When the New York Times Opinion Editors Call Your School System "A National Disgrace"…


…Let's hope that puts the local teachers union and bloated administration on notice that real reforms are coming soon. The Times' editors write:

Washington has long been infamous for having the worst performing big-city system in the country. But The Washington Post exposed the scope of the problem earlier this summer in an eye-opening series. According to The Post, the city ranks first in terms of the budget share devoted to administration and last in spending on teachers and instruction. The imbalance is particularly disturbing, given that the District's children fare worse at school than children in other big cities…

In the past, superintendents who wanted to restructure the disastrously dysfunctional central office were hampered by laws that guarantee displaced administrators the right to keep their salaries even as they moved to lower level jobs in the schools. The City Council will need to eliminate those laws if Washington is ever to remake its schools.

Translation of the last paragraph: The new superintendant needs the power to demote feather-bedded administrative staff. Better yet, how about giving her the authority to fire underperforming administrators and teachers?

Surely one of the chief reasons the DC school system is so wasteful and unproductive is because it's in nobody's interest to save taxpayer money or provide a quality education. Generally public schools are not run for the benefit of students. Instead they are run for the benefit of teachers and the educrats in the central office. So why not make it someone's interest to save money and turn out a quality education? Take the $11,000 per pupil the DC public schools spend and give it to parents as a voucher. Then let parents make the decision about which schools are actually educating their children. Or at the very least adopt the successful school choice program that San Francisco has.