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What government should be. Introducing the Department of Education...



January 21, 2010 – Comments (14)

See my last blog post for an introduction to my view on government.
This will continue with the theme of giving people a hand up instead of a hand-out.

As of this moment all current Federal education programs will be suspended. The programs below will replace all current programs.

The Learning Enhancement and Advancement Program for Children with Learning Disabilities. (LEAP ChiLD)

The Federal Government strongly believes in a proper education for all children. The government will supply block grants to the states that will match state spending dollar for dollar for the education of children with learning disabilities. The government will also award special purpose grants to states that show achievement with children with learning disabilities if these results can be replicated in other states. The government will offer the same grants to private institutions provided that they meet Federal standards for achievement. Students will be tested for achievement yearly at the nearest independent Federal testing center.

The Federal Standards Program (FSP)

The Federal government will post educational standards yearly for all children. It will post not only the minimal standards for achievement for every grade level, but standards for extraordinary achievement. It will provide a platform for enhanced education above and beyond minimal achievement including more intense subject matter and a broader platform of subjects. The Federal government will make sure that all materials for such courses are readily available to all children, including suggested texts and practice exams. The Federal government will recognize and reward all achievement above the minimal level.

The Child-focused Learning and Achievement Program. (CLAP)

The purpose of this program is to allow a child to learn at his/her own pace and to reward both child and parent for educational achievement. This plan will also promote independent learning and home schooling. A parent may decide to home school their child, enroll them in a private institution, or enroll them at a state sponsored institution. Once a decision is made, that decision may not be changed until the child completes his/her current grade level. Parents that choose to home school may change their decision and enroll their child in a learning institution without completing the current grade level. At any time, the parent may elect to have the child tested for competency for their current grade level. The testing will be done at an independent Federal testing facility. If the child passes the minimum qualifications, The Federal government will award 3 grants. The first grant will be to the learning institution. The current amount for this grant is $4,000. This will be adjusted for inflation. The second grant will go to the parent. The current amount is $750 and will be adjusted for inflation. The third grant will be held for the child. ($250 and will be adjusted for inflation.) In the case that the child was home schooled for the entire term, the first grant will be split between the parent and the child. ($3000 for the parent and $1000 held for the child.) In the case of achievements above the minimum level additional grants will be awarded to the institution, parent, and child at levels set in the FSP. In the case that the student fails to pass the exam, no grants will be awarded until the exam is passed. Upon passing the 12th grade requirements, an additional grant will be awarded to the parent ($1,000) and the child ($1,000), also all grants held on the child's behalf will be awarded to the child provided that he has reached the age of majority or is enrolled in an institute of higher learning.

The Open Opportunity Learning System. (TOOLS)

The Federal government will set standards for all universities seeking accreditation.

All universities must provide their curriculum for any major to anyone that requests it along with the names of all texts being used for that curriculum and practice tests on the subject. They must post all lectures online, although they may charge for the lectures if the choose to do so. To fulfill this requirement the lectures may be stored for free by the Federal government, provided that they are available to the student for free as well.They must accept the transfer of credit from another accredited institution that the Federal government determines to be a subject of an equal caliber, including credits from the courses given for free by the Federal government. They may provide a facility to allow anyone to test out of any non-lab subject, but they must submit the exam to the Federal government so the government can administer the test at an independent Federal testing facility. The cost of these tests will be reimbursed by the Federal government up to a current amount of $50 to be adjusted for inflation, if given at the university's facility. They must grant credit for passing the exam. They must provide the availability to lab related classes even if a student is not enrolled in any non-lab classes. They must charge the same amount for these classes as they charge to other students and they must provide availability in a manner that is as timely as that of other students. The institution must also provide the Federal Government with the information to replicate the lab classes and the Federal Government may give this information to private institutions to reproduce said lab or it may choose to reproduce the lab itself. The federal government may then grant credit for the lab in either case upon completion and credit must transfer to the original institution.

