Stossel challenges the American education establishment

John Stossel gets an "A" for taking a hard look at the failures and successes of K-12 education in America in his 20/20 program, "Stupid in America." Visit the companion web site for a report that partially follows the TV script, a link to purchase the report on video and its transcript, and a huge Stossel message board, and more.

Stossel tackles these hot-button topics in education reform:

  • Funding — "National graduation rates and achievement scores are flat, while spending on education has increased more than 100 percent since 1971. More money hasn't helped American kids."

  • Choice — "In Belgium, by contrast, the money is attached to the kids — it's a kind of voucher system. Government funds education — at many different kinds of schools — but if a school can't attract students, it goes out of business...'That's normal in Western Europe,' Harvard economist Caroline Hoxby told me. 'If schools don't perform well, a parent would never be trapped in that school in the same way you could be trapped in the U.S.'"

  • Unions — "...in New York City these problem teachers are made to sit in the 'rubber room' which are rooms where they go by day to sit and read books and magazines, rather than to teach. The school not only pays their salary and keeps them employed but they pay $20 million per year to rent four different buildings to house these teachers. There are 80,000 teachers in New York City and they said only two have ever been fired due to having just cause. A flow chart of the disciplinary process for teachers was shown and it unfolded it seemed to go on and on, with many pages, with a complicated flow chart process! (from Christine at The Thinking Mother)
If it ever reruns, record it if you can for repeated viewings, or buy it on DVD or VHS from ABC News. It should be required viewing for any taxpayer or parent of school-age children, just for the questions it raises.

The show has generated quite the buzz in the blogosphere:

Don't miss the related post and comments over at fellow MOBster Prof. King Banaian's SCSU Scholars.

Education-related bloggers check in at the current Carnival of Education over at the Education Wonks.

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