Survey: Only 39 Percent Of Americans Can Name All Three Branches of Government

The annual Annenberg Constitution Day Civics Survey is the latest chilling survey revealing the lack of knowledge of most Americans about their own system of government. While this country remains highly patriotic, most Americans are woefully ignorant of the details of their constitutional system. According to the survey by the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania, only 39 percent of Americans can name all three branches of government.

While the survey did so improve on other questions, 22 percent of Americans could not even name one branch of government. Fourteen percent could name two branches.

It is yet another example of how poorly we continue to educate elementary and high school students on our system of government.

That lack of knowledge is a serious threat to our democracy. The greatest protections against tyranny is an educated populace. If that is true, this country is in growing peril.

111 thoughts on “Survey: Only 39 Percent Of Americans Can Name All Three Branches of Government”

    1. Wrong! There are only two coequal branches of Government, the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Senate is a Confederacy, a Union of the States as Equals with Equal Suffrage to reach Majority Consensus, and the House of Representatives is a Confederated Republic, a Union of the States by each State’s proportion of the population with proportional Suffrage to reach Majority Consensus. Together they form a symbiotic relationship, a More Perfect Union, which establishes the Power of the Purse which each State holds independently, Legislative (decision making) Checks and Balances, Continuity and Stability of Government, and the Union as the Supreme Government Authority.

      By this Bicameral Legislative assembly all laws must first receive a Majority Consensus of the People in their Collective Capacity, then receive the Concurrence of the States in their Collective Capacity by a Majority Consensus of the States as Equals. This makes the Senate as the Predominant Legislative and Governing Authority with the Power of Concurrence on all Laws and all Policies both Foreign and Domestic.

      Our Bicameral Legislature is the More Perfect Union of the States, the United States, in Congress Assembled, the Union which makes our Country the United States of America!

      Article 1 Section 1 of the United States Constitution; “ All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.” All Legislative Powers are all Decision Making Powers which establishes Congress as the Supreme Government Authority. And all means all, so the Executive and Judicial Departments only are empowered with implementing the laws, policies, and decisions made by Congress, not to participate in the decision making process!

  1. Hey, most Americans may not be able to name all 3 branches of government but they sure know who Rosa Parks is. Or all about Martin Luther King.


    1. They may know the names of Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, but all they know about them is that Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a White person and sit in the back of the Bus where they said she belonged, and all they a know about Martin Luther King was that he marched on Washington and had a dream.

      And by your reply I would guess that is about all you know as well!

  2. There’s Jonathan Turley’s take. And then there’s this:

    Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania

    Americans’ Civics Knowledge Increases But Still Has a Long Way to Go

    Posted on September 12, 2019

    The good news is that amid all this, the American public knows more about the Constitution and the separation of powers than in the recent past, according to the 2019 Annenberg Constitution Day Civics Survey.

    On various topics, the latest Annenberg civics knowledge survey finds more U.S. adults responding correctly to questions about civics and constitutional rights. Although many still show a surprising lack of knowledge about the Constitution, there are signs of improvement.

  3. The root of the problem is 99% of Parents have left education to the “state”. We all pay for being too lazy to care about the future. Our kids ARE the future.

  4. Ignorance is a profitable commodity for teachers unions, education industry apparatchiks and the Obamas.

    Obama’s Incredible Movie Makeover

    The former president has produced a film about a factory closing—without mentioning his own role in the drama.

    By Mike Turner Sept. 13, 2019

    Higher Ground, the production company formed last year by Barack and Michelle Obama in conjunction with Netflix, recently released its first film. “American Factory” is a documentary about a General Motors plant in Moraine, Ohio, a suburb of Dayton. The plant closed in 2008 and was reopened by a Chinese auto glass manufacturer in 2015. The film follows the lives of both the laid-off American workers and the Chinese workers brought in to run the new plant.

    It’s a fascinating and at times moving film. What’s interesting about it, though, is that it never once alludes to the part Mr. Obama played in diminishing the ability of Moraine’s laid off workers to transfer to other GM plants. The president’s role wasn’t indirect and isn’t a matter of dispute: His administration’s bailout deal for GM included a backroom exclusive agreement with the United Auto Workers.

    How does a nearly two-hour film telling the story of these workers fail even to mention the direct role the co-owner of the film’s production company played in creating their hardships? Did the filmmakers think no one would remember?