Any person or institution with knowledge on any subject may seek to be accredited to teach that subject without a degree program. Agreeing to do so means that they must provide a means of testing for that subject by at least providing the exam to an independent Federal testing facility. the Federal government will determine if credit is transferable to other institutions.

The Federal Government must also provide freely distributed courses and materials to meet the basic core requirements of higher education. The government will administer testing on all of these subjects and provide credit for completion. The government will also provide various degree programs that will consist of only non-lab classes that may be completed entirely the testing facility. 10% of educational spending must go toward expanding courses available by the government. The government is free to deal with individuals for course materials, such as lectures or texts provided that the rights are solely owned by the said individual. The government may also use any material that has already been provided to the public free of charge without recourse from said owner.

The Government will provide a grant to anyone that achieves a degree from an accredited institution. The grant will be as follows...

$1,000 for an Associate's degree.
$5,000 for a Bachelor's degree.
$10,000 for a Master's degree
$10,000 for a Doctorate degree

Additional grants may be given for degrees considered to be in the public interest.

Also Scholarship opportunities will be offered for degrees that are in the public interest.


What does everyone think?

Any suggestions?

14 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On January 21, 2010 at 3:03 PM, miteycasey (29.06) wrote:

Too much common sense.

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#2) On January 21, 2010 at 3:27 PM, FleaBagger (27.32) wrote:

How about we just have government leave education alone? Lots of people have become fabulously wealthy without an above-average education, and no one knows how many high-school dropouts achieved all the financial success they wanted to. If government doesn't enable (subsidize) failure, they wouldn't have to pay for people's education. People would just do what they have to do to accomplish what they want to accomplish. Okay, so it would be tough. Times are tough now even for people with fully-funded high school diplomas. 

Life isn't perfect without public education. Life isn't perfect with public education. Give me imperfection with liberty.

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#3) On January 21, 2010 at 3:38 PM, globalsailor (42.61) wrote:

The framers of the constitution wanted education to be left to the states.  That sounds best to me.

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#4) On January 21, 2010 at 4:00 PM, ChrisGraley (28.73) wrote:

I think the above plan reduces our spending on education, only pays for results and enables an environment where someone can educate themselves.

It also provides an incentive for acheivement at an amount that would entice the poorest of our community to achieve.

This is an investment and will create an incentive that levels the playing field for the poorest and most likely to be supported by the government. It does nothing to deter the states other than making them achieve results for the federal money that they receive.

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#5) On January 21, 2010 at 4:01 PM, carcassgrinder (35.32) wrote:


I agree with your approach in aggregate, and I also respect very much the thought put in to this.  I grew up with a mother who was an educator...she spent nearly 20 years in the classroom working with gifted and talented kids and she spearheaded the program in my school district back in the 80's.  She later obtained her doctorate in education and took a position with the state BOE.

This woman is a true nurturer and educator in the purest sense(seriously, biased of course).  She believed strongly in aiding the growth of the young mind and opening doors in young peoples lives.

She was sickened by the politics atthe BOE....the BOE has no time for real educators...they, like most gov. organizations, tend to hire a cheerleaders instead of innovators.

Did you catch this've gotta watch it.  This guy is spot on in his analysis...although his solutions could use a little carressing. Report this comment
#6) On January 21, 2010 at 4:15 PM, ChrisGraley (28.73) wrote:

Thanks, and watching it now carcassgrinder.

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#7) On January 21, 2010 at 4:24 PM, russiangambit (28.97) wrote:

Education is the only asset that nobody can take from you, something you can never lose. Unfortunately it is underappreciated in the USA.

Instead of investing in teachers money spent on facilities, sports, each state writing its own books and tests. I think enough money spent on eudcation in the US to have the best education in the world but the money is mismanaged because the people managing the money are not motivated.

On top of it you got parents don't have their priorities straight.

>How about we just have government leave education alone? Lots of people have become fabulously wealthy without an above-average education, and no one knows how many high-school dropouts achieved all the financial success they wanted to

#2 - and how many of them have to compete with illegal immigrants from Mexico just to eat? How is US going to compete against hungry Chinese or Indians who have 3 times more education and are ready to work for 20% of an american wage? It is only going to get worse.

