The public-access cable station Olelo invites candidates for office to tape a brief campaign pitch. Here's mine.
I'm Malcolm Kirkpatrick, and I want your vote, for Board of Education.
The Hawaii Department of Education operates the ninth largest school district in the US. Standardized test scores put Hawaii in the national cellar. Of course, standardized tests are not the only measure of school performance. In Hawaii, juvenile arrests fall when school is NOT in session. Juvenile hospitalizations for human-induced trauma fall when school is NOT in session. Schools do not prevent crime; they cause it.
Taxpayers supply the Hawaii DOE with over 2 billion dollars every year, over ten thousand dollars per pupil. More than 20,000 people work for the Hawaii DOE. How is it that so many people, with such vast resources, accomplish so little? I think I know.
Numerous lines of evidence support the following generalizations:
First: As institutions take from individual parents the power to determine for their own children the choice of curriculum and the pace and method of instruction, overall system peformance falls.
Second: Political control of school harms most the children of the least politically adept parents.
Mohandas Gandhi opposed compulsory attendance at school. Albert Einstein opposed compulsory attendance at school.
Thomas Edison was homeschooled and started work at 13. Hyram Maxim left school and apprenticed at 14. David Farragut joined the US Navy at 9, went to sea at 11, and commanded his first ship at 15.
It does not take 12 years at $10,000 per pupil-year to teach a normal child to read and compute. Most vocational training occurs more effectively on the job than in a classroom. Government provision of History and Civics instruction is a threat to democracy, just as government operation of newspapers would be and is, in totalitarian countries like North Korea and Cuba.
What we in the US call "the public school system" originated in religious intolerance and anti-Catholic bigotry. In Hawaii, Congregational missionaries established schools to convert the pagans, and the plantation aristocracy used school taxes to drive native Hawaiians out of the subsistence economy and into the cash economy.
The Hawaii "public" school system has become an employment program for dues-paying members of the HSTA, the HGEA, and the UPW, a source of padded construction and supply contracts for politically-connected insiders, and a venue for State-worshipful indoctrination. If this is not so, why cannot any student take, at any age, an exit exam (the GED will do) and apply the taxpayers' $10,000 per year education subsidy toward post-secondary tuition or toward a wage subsidy at any private-sector employer?
In 1993, when Ben Cayetano was Lieutenant Governor, he said "We cannot afford to waste another generation of school kids". Since then, we have wasted another generation of school kids.
Will the current crop of politicians fix this wastful system? No, there's too much money in it. To fix this system voters must elect, to the Legislature and the Board of Education, majorities who favor vouchers, tuition tax credits, or other forms of parent control. They must also elect Governors who favor parent control until a majority of the appointed Hawaii Supreme Court justices favor parent control. In the most optimistic scenario, this is more than 12 years away.
If you have children, you cannot afford to wait. For your children's sake, please homeschool. As Gandhi observed, parents are the natural teachers of children. Nothing in Hawaii law requires that homeschooling instruction occur between 8 in the morning and 2 in the afternoon. It is legal to extend daycare to age 18 and homeschool in the evening.
My name is Malcolm Kirkpatrick. I support school vouchers, charter schools, tuition tax credits, homeschooling, and other forms of parent control. Please give me your support. Thank you for you attention.