|California State Government||November 7, 2000 Election|
By Brian M. ReesCandidate for United States Senator
This information is provided by the candidate
You are not getting your tax dollars' worth in education. Twenty-eight percent of our high school students drop out--the highest rate of any industrialized nation--and those who graduate are often ill prepared to enter the work force.You are not getting your tax dollars' worth in education. Education in America is not working well. Even though the United States spends more money per student than any other country, our students still rank far behind most of their international peers in math and science--and well behind U.S. test scores of 20 years ago. Twenty-eight percent of our high school students drop out--the highest rate of any industrialized nation--and those who graduate are often ill prepared to enter the work force.
Drug and alcohol abuse continues to undermine our nation's students and rob them of their self-esteem and self-sufficiency. Moreover, juvenile violent crime has increased markedly during the past decade, especially gang and school violence using guns.
America's problems are human problems--crime, drug abuse, domestic violence, and declining health. Only through the full development of our human resource can we rise above the reach of problems.
Education is for the full development of mind, body, and behavior. Educational programs exist that directly increase intelligence, creativity; simultaneously improve moral reasoning, self-esteem, and mental and physical health and well-being. These programs include sound educational approaches to nutrition, natural, preventive health measures, effective drug prevention programs, and innovative curriculum development.
We should upgrade the U.S. Department of Education to a Department of Educational Excellence, which would charter several federally funded model schools in which educational innovations of all kinds could be implemented and researched. Based on the success of these programs, parents and educators across the country could choose the ones they felt would be most appropriate and effective in their neighborhoods. Rather than dictate educational curricula at the local level, the federal government could thereby play a crucial research and leadership role in improving educational outcomes across the nation.
We must consider federally funded vouchers to increase parental options for school choice and to foster competition among schools. These vouchers could be used to pay for any school of the parents' choice--public, private, or parochial--provided that the school maintains high academic performance on standardized national tests. The free-market competition that this voucher system will engender will help reverse declining educational outcomes in America.
We should implement the following initiatives:
Fully fund the Head Start program, to give all eligible children an opportunity to excel from an early age.
Provide financial support for every student who wants to go to college. We should not scale back Pell grants and student loans for higher education. Government loans should be repaid after graduation--if necessary through mandatory salary deductions or community service.
Establish higher national standards and the practical means to achieve them. Other parties have called for higher standards but have offered no effective strategies to accomplish this goal.
Lengthen the school year and increase the number of required subjects in high schools, as recommended by the 1984 National Commission on Excellence in Education. U.S. high school students spend less than half as much class time studying math, history and science as do students in Japan, France, and Germany. Only 4.4% of U.S. students pass advanced placement exams, compared to 33% in France, Germany , Israel, and Japan. A comparison of Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Israel, Scotland, Canada, and the U.S. found that the U.S. has the shortest school year--62 days shorter than Japan's.
Establish ties with teachers' organizations, schools, and community interest groups to develop policies and programs that upgrade the status and skills of teachers.
Add computer support to the National Literacy Act of 1991, to provide research and help implement computer-aided instruction, including Internet instruction, in literacy programs.
Increase the nutritional value of school lunches--a simple but essential change that has been shown to improve educational outcomes in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods.
Establish community centers of knowledge where parents can receive the latest understanding of health and nutrition for their children.
Create national apprenticeship programs by bringing together business, labor, and educational leaders to develop a system that offers training in a valuable skill for students who are not college-bound.
Most of the educational programs promoted by the Natural Law Party have been successfully applied in diverse educational settings worldwide and have therefore been the subject of extensive scientific research. The results of such programs include the significantly improved educational outcomes mentioned above--increased intelligence, creativity, motivation, academic performance, moral reasoning, psychological maturity, and social responsibility--as well as a higher quality of life among students and faculty.
While focusing on dissemination of knowledge, current approaches to education ignore the most fundamental component of learning--the consciousness or intelligence of the student, which is the basis of gaining knowledge. Today's educational approaches provide no knowledge of consciousness and no scientifically proven technology to develop it. Even current proposals to improve education most often focus on information technologies, such as computer access to the Internet, that offer larger and larger volumes of data. However, without an educational approach that can develop more than 5-10% of a student's full potential, no amount of information will ever produce truly educated, ideal citizens.
The consciousness-based approach to education advocated by the Natural Law Party develops full human potential while providing mastery of the technical skills necessary to compete in today's society. This approach combines the most advanced and successful curriculum innovations with the most thoroughly researched educational program to develop the full potential of consciousness. This integrated approach to education develops knowledgeable, highly creative citizens who can fulfill their own goals while simultaneously promoting the interests of society.
The solution to all our national problems lies in proper education. Scientifically proven educational programs can unfold the full creative potential of every student and produce ideal citizens capable of fulfilling their highest aspirations while contributing maximum to the progress of society. By harnessing America's greatest resource--the unlimited creativity of our 260 million citizens--the Natural Law Party can bring fulfillment to education and ensure America's competitiveness and continuing leadership in the family of nations.
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