Friday night topic: Reforming education
America's public schools are, it is generally acknowledged, a mess, with tumbling academic standards and an ideology-infected curriculum (other Western nations face similar problems, as well). Proposals for reform are all over the map: throw more money at the problem, impose new academic standards, dress kids up in uniforms, spin off charter schools, increase teacher pay, give parents school vouchers, decrease class sizes, etc. But who is right, and why?
I don't have all the answers, but it seems like teacher's unions are standing in the way of most sensible reforms. Certification requirements for teachers should be demolished and replaced with merit-based hiring and pay. Qualified instructors like, say, an engineer or scientist retired from industry, should be welcomed by schools, not disqualified by bureacratic restrictions.