Reader against legislating education

To the Editor:
How many lawyers does it take to improve education? I know it sounds like a joke and it would be if it weren’t so serious. Ideally the answer is zero because, in my opinion, legislation will not improve education. It hasn’t for the last 30 years and the Governor’s latest attempt is more of the same.

In 1983 the National Commission on Excellence in Education issued a report entitled “A Nation at Risk.” The commission concluded “The educational foundations of our society are presently being eroded by a rising tide of mediocrity that threatens our very future as a nation.” Here we are thirty years later with the same problem.
After the report the states responded with a flurry of legislative action establishing mandates, "accountability" directives, and various other changes in education policies. No improvement was seen.
Then the Congress passed “No Child Left Behind” in 2001. The only thing that legislation improved was the quality and the frequency of the cheating by teachers and administrators.
Laws and lawyers can force testing and force standards but we can’t legislate and force learning. We instead need a free-market system that allows students to develop their passion for learning with teachers who are facilitators of critical thinking and not acting as testing police.
The Governor’s latest legislation is just another example of doing the same strategy of teaching to standardized tests but doing it harder and while evaluating the teachers. We have tried this for 30 years and it has failed. It is nonsense.
I am convinced we need a free market system. Are you?
Wally Hauck