By Nancy Thorner –
Vicki Alger, research fellow at the Independent Institute, delivered a speech at The Heartland Institute on February 1 about her new book, Failure: The Federal Misedukation of American ‘s Children. You can watch her presentation here.
Alger ‘s research at the Independent Institute focuses on education reforms that provide a competitive education marketplace and increases parental control over their children ‘s education. The author of more than 40 education policy studies, Alger has advised the U.S. Department of Education on public school choice and higher education, and has also helped to advance educational reform in her home state of Arizona.
Alger ‘s research also inspired the introduction of the most school-choice bills in the history of California, five in all. Prior to her career in education policy, Alger taught college-level courses in American politics, English composition and rhetoric, and early British literature.
Overview of Failure: The Federal Misedukation of America’s Children
As is noted on the back cover of Alger’s book:
“For nearly 100 years the federal government left education almost entirely in the hands of the citizenry and state and local governments, but in 1979, with the creation of the US Department of Education a sprawling bureaucracy with 153 programs, 5,000 employees, and an annual budget of approximately $70 billion, the federal government intruded itself into almost every area of education.”
Accordingly, Alger reveals in her book that 1) federal involvement in education has been a failure, and 2) assesses, identifies, and articulates the best strategy for success.
Alger further explains how and why U.S. students are mediocre achievers in math, science, and other subjects when compared to many other nations – despite America’s schools being the most costly in the world. In her presentation, Alger debunked the common misconception that this nation was once a world leader in elementary and secondary education. We never ranked at the top. America can’t get back to the head of the class because we never were at the head of the class. In fact, we have always scored at, or near, the bottom of the rankings. But with effective educational reforms, the academic performance of American students could improve significantly.
For those who are advocates of school choice, Alger presents strong arguments for giving more power to parents and students.
Evolution of Department of Eduction
- Shutter up. Eliminate 19 program offices to reduce and overhaul cost. This would save $14 billion.
- Return control of managing programs back to the states, citizens, and school districts. This would save $216 billion. (Programs remain operable from three to five years. As programs expire, discontinue them.)
- Wednesday. Feb. 22
- Wednesday, March 1
- Wednesday, March 8