“We must envision a 21st century system of lifetime learning more flexible, more productive, more individualized and more capable than any bureaucracy could achieve.”
– Newt Gingrich
The continued growth of American jobs and American prosperity in a knowledge-based, internet-connected, globally-competitive world will be determined by quality of America's schools. If America is going to remain competitive with China and India in the 21st century, then we must commit to improving education, especially in math and science, and moving from a bureaucrat-dominated status quo to an innovative system that emphasizes accountability, transparency, and parental choice:
- All of the money allocated for student education goes directly to the school.
- The school manages its own staff, whereby it is exempt from laws regarding tenure, and need not unionize.
- The school defines its own curriculum, in line with the state standards and assessments. Students in charters are not exempt from state assessments. The schools are not exempt from reporting requirements, nor should they be.
- State law allows the school to "franchise" its model without limitation. That means they need not apply for a new school every time they can build a new one. If they have the demand, they must be able to serve it.
- The state has NO CAPS on the number of charter schools that can be approved, and the process for approving charter schools is smooth and efficient.
- Students who graduate early should get the cost of the years they skip as an automatic scholarship, following the model of Governor Daniels’s program in Indiana.
- Every state should have a work-study college that enables students to graduate debt free, following the model of the College of the Ozarks in Missouri.
- Individualized, 24/7 learning should be universally available online, with the Florida Virtual School (over 120,000 students for K-12) as a model.