Don’t Pay Twice for Public Education

CascadeNewLogoBy Steve Buckstein

Last week, the American College Testing organization (ACT) released the results of its national college admissions examination consisting of tests in English, Reading, Math, and Science. Thirty-six percent of Oregon’s 2014 high school graduates took the tests. Only 30 percent of those students scored high enough to be ready for college in all four subject areas.

One conclusion we might draw from these findings is that we shouldn’t spend more money on our higher education system until we can honestly say that our K-12 system is preparing most college-bound students to actually succeed there. Otherwise, we’re just paying twice for remedial courses to teach college students what they should have learned in high school.

This is yet another reason for voters to reject Measure 86 on the November ballot. It will encourage state legislators to borrow perhaps $100 million or more to subsidize certain student higher education costs. Before we saddle taxpayers with such debt, let’s fix our K-12 system. That won’t take more money, because research shows that spending more money doesn’t lead to better educational outcomes; it just rewards the adults who get paid by the system.

Instead, we should take the top-down control away from bureaucrats in Salem and give it to parents and students through a genuine system of school choice. Then watch our college readiness numbers climb.

Steve Buckstein is Founder and Senior Policy Analyst at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research organization.

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  • Sally

    I resent being asked to teach to the test. Many of my students do quite poorly on the SAT and the ACT, but at least I have instilled in them a fear of global warming. Many of my students read and write very poorly, but at least I have let them know that America is a bad country founded by bad people who were a disgrace. Most of my students don’t “test” well, so they do poorly on any test given by someone else. However, they do fine on my tests, which are always open book and open discussion style where they may ask anyone for help and assistance.
    I refuse to teach to the test. I must instruct my students in the premature deaths of the sea otters, the whales, and the penguins, and all the polar bears due to the warming of the earf caused by mankind and his ilk.
    I and I alone will shape their little minds and help them to know what is really going on with this industrial and political control of all the peoples by a very few.
    Live free or flunk the A-C-T!
    By the way, I am a professional dues paying member of the teachers union and they will protect my freedom in the classroom with everything they have, which is quite a lot in Oregon as we make everyone pay union dues – even if they don’t belong!

    • marvinmcconoughey

      Satire, I presume. Or is it sarcasm? Irony? Any guesses? Anyone?