faith. So it was that [...]

Our colleges and universities are in some serious trouble, only part of which is structural. Swollen, bureaucratized, and inefficient, they waste substantial amounts of student time and public money. This is unfortunate but survivable. We are an extraordinarily rich society and can tolerate mere waste. The functional troubles of our colleges and universities are graver. [...]

Johnny, Jamal, and Juan do not learn to read and write very well, no matter where they live in this country. National and international tests continue to give our students poor marks. One major reason for this poor showing is that we lack uniform, and uniformly high, standards for all our students. That is why [...]

We still call it a classroom, but what occurs there and passes for education only slightly resembles the traditional educational process that used to work so well in preparing young people for life. This situation is particularly evident in the earliest grades. Education today is delivered to students as if in a vacuum, leading them [...]

Now that every state has accepted Goals 2000 money, in one way or another, it is time to take a closer look at what comes along with it. Although it will probably be several years before all of the programs have been fully implemented in every state, the Parents as Teachers (PAT) program is already [...]

The Minority Report

The mother was incredibly confused. She had been invited to join a school committee to evaluate a new, controversial program. She had assumed that other parents would be joining her, but when she arrived she discovered that she was the "token parent" in a group of school administrators, counselors, and teachers. When she asked after [...]

INCIDENT: In Wichita, the school board adopted unanimously a policy that allows parents to inspect teaching materials, such as films and teachers' manuals, and requires "active written consent" of the parent before a student can participate in an activity in which personal information is requested. "Personal information" is defined to include facts about the student's [...]

Reforming Kentucky

With an abysmal reputation in education, Kentucky was ripe territory for education reformists and their current fads in the late 1980s. We were perhaps the first state to have our education system declared unconstitutional and thrown out by the state supreme court. It remains curious how our court could adjudicate education philosophy, but it did [...]

Texan Standards

With red pens in our hands and determination in our eyes, we Texas teachers in the summer of 1996 gathered around the kitchen table to do the impossible. We were certain that we experienced classroom teachers could write a standards document for English/Language Arts/Reading that would make sense to every teacher, parent, and student and [...]

Educating Activists

What can one parent or person DO? That question is answered by what one person DID: One person invented the light bulb, wrote a beloved symphony, and warned the colonists, "The Redcoats are coming. . . ." It was one person who leaked the pilot test for the Goals 2000 system to Parents Involved in [...]