    A quick refresher. The Obama administration’s auto bailout highly favored the UAW and its members. The GM plant in Moraine was unionized by the IUE-CWA. So—despite being one of the top GM facilities for quality, efficiency and production in the country—it was shuttered, and its employees were put at the back of the line when requesting transfers to other GM plants. Any non-UAW employees looking to transfer were forced to start as new hires, wiping clean any wages, tenure, and benefits built up during careers at other GM plants.

    “American Factory” documents the UAW’s efforts to unionize the reopened auto glass factory without any mention of the same union’s direct role in the GM plant’s closure. The Dayton community was left out in the cold—thousands of jobs lost, families devastated, longtime GM workers out on the street looking for work.

    In the GM bankruptcy proceeding, the Obama administration was prepared to allow the Moraine facility to be demolished and sold for scraps. But in August 2010, Sen. Sherrod Brown and I—along with other lawmakers of both parties—called on the Obama administration to step in and save the plant. The administration’s initial response was disbelief. Did we really think a company would ever come back and use it for manufacturing again? I did. Many in the community did. Which is why there’s a thriving factory there now.

    In the Obama economy, investment was tough to come by. With a punitive and outdated tax code, international investment was nearly impossible to attract. State and local officials—especially Moraine Mayor Elaine Allison —worked relentlessly and were able to convince a Chinese manufacturer to invest in and rebuild this once-great factory. Today that company employs several thousand people in what was its start-up operation in America.

    Of course, none of this took away the suffering endured by the community. My father worked at GM for 44 years, including at the Moraine GM factory campus, and was a member of the IUE-CWA. In Mr. Obama’s GM bailout, he lost his health insurance coverage. So did many other retirees.

    The hypocrisy of this Obama-backed film is astounding. Mr. Obama fails to acknowledge his direct role in creating the hardships the Moraine workers weathered. He had nothing whatsoever to do with the plant’s reopening—that was all the work of state and local officials and community leaders.

    To put the point bluntly: If the president had his way, there would have been no plant to make a documentary about. “American Factory” would have been “Abandoned Parking Lot.”

    Mr. Turner, a Republican, represents Ohio’s 10th Congressional District. He served as mayor of Dayton, 1994-2002.

  5. Obviously, you also have to teach your children how to do real math. All Common Core teaches them is complicated steps and gimmicks.

    The way that public schools teach history and government is boring. It’s a string of dates and dry facts. There are videos of people who cannot name the first President of the United States, let alone the first 5 and the 3 branches of government.

    1. One could sum up the impetus for the movie Brazil within this method of multiplication.

      When I was in eighth or ninth grade in the early 1980s the progenitor of this ridiculousness started with Estimating. We never used Estimating to derive approximations to mathematical computation, always instead using the standard formulae. Then, some state sponsored test required us to know how to Estimate using a bizarre formula such as shown in Karen’s video. They taught us this one day before the official test. It required at least three times longer to perform the Estimation with our limited ability. We could solve the equation in good time and accuracy.

      I remember during the test it was so frustrating I gave up performing the estimation methodology and instead solved the problem in the traditional sense and then selected the multiple choice answer that was closest to what I arrived at.

      At the conclusion of this standardized test, we never again used Estimation. It was purely a waste of time.

      It’s too bad that in the school video above, one of the students didn’t just walk up to the board and solve the problem in the traditional method. It would have been a teachable moment for the other students who would benefit in learning the importance of never trusting bureaucrats to act efficiently or effectively.

      1. Another example of the persistence in failed experiments at school:

        In my opinion, the problem is that a state run program is not answerable or adaptable to the market. Were this a business, with competitors, then a failed product would lead to either innovation or closure. The public education system is a behemoth resistant to parent-driven change. Academics and bureaucrats make changes to the system nation wide, and there is nothing that disgusted parents can do about it.

        One would think that if 60% of kids were reading below grade level, that something would change. But this is government.

        Common Core is required in public, charter, and private schools. The only way to escape it at this time is to homeschool, and I predict that loophole will close soon. This effectively shuts out competition.

