ARE AMERICAN PUBLIC SCHOOLS SAME AS RUSSIAN?
By Joel Turtel
December 31, 2005
Many parents might think it a bit farfetched to compare our public schools to schools in socialist or communist countries. However, if we look closer, we will see striking similarities between the two systems.
In the former socialist-communist Soviet Union, for example, the government owned all property and all the schools. In America, public schools are also government property, controlled by local government officials. In Soviet Russia, the government forced all parents to send their children to government-controlled schools. In America, compulsory-attendance laws in all fifty states force parents to send their children to public schools.
The Soviet rulers taxed all their subjects to pay for their schools. Here, all taxpayers pay compulsory school taxes to support public schools, whether or not the homeowner has children or thinks the schools are incompetent. In the Soviet Union, all teachers were government employees, and these officials controlled and managed the schools. In America, teachers, principals, administrators, and school janitors are also government employees, paid, trained, and pensioned through government taxes.
In the Soviet Union, most government employees could not be fired because they had a "right" to their jobs. Public-school employees in America also believe they have an alleged right to their jobs, enforced through tenure laws. In America, it's almost impossible to fire tenured teachers.
In communist Russia, competence and working hard didn't matter very much -- the government paid most workers regardless of their performance on the job. In America, public-school teachers' salaries depend on length of service -- competence is irrelevant. In communist Russia, the elite ruling class had big houses and estates in the countryside while peasants starved. Here, public-school authorities get fat salaries, pensions, and benefits while our children starve for a real education.
In communist Russia, government control of food supplies created eighty years of chronic famine. In America, one hundred and fifty years of public schools has created an educational famine. Millions of public-school children can barely read, while the system wastes twelve years of our children's lives.
Still think the comparison to communist schools is too farfetched? Albert Shanker, former President of the American Federation of Teachers, the second largest teacher's union, once said: "It's time to admit that public education operates like a planned economy, a bureaucratic system in which everyone's role is spelled out in advance and there are few incentives for innovation and productivity. It's no surprise that our school system doesn't improve. It more resembles the communist economy than our own market economy."
Finally, schools in some communist countries like China seem to give a better, more disciplined education in the basics of reading, writing, and math than our public schools. International math and reading test-score comparisons often find American kids lagging far behind children from China.
But what values do Chinese communist schools teach their children? Here is another apt comparison between communist schools and our public schools. In both cases, either a central or local government controls the curriculum and the values it chooses to teach its students. The Chinese government can and does indoctrinate all school children with its communist ideology and loyalty to the communist leaders.
Similarly, in our public schools, left-leaning school authorities control the curriculum and the values they teach our children. In many public schools, values-clarification programs and distorted American history courses now indoctrinate our children with anti-parent, anti-religion, and anti-American values. In both communist schools and our government-controlled public schools, parents cannot (with a few exceptions) stop school authorities from teaching harmful or immoral values to their children.
Question --- Do socialist, compulsory, government-controlled public schools belong in America, the land of the free?
© 2005 Joel Turtel - All Rights
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Joel Turtel, author of Public Schools, Public Menace: How Public Schools Lie To Parents and Betray Our Children, holds a degree in Psychology. For the last ten years he has served as an Education Policy Analyst, studying the climate of today's public schools and its effect on children and parents.
Mr. Turtel has written two books, published over fifty articles, and has been interviewed in both print and broadcast media on the subject. His latest book, Public Schools, Public Menace has garnered national media attention – recently, for example, Dr. Laura Schlessinger featured the boook on her nationally syndicated radio show.
Joel Turtel is available to discuss his book Public Schools, Public Menace in the media, at conferences, or with individual groups. Be warned though, you may be shocked by the revelations he has uncovered in America's public-school system.
In Soviet Russia, the government forced all parents to send their children to government-controlled schools. In America, compulsory-attendance laws in all fifty states force parents to send their children to public schools.