Military School Alternative to Public Education
Military school as an alternative to public education is something that has taken on a new life in recent years. The lamenting of public education is not a subject that is new and if you Google “failure of public education” you may be surprised at the number of articles that will appear. Many of these articles are not new and go back several years. The article “The Failure of American Public Education” was first published in February 1993 and many of the points made in the article still apply in today’s public education system. Surprisingly, many of the articles indicate that private schools, for the most part, are not plagued with many of the problems associated with public education.
Public Education Problems
Some of the problems regularly identified with the current public education system are:
- Teacher quality, union influence, and salary schedules
- Government policies/regulations
Let’s look at some of the above in greater detail to see if they are in fact valid problems.
Funding: Claims that public education is underfunded are not supported by the evidence. While expenditures in education have steadily increased over the last 40 years we have not seen a corresponding increase in the measurable results shown by students. As a matter of fact, the results indicate that American students have declined against the world over the last 40 years, most notably in the areas of math and science. “Many people believe that lack of funding is a problem in public education, but historical trends show that American spending on public education is at an all-time high. Between 1994 and 2004, average per-pupil expenditures in American public schools have increased by 23.5 percent (adjusted for inflation). Between 1984 and 2004, real expenditures per pupil increased by 49 percent. These increases follow the historical trend of ever-increasing real per-student expenditures in the nation’s public schools. In fact, the per-pupil expenditures in 1970-1971 ($4,060) were less than half of per-pupil expenditures in 2005-2006 ($9,266) after adjusting for inflation.” (from Does Spending More on Education Improve Academic Achievement?)
Overcrowding: The claim that the public education system is overcrowded regularly surfaces and states that the teacher to student ratio needs to be reduced to provide better education. In fact, the teacher to student ratio has also shown a steady decline over the last 40 years. The article “How Escalating Education Spending Is Killing Crucial Reform” details how the claim that we need more teachers to reduce this ratio is not supported by the facts and although the ratio has steadily declined it has not resulted in better student preparation for college.
Teacher Quality/Union Influence/Salary Schedules: When a system exists that does not reward initiative and provide incentives to the most gifted teachers the result is that teachers do what is the minimum. School officials sit by and are powerless to remove substandard teachers due to union influence. Additionally, salary schedules do not allow schools to shop for the most qualified teachers or offer salaries to attract the most talented. Teachers unions are seen to have lost sight of the fact that their purpose should be the overall good of the student and not preserving the jobs of teachers. In many areas, teachers unions are fighting to keep the number of charter schools down while there is a waiting list for parents wishing to enroll their children in them due to dissatisfaction with the public education system.
Government Policies/Regulations: What has clearly existed for decades and continues today is the use of America’s public schools, by politicians, for the purpose of engineering some social outcome favorable to a political party, not necessarily the students. Education is just one of the many areas that demonstrates the problem of interference by a large bureaucratic system. Historically this leads to wasted funds, complex rules, and regulations that few but lawyers can understand and gross mismanagement. This is an unavoidable, and perhaps insurmountable, failing of government-run programs and education suffers like so many other governmental programs. When decisions such as curriculum or the daily school schedule are dictated by government regulations, school leaders and teachers lose initiative and become disconnected from the students they exist to serve. Read Joel Klein’s article “The Failure of American Schools” for more information on this topic. His comment concerning politicians appearing so concerned about public education while sending their own children to private schools bears careful thought.
Public Education Alternatives
Today there are many alternatives to the public education system. These range from charter schools, private schools, and even online schools. All of these alternatives have one thing in common: a belief that the public education system is not capable of providing the type of education demanded by many parents. The popularity of these schools has been on the rise over the last several years and their results have demonstrated that they can succeed where public education has failed.
Parents unanimously agree that an education system should provide the basic tools in math, English, science, and history to ensure that their sons and daughters can enter college without the need to take remedial classes in order to pass college-level courses in these fields. In addition, parents wish to see their children exposed to a variety of cultural courses such as art, music more involved in extracurricular activities. These provide a solid foundation for life necessary for today’s young men and women. Private schools normally do a much better job of providing these needs to students. First and foremost is that private schools have a clear mission that is aimed at students, not teachers, politicians or other groups. They are not held back by fiscal constraints as their funding comes from tuition, donations, and endowments. They are also not hamstrung by mediocre teachers that cannot be fired or restraint on hiring whoever they wish at whatever salary the market will bear. Since hiring salaries are not dictated by government, private schools tend to have a higher percentage of teachers with degrees in the field they are teaching and more advanced degreed teachers. Private schools, by and large, have a more specific mission, well known by faculty and staff and are not as regulated by government policies as public schools. For these and more reasons, private schools have shown growth over the last decade with many continue to show growth during these economic times.
Military Schools as an Alternative to Public Education
Military schools are often seen as a viable alternative to public education. Students who succeed in the military school environment tend to be underperforming academically due to issues other than learning challenges or disabilities; in other words, students who have developed poor study habits or have lost interest in school. Due to the problems found in the public education system, these students tend to be overlooked, ignored and left to their own devices to struggle on. Military schools are known for identifying these students and providing the support system necessary for their success. Mandatory tutorial periods, established study hours in the evening during which recreational activities are halted, communication between teacher and unit leader (drill instructor, company commander, etc) and parents, study hall and lastly punishment such as restriction to campus on weekends for those that fail to show improvement all work together to help achieve academic success. The record of GPA improvement, SAT scores, percentage of graduates and percentage of graduates accepted to colleges and universities all attest to the success of the military school system.
To learn more about the benefits of military school read the following:
How Military Schools Motivate Teens to Succeed
The Value of Attending Military School Infographic
Four Reasons To Choose a Military School Education
5 Life Lessons You Learn in Military School
Military Schools: MMA Can Make the Difference.
Unknown Advantages of Military Schools
Advantages Offered by Military Schools
Military Schools Are They a Good Choice?
Military Schools – They’re Not for Troubled Teens
It’s Not Your Fathers Military Academy
5 Common Myths About Military Schools
Marine Military Academy is an all-boys military boarding school located in Harlingen, Texas. If you think military school might be a good choice for you please contact us and talk with one of our counselors – Ph. 956-423-6006.