        I think my ideal solution would be as follows:

        Standardized testing would provide measurable proficiency scores. Those in industry should be included in writing the tests. For instance, there would be real world questions that utilize arithmetic, algebra, and geometry to solve, or for the ELA, there would be an example of a realistic document that you’d have to read and then answer reading comprehension questions. There would be no requirement for any particular method; just the right answer, in math problems. Just like real life. Another measure of a program’s success would be graduation rate, and how many students go on to college or trade school.

        Students would receive a voucher they could take anywhere. However, there would be an exit exam required to pass 8th grade, and 12th grade. Teachers would be prohibited from discussing personal politics at school, or from discriminating against conservative kids, or those from military families. Tenure would be abolished. It is my understanding that tenure was originally intended for university professors, so they could research and publish unpopular opinions. It was never intended to make elementary teachers unfireable.

        As it stands, it takes hundreds of thousands of dollars, and about 2 years in court, to fire a teacher in CA for cause. Schools don’t have the money, so our kids get stuck with really bad teachers along with some wonderful ones. Raises are based on time served, not merit, so the outstanding teacher who produces a large improvement in his students that year gets paid less than the guy who’s fallen asleep at this desk for 35 years. No tenure. Merit based pay. Just like the rest of us have in the private sector. Somehow, millions of people heel-toe it through jobs without tenure. Merit based pay is the only fair system. We already have wrongful termination protection. Teachers do not require special rights and protections that the rest of us don’t enjoy.

        We have turned public schools into the slothful DMV, utterly uncaring of how their product is received by customers.

        Now, there are those who have made the argument that schooling should not be free, except to the poor. Actually, it isn’t free now. We just call paying for it “taxes” instead of “tuition.” Taxes could be reduced by the amount contributed to the public education system. Parents would find a school for their child, and would become shoppers for the best providers. This is just like they find a well recommended pediatritian, sports team, or riding instructor. In this scenario, only the poor would get vouchers. The rest of us would have their tax money returned to them, to spend on the school of their choice.

        I am unsure as to which would be best, as far as funding, as I have not heard the full arguments for and against. Right now, I’m leaning towards the voucher system for all.

        1. Even though charter schools are not forced to serve all students, including those with various disabilities

          “Do kids in charter schools learn more than kids in traditional public schools?

          There have been lots of skirmishes over charter school data over the years. But few have created as big a ruckus as the 26-state study of charter schools released recently by Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes, or CREDO.

          Like previous studies, the one from CREDO concluded that kids in most charter schools are doing worse or no better than students in traditional public schools. About a third, though, are doing better. ……”

          A business model does not work everywhere, and that’s where public entities have always carried the weight.

          As to parents being helpless? Please. Not only are school boards typically elected, and therefore subject to parental decision making and pressure, but schools typically are begging for parental involvement.

          1. Hey Chicago, Baltimore, NYC, Washington DC, et al, how are those “free” public schools working for ya?

            Anon1 is a coninosuieur of necrophilia….beating dead corpses to show how lovely they are ….truly sick and depraved

            The key differences between charter schools and regular public schools lies in three elements that help define them: they are held accountable, not just in general, but to achievement goals embedded in their charters. Their student body is made up of children whose parents chose the school, and the school is tailored to the student body’s needs. They are given freedom from certain bureaucratic procedures with the idea that this will give them a greater ability to focus on creating academic emphasis.

            Imagine the horror of parents choosing the schools and the schools tailored to the needs of the students.


            Shout out to Chicago’s teachers union for their recent trip to Venezuela.

            We Didn’t See A Single Homeless Person”: Chicago Teacher’s Union Members Fly To Venezuela In Show Of Support – JONATHAN TURLEY


          2. Anon – if you have a problem with a teacher, there is nothing you can do about it. Tenure. Someone I know took her son out of school because it was the teacher who was bullying him, even mocking his weight. She admitted doing it. She told the mother, to her face, that there wasn’t anything she could do about it. She was tenured. She said she could file any complaint she wanted. She would still be working the next day, the next year, and after that.

            Around 60% of children in CA are not reading at grade level. Studies have utter demolished the blended learning approach used by public schools. Blended learning is still taught in college to aspiring teachers. I approached my son’s public school to see if they were interested in trying a different approach, which had scientific backing, and was rebuffed. They were not going to change, and instead blamed the kids or the parents who didn’t work with them. I taught my own child to read using that method, and he is several grades ahead in reading.

