As I have been traveling this summer talking to K12 and college faculty about the total transformation of American schools that is taking place right under our noses, people get this confused look on their faces: “What are you talking about?” That’s understandable; hard-working educators don’t have time to be watching their backs to make sure they are not about to be stabbed (metaphorically speaking). This, my first blog and the other blogs here on Busted Pencils are our way of looking out for you… but only if you read them…
650 billion dollars… That’s about how much America spends each year to educate our children. That’s not nearly as much as we spend on health care (about 250 TRILLIONdollars), and less than we spend on our military operations (about 750 billion), but still, it is a prodigious sum. If you had that kind of money at birth and spent a million dollars each and every day of your life until your timely demise, you would still have hundreds of BILLIONS to leave to your surviving spouse, your surviving children, your surviving grandchildren, and your favorite animal shelter. Wow!
I know what you’re thinking: That’s a lot of money to spend on kids. How can I get a chunk of that change? Well, maybe you can. There are many who are making big bucks at the education trough. If you’re an entrepreneur who is thinking about getting your share of the 650 billion or if you’ve been sleeping for the last 30 years and just woke up, I’ve put together a short chronicle of events to bring you up to speed. Read on.
You’ll be happy to know you won’t need to start from scratch. The first and most important step towards setting the stage to rake in tax dollars was to convince the public that there was “trouble in River City.” (Meredith Willson’s Music Man isn’t a bad analogy if you take out the Madam Librarian bit.) You can thank the Reagan administration for putting a big one in the win column (another one for the Gipper). In 1981 his Secretary of Education (think: Robert Preston, a guy who can’t sing but plays the lead in a musical) put together a committee comprised overwhelmingly of school administrators and one token teacher (and no educational scholars) who looked at some student test scores and concluded that The Greening of American Education | BustED Pencils: