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The K-12 Implosion (Encounter Broadside) Kindle Edition

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Length: 48 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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70 of 73 people found the following review helpful By Matthew P. Cochrane on January 25, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
In The K-12 Implosion, Glenn Reynolds, a law professor at the University of Tennessee and best known as the blogosphere's Instapundit, begins by explaining the problem behind the public school system: We're spending more and more money for an out-of-date system that is producing worse and worse results.

"So at the K-12 level, we've got an educational system that in many fundamental ways hasn't changed in 100 years - except, of course, by becoming much less rigorous - but that nonetheless has become vastly more expensive without producing significantly better results."

Reynolds then explains that public schools were originally created for what are now woefully dated purposes:

"When our public education system was created in the 19th century, its goal, quite explicitly, was to produce obedient and orderly factory workers to fill the new jobs being created by the Industrial Revolution. Those jobs are mostly gone now, and the needs of the 21st century are not the needs of the 19th."

Later, Reynolds writes that churning out workers for 1925-style labor "won't work when the kids entering school today will be on the job market in 2025."

Of course, Reynolds offers a few statistics on how school spending has increased in various districts around the country while reading and math levels continue to drop.

Why is this so? Reynolds offers a few reasons. First, while students and spending have increased, most of the new money is being funneled to "paper pushing", not teaching. Quoting from The School Staffing Surge study, Reynolds states that the K-12 student population increased 96% between 1950 and 2009.
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful By M. Heiss on January 28, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Short and readable -- 30 to 60 minutes of reading to understand what is, at core, a coming revolution in education.

Think about it -- we customize everything from our wardrobe to our car to our phone to our landscape to our coffee, but we are supposed to accept a standardized education for our children? Please.

At the rate things are going, public school will soon become just another poverty program. (What shall we call it? Educaid? Educare? Edu-carceration?) The students with the chance/means to do so are escaping the public schools as quickly as they can. School districts are creating public charters and magnet schools in a foot-dragging manner, amidst great teacher-union outcry and moaning, to try to retain some of the more motivated students. This is probably too little, too late. Teachers attack even simple innovations, like Teach for America. How will they cope with a total overhaul of the mission?

How long can the blue model of public education continue?
And what happens to all those "safe" government jobs that have been held by minorities in the cities for the past 50-60 years?
And how much civil unrest will attend the collapse of public schooling?

Those questions aren't even broached in this broadside, but it's time to have that conversation.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Richard M. Rollo on March 3, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Professor Reynolds touches on all the causes I can think of for the disconnect between what we spend on public education and what we are getting in student performance. We see students graduating from high school who can't do simple arithmetic without a calculator or can't read books beyond the 6th grade. The state testing in California show many schools in the 40th percentile in reading and math and yet the parents give high ratings to those schools. Most pressure groups organize around a cause du jour that wastes time and money, such as banning sody pop machines. The Los Angeles Unified School district hired gourmet chefs to create "healthier meals" and the children threw the food in the trash.

Reynolds argues that problems like these are the result of the end stage of the industrial and bureaucratic age public school system. Instead of downsizing the bureaucracies like private businesses, the public school administrative staffs have grown astronomically in the last sixty years. Most of what these people do is create paper shuffling for the teachers and eat up classroom time with "pep rallies and DARE." This is a 1950's-1960's mindset. When Reynolds' daughter started in the 9th Grade, she estimated that 2 and 1/2 hours out of the school day involved learning. She set up her own program using online classes and finished high school by age 16. I think this is an incredibly important point. Much of the time spent in school at the behest of the administrators is boring and a complete waste of time for most students.

Although there is no solution for the problem of the schools, according to Reynolds, there are solutions. All children are not the same. They need to have alternatives available to help them develop their individual skills and interests.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Cathy Duffy on February 7, 2013
Format: Paperback
The K-12 Implosion reiterates a message that others have been saying for more than a decade: we spend more money on education than ever and get worse results. Glenn Reynolds does a great job of outlining the problem and possible solutions in this quick-reading essay.
Part of the problem can be blamed on the fact that schools are stuck in an industrial model that doesn't even reflect the needs of today's economy. More important in my mind is that it that it largely ignores the efficiencies that could be accomplished with modern technology and dispersed learning.
Author Glenn Reynolds builds his case for the support of vouchers, but he misses the fact that as long as government controls the agenda of schools they will always be crippled to some extent. Can't we go further and get government out of education all together?
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