            There are good teachers, and bad teachers, and there is nothing that can be done about the bad ones. There is an infamous math teacher in our area who has slept through most of his classes for years. The kids just read the textbook and figure it out themselves. Even the infamous “Cookie teacher” who fed blindfolded students cookies frosted with his semen, could not be fired. He retired, instead, will full benefits. This is another argument against tenure and pensions. A 401K is more fair, and it constitutes the employee’s own contribution along with the employer.

            A few towns over from where I live, there is a lot of racism between blacks and Latinos. Schools have become segregated from the fighting. It becomes predominantly one or the other, and then the rest are chased out. One mother told me about how her young black son had been beaten up 8 times, by 2nd grade, even getting broken bones the last time. In order to switch schools, you have to apply for a district transfer, which has certain requirements. You can’t just say “because.” They may or may not grant it. Then you have to apply to get into another school, which may or may not grant your request.

            Charter schools are a form of public school. They are required to sever everyone, and, in fact, often hold lotteries when there are more applicants than places. They are required to serve students with disabilities just like in any other public school.

            It is not a free market. Parents do not have much impact. Bad teachers fester in the system when they should be replaced with better ones.

            Please note that your quotes did not come from your link. Rather, the article that you linked to was a legitimate complaint about CREDO’s study design.

            Here is the actual Stanford Study. It specifically studied urban charters, which operate in the most challenging environments. There was only one negative, and that was that in some very challenging areas, there were charter schools that performed worse than the traditional public schools. It did not claim that most charters across the country performed worse than TPS across the country. Rather, this happened in some very difficult urban, poor environments.


            “Our findings show urban charter schools in the aggregate provide significantly higher levels of annual growth in both math and reading compared to their TPS peers…

            When learning gains for urban charter students are presented for individual urban regions, regions with larger learning gains in charter schools outnumber those with smallerlearninggainstwo-to-one…

            Learning gains for charter school students are larger by significant amounts for Black, Hispanic, low-income, and special education students in both math and reading…

            Positive results for charter school students increased on average over the period of the study…

            Compared to the charter school landscape as a whole, (see CREDO’s National Charter School Study 2013), the 41 urban charter regions have improved results at both ends of the quality spectrum: they have larger shares of schools that are better than TPS alternatives and smaller shares of under-performing schools…

            Despite the overall positive learning impacts, there are urban communities in which the majority of the charter schools lag the learning gains of their TPS counterparts, some to distressingly large degrees. In some urban areas, cities have no schools that post better gains than their TPS alternatives and more than half the schools are significantly worse.
            The results reported in this study continue to build a record of many charter schools operating in challenging environments that repeatedly demonstrate the ability to educate all students to high levels. While some urban charter sectors continue to struggle, successful charter schools are growing in number and expand the evidence base that schools and communities can organize and operate public schools that deliver the academic progress their students need to be successful in school, work, and life.

            The impact of urban charter attendance shows a strong positive trajectory by year of enrollment (Table 10). The longer students stay enrolled in charter schools, the larger the annual benefit of charter attendance becomes. These trends are strong enough that by the time a student spends four or more years enrolled in an urban charter school, we can expect their annual academic growth to be 108 days greater in math and 72 days greater in reading per year than their peers in TPS. Given these trends, it is not unreasonable to expect many urban charter sectors to continue to improve in quality.

            At both ends of the quality scale, urban charter schools post more positive results than was found across the national scene in 2013. The proportion of the urban schools that have significantly poorer results than the TPS alternative is decresed in both math and reading. The more notable improvement occurs at the high end of the quality spectrum. In both tested subjects, the proportion of urban charter schools that out-perform their local TPS is more than 10 percentage points larger than was found in the 2013 national study.”

            Here is the discussion of the good and bad conclusions of the study on urban areas.