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#8) On January 21, 2010 at 4:34 PM, ChrisGraley (28.73) wrote:

Any opinion on the plan russiangambit?

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#9) On January 21, 2010 at 4:37 PM, ChrisGraley (28.73) wrote:

A really good video carcassgrinder and it does explain the situation well.

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#10) On January 21, 2010 at 4:41 PM, lemoneater (58.46) wrote:

Enjoyed the acronymns. TOOLS was particularly nice--better make sure there are no copywright violations

I was one of the early homeschooled students when homeschooling was less common. Evidently, our school district lost potential money because we were not enrolled. However, when the truant officers a neighbor sent to us realized that both my parents had master degrees in education and were willing to have us tested, we had no more difficulties. My oldest brother got the highest test score in the school. The principal come and jokingly said that he wanted to enroll his kids with us.

My husband went to a well-run public school. Most of his teachers were there to share their knowledge. Now being a teacher himself, he can respect the time and attention they gave him to develop his abilities.  

You cannot put a premium on caring parents and dedicated teachers. I wish that every child were as privileged we were. I think competition is healthy. We should have public, private, and homeschool options. Parents should have a choice to do what they think is best for their children. I will admit to having a bias towards homeschooling because of my religious beliefs, my good experience, and my current job:).


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#11) On January 21, 2010 at 5:15 PM, weg915 (< 20) wrote:


Eduaction should not be free.  Free is not valued.  Everyone should have to pay something for use (make it reasonable-sliding scale), but something. 


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#12) On January 21, 2010 at 5:54 PM, ChrisGraley (28.73) wrote:


Knowledge should always be free.

I didn't eliminate being able to charge for teaching, but I did open the door for free learning.

Knowledge is knowledge and it doesn't matter how it is acquired. Testing and giving someone credit for what they know is both moral and good for the public as a whole.

Removing the hurdle of paying for knowledge enables the weak to become stronger. A chain is only as strong as it's weakest link. 

This was probably my biggest priority when coming up with the plan.


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#13) On January 21, 2010 at 9:50 PM, russiangambit (28.97) wrote:

> The Learning Enhancement and Advancement Program for Children with Learning Disabilities. (LEAP ChiLD)

May be I am out of line here , I don't really have experience in this area but I think a good first step is to acknowledge that these kids are not going into college. The goal is to give them skills to be able to live independently and teach them a useful trade. I agree that they should be tested, but it should be done in no stress way.

Overall , I think this is an issue with US education in general , wasting resources trying to make everybody go to college. You know, not everybody wants to go to college and somebody got to be an electricians or a plumber. Kids who are not going to college should go to a trade school instead of high school Dragging kids who don't want to study through 4 years of high school is madness.

In Russia there are 3 levels of K-12 education: everybody goes through elementary and middle, then only those who want to go to college go to high school. Others have 2 choices: trade school (something like being a carpenter, builder etc) and tech school ( higher level, something like operating complex machinery, electrician etc). They study almost the same stuff as high school but in reduced scope and in parallel they study a trade. If they want to go to college afterwards, they still can. If not they are ready to go into workforce after they are finished.

> The Federal Standards Program (FSP)

I agree with this proposal , there isn't enough focus on gifted children at school. The focus is to bring the rear to make through the tests. In addition the focus should be on developing the potential of those who are willing to work harder. In the end, it is those on the top who matter most to prosperity of the country.

I also support having standardized federal textbooks as a starting point. Teachers can add to them but everybody must cover the sme basics. It is  madness for all 50 states develop their own programs and then every teacher develops their own lesson plans. Hello, this is not a college. I can't believe the waste of time that goes into all this. Develop ( or better borrow) one program that works and stick with it. Add more for advanced classes.

> The Child-focused Learning and Achievement Program. (CLAP)

In general I am against any monetary grants. The future of their children should matter more to parents than any grants. If it doesn't then no grant is going to help.

I know it is working in Brazil, but their situation is totally different. They need those children to work in order to eat, so providing a grant lets these failies survive while the children study.

