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By John Hinderaker | Powerline

America’s public schools
are almost unbelievably bad, to a degree that poses an
existential threat to the republic. That’s the bad news. The
good news is that most Americans are figuring it out. Rasmussen finds
that a 36% plurality say that our public schools are poor.
That is a remarkable finding. A sadly misinformed 9% think
our schools are excellent. But that disproportion is
revealing. The teachers’ unions aren’t fooling many people

Minnesota exemplifies
the awful performance of our schools as well as any state;
perhaps better than most, since at one time Minnesota’s
schools had the reputation of being above average. Now they
are terrible: 64% of Minnesota’s 11th graders can’t do math
at grade level. Nevertheless, they are all going to
graduate. Good luck competing with Chinese, Japanese,
Korean, Indian, German, and other kids from across the

The latest test scores
have come out in our state, and my colleague Catrin Wigfall
explains at
“Majority of Minnesota students aren’t meeting reading and
math standards.”

As measured by the 2023 Minnesota
Comprehensive Assessments (MCAs), 50.3 percent of tested
students do not meet grade-level reading standards, and
54.7 percent do not meet grade-level math standards.

It is a landmark of
sorts: a majority of K-12 kids in Minnesota can’t either
read or do math at grade level. Why is that? Is it because
of a shortage of resources?

Just kidding. Minnesota,
like the rest of America, has conducted a decades-long
experiment, spending more and more money on public schools
and hoping to get better results. That approach has been a
dismal failure. Catrin prepared this chart, which tells the
whole story. Spending per pupil goes relentlessly upward,
while those pupils’ performance declines:

I started to write that
there is no correlation between per pupil spending and
performance, but that is incorrect: there is a correlation,
but it is negative. The more we spend, the worse our
students perform. These data are specific to Minnesota, but
I am pretty sure you would see the same pattern across the

You might wonder, why
doesn’t spending more money yield better results? The most
basic reason is that liberals do not spend money in order to
obtain results. For liberals, spending more money is the
desired result. Because the money goes to them. If you have
ever tried to explain to a liberal that one of his programs
doesn’t work, you probably have received a blank stare of
incomprehension. What’s your point?

To a liberal, spending
money, by definition, works. Because the liberal and his
allies got the dough. What happens to the purported
beneficiaries of the program–here, our children–is utterly
irrelevant. Rather than being concerned with education,
left-wing teachers’ unions (as they all are) misuse public
funds to promote Critical Race Theory and socialism, to
advocate leftist principles in general, and to try to
convince young children to change their “genders.”

That is why our public
schools are astonishingly bad. In the short term, all
parents who have alternatives should get their children out
of the public schools. But be wary, a lot of private
schools–almost all of the “elite” ones–are just as bad, or
worse, when it comes to indoctrination.

This trend is reflected
in Rasmussen’s polling, which finds that 62% approve of
homeschooling for children, while thirty-one percent (31%)
disapprove. Currently, I think that around 11% of all
American kids are being home schooled. That is great, but
for the foreseeable future most children will attend the
public schools, which currently are awful. So what should we

The best way to improve
the public schools is to give more power to parents. But
that is a topic for another day.

Author: Frances Rice