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Back to January Ed Reporter

Education Reporter
NUMBER 252 THE NEWSPAPER OF EDUCATION RIGHTS JANUARY 2007

John Stossel's Stupid in America report available on DVD

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"The kids aren't stupid. The system is stupid," concludes one parent in an interview with 20/20's John Stossel. For this 2006 program, Stossel traveled around the country and beyond, to compile evidence against the current system and in favor of school choice. The results are compelling.

Stupid in America takes viewers inside typical public school classrooms, charter schools and alternative schools; to teachers' union rallies and protests; and into conversations with educational reformers, school officials, economists and parents. It contrasts the American system with systems that attach funding to the student, not to the school. For example, through school choice, the Belgian government spends less money per child, and the students consistently perform very well on international tests.

"They shut down bad schools. That's healthy," comments American reformer Kevin Chavous. "It says to people that incompetence won't work."

What role does money play in all of this? "There's nothing that money can't fix," asserts one California teacher/protester. A school board chairman claims that $30,000 per student per year would probably fix the problem in the schools.

Stossel counters with convincing evidence from alternative and charter schools that are doing much better with much less. He places the blame instead on the school system's unchallenged monopoly, and the unions that make it virtually impossible to fire inept teachers.

A South Carolina alternative school teaches children to read phonetically in the first grade on $3000 per student per year. On the west coast, families cheered and burst into tears when their lottery number came up for the San Diego charter schools, where union rules do not apply. These and dozens of other examples bring home Stossel's advocacy of school choice.

Copies of Stossel's DVD are available from http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/shopping/ at $29.95.


 
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