            “The individual region results show cause for concern and for celebration. six of the 41 regions are dramatically lower performing than their TPS counterparts in one or both subjects. In math, more than 50 percent of the charter schools in Central California, El Paso, Fort Worth, Las Vegas and West Palm Beach have significantly lower learning gains. The same is true for Las Vegas, Mesa and West Palm
            Beach in reading. The fact that only six regions have these results is cold comfort. There is an urgent need to address the primacy of academic rigor in the charter schools in these communities
            A more positive way to summarize the regional differences is to consider the number that have minimized the share of schools performing badly and/or have a majority of their schools performing at levels superior to the local TPS alternatives. These regions demonstrate the quality can focus at either end of the spectrum to achieve overall strength in the region. Looking at math results, seven regions have less than 10 percent of their schools significantly underperforming their TPS alternatives. Fourteen regions have more than 50 percent of their schools outperforming their local TPS options. In reading, twelve regions have less than 10 percent performing worse than the local TPS and ten regions have 50 percent or more of their schools showing results that are superior to TPS.
            Importantly, a substantial number regions manage to accomplish both targets: small shares of low performing schools and a majority of charters outperforming their local TPS. For reading, the Bay Area in California, Boston, DC, Detroit, Indianapolis, Memphis and Newark accomplish this result. For math, the Bay Area in California, Boston, DC, Detroit, Milwaukee, Minneapolis and Newark do the same. Charter schools in Boston, Detroit, the District of Columbia and Newark stand out for meeting the dual standard in both math and reading. These four communities of charter schools provide essential examples of school-level and system-level commitments to quality that can serve as models to other communities.”

            So, in conclusion, only 15% of regions have charters with significantly lower performance than TPS. 34% of region shave at least half of their charters outperforming TPS in math. 24% of the regions have 50% or more of their charters outperforming TPS in reading.

            Those 15% need to improve or close. Since charters can choose different learning models, some will be excellent, and others will not. Since they are driven by parent choice, poor performing schools close.

            There is a charter school a couple of towns over that is so excellent, that people move there specifically for the school. The only way to get in is to live in the district, and apply for a lottery. They do not do district transfers, as if they have a spot, it goes to someone in district.

            This allows parents a choice. If there is an outstanding charter school in their area, and their TPS has issues, they can choose a charter. If their local TPS has high test scores, and is better than alternatives, they can choose the TPS.

            School choice empowers parents. That’s why the teachers unions oppose it.

            1. Please note that your quotes did not come from your link.

              Karen, no one believes Anon1 other than their employer, Trolls R Us, Inc

            2. My quote is from the link I provided.

              The CREDO study is ongoing and reports are continually being piblished, including in 2019. Your link is to one particular report on “Urban Charters”.

              I find it hard to believe one can’t have their child moved to another class if they wish. Where I live you can move them to another school. In any case, the ultimate authorities for public schools are elected officials. You can throw the bums out if they aren’t satisfactory.

              Private options are available, but they shouldn’t be funded by tax payers.

              1. Anon – First, you’re right. Your quote was in the text. It was obscured by some ad when I first looked at it.

                Second, you cannot choose your child’s teacher. It is possible to have him moved to another class if the principal allows it. Moving to another school out of district requires a district transfer, which has certain requirements. You need to basically beg permission, which may or may not be granted, to be allowed to go out of district.

                That school district a couple of towns away that I mentioned is infamous for fighting and drugs. Even elementary school kids get beaten up. The test scores are abysmal. Very few parents actually want to send their children to those schools, which they know to be dangerous. I know some parents who drive an hour, each way, to get their kids into schools in another area.

                “I find it hard to believe one can’t have their child moved to another class if they wish.” That is based on emotion, not evidence. In addition, because tenured bad teachers cannot be fired, then they need to fill those classes. It’s not like anyone wants their child to get the math teacher who sleeps every day. So, as hard as it may be for you to believe, the reality is that you can’t always change classes if you want, you might not even have the option of a good teacher at all in that grade, and you need to plead to be given permission to move out of district which may, or may not, be granted. Both the original district of residence, and the proposed district, must grant approval. Then they have to get permission from the actual school to attend. This is all just to go to another public school.

                Why should any parent need the permission of two school districts to take their kid out of a low performing, dangerous school, and drive them to a safer, better scoring school? A school either has room, or it doesn’t.

                An individual mother who was prevented from moving her child to another class or to another district does not, actually, have the ability to throw the entire school board out. The entire community votes, most of whom don’t even have children.

                “Private options are available, but they shouldn’t be funded by tax payers.” If taxpayers pay a certain amount per child in the state, then why shouldn’t parents be given a voucher for that amount, to the accredited school of their choice? Why should they be denied a private school education, if it’s higher quality? A voucher could at least be applied to the tuition, and the school might provide scholarships for the remainder. It would provide more quality education choices to children in poor areas, and give them the opportunity to be in a better environment.

