The Bad Student Solution

We all know there’s a problem with public education in this country.

Test scores and graduation rates are plummeting. More and more kids are turning off to the idea that a good education is the key to freedom and choice.

It’s sad.

What’s even sadder is the usual solution to this problem. Many educators and politicians believe that if schools just have enough money, they can work miracles.

And when they don’t, everyone starts pointing fingers at teachers and administrators, calling them overpaid and incompetent.

Nobody seems to want to call out the real problem, which has nothing to do with money or teachers.

It’s the parents.

They’ve always been the problem.

My 12-year-old son figured that out right away when reading news about the increasing high school dropout rate in this country.

He said, “The schools can’t help it if the parents don’t make their kids go to class or do their homework.”

And, in a clear sign that he will never work in politics, my son offered up a reasonable solution to go along with his finger-pointing.

He proposes a tax increase on parents of bad students.

If their kids miss class, up goes their tax rate. If assignments are missing, bump it up another few points. Bullying and fighting, there it goes again.

Hit them hard in the pocketbook, and suddenly you have their attention.

Now they’ll be helping little Billy with his homework instead of watching American Idol.

Now they’ll be feeding little Sally breakfast each morning so she can stay awake in class.

Now they’ll be showing up for parent-teacher conferences because they know it will lower their tax rate by a percentage point.

Think about it. Overnight, in a stunning turnabout, apathetic moms and dads will be transformed into guardians of the flames of education, never letting the light of knowledge go out in their children’s eyes.

It will be a revolution of the mind, as parents everywhere suddenly realize the incredible influence they have on how their kids view school and learning.

Once you have the parents doing their job properly, it will make everything easier for the schools. With classrooms full of eager, prepared students, teachers can actually teach.

Then we’ll have educated kids, reveling in their future opportunities. The economy will boom as crime drops and ignorance fades.

That is my son’s solution to the problem of bad students.

Oh, and those parents who still just don’t care? The higher taxes that they pay can go to the prison system, which will have to house and feed their kids at some point.

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