Alos, I think your approach is too cuddly. It is fine in elementary school but kids should be able to handle deadlines. If they are t a certain level they should be able to keep up. For this reason the solution normally is to have  a regular class and an advanced class. Everybody should be ablt to keep up with workload in the regular class. If you go too soft on them in the end you get kids who are useless in the workforce. They don't understand what the deadlines are, they don't understand they have to make an effort even if theyb don't know how to do something, take charge.

> The Open Opportunity Learning System. (TOOLS)

I would definitely support it for public universities. With private universities you got intellectual property issues.

As for grants for higher educaation I would propose something different and again only for public universities:

straight As - 50% off tuition

A and B - 25% off tuition

anything else - tough luck

Other thoughts: 

1. K-12 education  - it suffers severely from luck of competetition and federal standards. I support the idea of vouchers. It is the only way to shake up the system at this point.

2. And one more - stop wasting money on sports at all levels. Only basic facilities should be financed by public money. the rest should be privately financed by parents and students, if they desire to do so.

3. I think the BS degree is useless the way it is structured in the US. Why do people study photography, art or dance if they want to be an accountant? They take only a few classes that address their chosen profession, it is a joke. They still have to be trained from the very beggining by whoever hires them.

In Russia ( and as I understand it is similar in Germany and France)  already entering the college you have to choose your degree - math, physics, chemistry, biology, economics etc. To enter you compete only with people going for that same degree on specific relevant subjects. You could be ZERO in math but if youare going for a foreign language degree, it is just fine. Then we study 4 yesr (BS) plus 2 years (MS) nd 90% of time these are subjects that have to do specifically with your degree, that is it. All the generic subjects like art, history, geography etc. we cover in the K-12 education. After that you are welcome to study them on your own but not on the public dime (Did I mention that public colleges are free in Russia? There also private colleges).

I am not saying russian education is all that great, I think german and french are better. I don't know about asian countries, I know they work even harder. It is just on cost/benfits basis russian education is far superior to american. And I wanted to give you a different perspective.

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#14) On January 21, 2010 at 11:55 PM, ChrisGraley (28.73) wrote:

Thanks for the comments Russiangamit and I don't think you were out of line at all.

I agree with all your points on LEAp ChiLD. The purpose is still to get results though and institutions should be held to standards of achievement if they want Federal money. I do not expect these kids to go to college. I did not think about the stress involved for the child though, and agree that this should be a major consideration.

Thanks for the comments on FSP and allowing for accelerated learning is exactly what I had in mind. I was lucky enough to be in an expermental self-paced learning class in the 5th grade. We were simply given the math book and took a test after each chapter. If we passed the test we moved on to the next chapter. The teacher was available for questions but did not lecture. By the time the year was over I had finished the 7th grade math book and that was without taking any homework home for the entire year.

As far as CLAP goes I think we will probably just disagree on this one. I believe that our inner-city youth face the same problems to a lesser extent as the kids in Brazil. I also believe that the grants allow a parent to offset the cost of staying at home to homeschool their children. It's just taking the money that would have normally been given to the school and giving it to the parent for acheiving the same result. Notice that nobody gets paid without results. The grant to the child is in lieu of a scholarship or financial aid, which I won't be funding. The only scholarships will be for degrees that are in the public interest. The younger child will have little interest in the grant money, but the older child will have an incentive to learn as much as he can while he can. The grant also creates an incentive to speed up the learning process and to achieve more than just the minimum requirement.


Don't get me started on intellectual property law. I would definately change the law, but that is another topic.

The only grant money that I am providing is for a degree. Did I mention that I'm providing it over and over again though? 2 degrees = 2 grants. I feel that education is that important and is an investment in the future. It's the reason that I started with the Dept of Education first btw. It's one of my biggest expenditures, but I would still spend much less than what the goverment is currently spending. Even with education not only being free, but something that you can get paid to do, I still think people will fall through the cracks.

Thanks for all of the comments and I think that we agree more than we disagree.


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