                Here’s the thing. Not all neighborhoods and schools are the same. Some are really dangerous. Others provide a sub par education. Both handicap future prospects of children.


                1. All the problems you cite are fixable or the result of intractable but not impossible social problems outside the schools. It is not easy, but they can be addressed within our political and therefore public school systems. There is nothing about those problems making them inherently easier to fix using a private system, and in fact you will lose even more control if privately run.

                  I know the options in our area for changing schools and teachers and they are designed to be helpful to parents. I don’t know California. I note your demonization of teacher’s unions, but I seriously doubt that our main problem is those who work the hardest and for usually not very good pay in the system. In my opinion, the main problems are social and largely due to lack of parental involvement.

                  Inequality in in our schools can be mitigated to some extent if they are organized and funded on a county basis, not cities and towns. While some counties are poorer than others, at least neighborhood variations are evened out with county control..

                  1. Anon – charter schools are not private. They are a form of public schools. They receive less funding than a traditional public school, as part of the student fund goes to the district for “oversight.”

                    However, many private schools have excellent academic reputations. It’s a shame that more poor children don’t have access to them, and their advantages. A voucher system might remedy that. I firmly believe that every child in America should have the opportunity to realize their greatest potential in a safe environment. The status quo isn’t cutting it.

                    “I know the options in our area for changing schools and teachers and they are designed to be helpful to parents.” That is not the experience of anyone that I know, anecdotally, nor does it reflect the national discussion on issues with schools and parent choice.

                    Are you suggesting that teachers “work the hardest”? As compared to what? Do they have the most physically, emotionally, or mentally demanding jobs?

                    While I do believe that teachers should be honored and respected, they do not work harder than, say, the ER doc who has been up all night after a gang shooting. They don’t suffer the emotional demands as a psychologist who councils sexual assault and abuse victims, or those who work in a pediatric burn unit.

                    As for how much they get paid, I am split. On the one hand, some get three months off, during which they may get seasonal jobs. Others opt to teach summer school to get additional income. Some teachers work less hours, others put in long hours working on lesson plans. It’s rather difficult to say that all teachers are underpaid or even overpaid.

                    I would support a competitive merit based pay system, in which teachers were paid a high enough salary to attract serious talent. I also think that a meritocracy should mean that raises are to be earned, and those who are poor performers, should be fired. To be fair, if someone is teaching a class of students who are seriously academically behind, the rubric should be year to year academic growth, rather than an overall pass or fail. It can take years for children to get caught up, or for ESL students to fill in gaps.

                    “Inequality in in our schools can be mitigated to some extent if they are organized and funded on a county basis, not cities and towns.” In what way would that be helpful? In case you did not listen to it, as it is rather long, I encourage you to listen to the following: No matter how much money is thrown at the problem, as long as schools cling to blended learning, which does not teach children how to decode the symbols of writing, they will produce poor results. You should note that, currently, schools receive funding for daily attendance. Flu season can have funding consequences. Funding does not come from a town. It comes from a combination of the state, property taxes, and the federal government, with the exception of bonds for renovations. That, does, come from the local communities.

                    In private industry, excellence is rewarded and emulated. In government, we get the DMV, where employees don’t particularly care if you got good service, or how long you’ve been waiting.

                    My frustration with the teachers union stems from several fronts. It defends tenure, and fight to keep bad teachers on the job. Tenure has no business in the public education system. It fights for its own members, not children. The union was forcing its members to donate to the Democratic Party, automatically deducting political contributions against their will. It is also anathema to freedom that in order to work in a public school, you have to be a member of the teachers union. Luckily, right to work is gaining speed. Unions will strong arm raises that communities cannot afford, sometimes leading to layoffs. There is an imbalance of power, and they don’t particularly care about the students or their parents.

                    “When school children start paying union dues, that’s when I’ll start representing children.” Al Shanker, President, American Federation of Teachers.


                    “To understand why teachers’ unions are so afraid of charter schools, one need only look at the situation in Santa Ana and other poorer districts. enrolments are falling at Los Angeles Unified School District, also. The schools there often are so troubled that parents will camp out overnight waiting to get their kids into a better school. About half of that district’s falling enrollment can be attributed to charters — or, more specifically, to parents so fed up with their schools that they chose a better alternative.

                    LAUSD’s approach has been to try to crush these alternatives. I saw this link on the Santa Ana Educators’ Association website: “Learn about for-profit charters and their negative impact on our students and schools!” Unions across the state view healthy competition as a threat, especially in poor districts where there are many iffy schools.

                    Remember, the priority in these public-school systems is not kids. It is to protect the prerogatives of the bureaucracy. The best way to do that is to whine about crumbling buildings and layoffs until the state sends more cash, or voters agree to raise their property taxes for yet another facilities bond.

                    If these schools were about the kids, there would be no “rubber rooms,” where teachers do nothing and collect their paychecks as they go through the long process of appealing their firing. Districts would be allowed to pay great teachers more than mediocre ones and move them around as needed. There would be fewer bureaucrats and more focus on educational attainment.”

                    Ceterum censeo Common Core delendo est.

                    1. Karen, in an earlier post you advocated for privately owned schools. No human system invented yet resolves all problems and is inherently just, efficient, and responsive, including private businesses

                      The teachers I know are not interested in defending the “bureaucracy” , though, like all humans, are rightly concerned with their pay. You have chosen the wrong enemy. As stated by Pogo, we have met him, and it is us.

                      You are correct that state funding is generally the greatest source of public school revenues, though local (town or county) funds generally outstrip federal, which is less than 10%.

                    2. Anon – there are already private schools. As I mentioned, there are arguments to be made about repealing the taxes that pay tuition, but so far I’m leaning towards a voucher system. I am open to the idea of running schools more like a business, where they actually care very much about what the customers, i.e. parents, think of their services. The entire education system does not have to be privatized, although there should be discussion. I greatly like how they do it in Breda, I believe. It’s been a while, so I’d have to reverify the country. Children have a voucher that they can take to any accredited school. Top rated schools get the most students. Bad teachers are not tolerated. I’ve already posted about my ideal graduation requirements. In a voucher system, there might still be the choice of public and private schools. If public schools had poor performance, students would take their vouchers elsewhere, and they would have more choices. All of a sudden, those public schools might be forced to improve. I also believe that Common Core should be abolished. The math portion makes me twitch. This is not how to actually do math. I suspect that private and charter schools were required to comply with Common Core to take away a competitive advantage.

                      Since this is Earth, and not utopia, I don’t think that it is possible to have a completely perfect system. 65% of schoolchildren not reading at grade level is not defensible (see earlier link). It is a fixable problem, but the overwhelming majority of schools just won’t do it. My parents faced this same frustration when we were kids, which is why my Dad taught me how to read before the school could muck it up.

                      Why do you think that I’ve chosen teachers as my enemy? I have problems with certain aspects of the Union, and with bad teachers and pedophile teachers. What I’ve said is that there are good and bad teachers, and that tenure protects the bad ones. I believe in a meritocracy, which would reward the talented, hard working teachers.

                      That link that I shared about literacy in public schools is long. However, if you get the chance, put it on while driving or whatever, and listen to it. It in no way bashes teachers. Rather, there are resources available to them that they don’t even know about. You might get a better understanding of one example of parents’ frustration with the public school system.

                    3. One of my favorite teachers ever was a public school Honors English teacher. He opened my eyes to Shakespeare, whom I’d previously found impenetrable. The class would spend the entire period on one or two pages. He could make you cry over a single scene, and he knew the history, the time period, mode of dress, backstory, double entendres, and all the complex nuances of the Bard.

                      I also had a teacher who just had us read the textbook during class while he relaxed every day. He had been teaching for a couple of decades longer than that English teacher, and so probably made more. That’s not fair. The former’s brilliance should have been rewarded, and the latter should have had some impetus for improvement.

            3. You’ll know you’re in free and constitutional America when the teachers/public workers unions are decertified and criminalized, when welfare, food stamps, WIC, TANF, HAMP, HARP, HUD, HHS, Social Security and Medicare are privatized and when affirmative action, quotas, forced busing, fair housing laws and non-discrimination laws are ripped from the codes and cast to the wind.

    2. The best educational system lies with the parents themselves: teaching, modeling, showing and spending quality time with their kids instead of sloughing off that incredible honor to a government employee.

      Education starts and ends at home. To suggest otherwise is to explain why our country is a hot mess

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