Tag archives: Dr Jack Klenk

New FRC Pamphlet Available: Jack Klenks Who Should Decide How Children are Educated?

by Chris Gacek

March 23, 2011

Who Should Decide How Children are Educated?FRC is proud to announce the availability of its new policy pamphlet entitled, Who Should Decide How Children are Educated? by Jack Klenk. Mr. Klenk is a retired, long-time Department of Education policy expert and proponent of educational reform.

You can download the document here. [PDF]

Primarily, Klenk asks the following linked questions: Who has the primary responsibility for making critical decisions about the education of school-aged children? Their parents? Or government and the school system it operates?

Klenk presents an extended overview of the development of American public education and demonstrates that we now have a top-down model that has been designed to promote the preferences of experts, bureaucracies, and unions above that of parents. Rather, a system must be developed that overturns old patterns of behavior. The current educational system is overdue for a modernization, that will it make it more flexible, less bureaucratic, and more family-friendly. To be authentically public, it must serve all parents from the whole public.

For education to serve the public, it must give parents access to a variety of schools, not just the monolithic government option. The old system is a monopoly that is not suited to modern life. As with other monopolies, it gives disproportionate weight to itself and special interests, and not enough to the customers the parents and children. Furthermore, monopolies always resist improvement-forcing competition. Any new system of education for the public must leave behind the mindset that only government schools can serve the public. Parents should be allowed to select the educational institutions that best suit their needs.

However, the reforms must be accomplished in a manner that does not interfere with the freedom and distinctive identities of nongovernmental schools. This is critical. Government financial support of parental educational choices cannot be allowed to threaten the independence and distinctive features (e.g., religious education) of alternative institutions. Vouchers, tax credits, and charter schools are all part of a wave of educational change that appears to be on the horizon as the public realizes that government schools are very costly and are not performing well.

Who Should Decide How Children Are Educated?”

by Rob Schwarzwalder

March 18, 2011

Is “public education the same thing as “government education?” Dr. Jack Klenk argues it is not, but that the two terms have been conflated, in our time, to mean the same thing.

Dr. Klenk is the author of a new FRC booklet titled, “Who Should Decide How Children Are Educated?.” His new publication, which you can download at no charge, answers this probing question through the application of both careful analysis and common sense.

It’s a question well worth asking. According to the federal Education Department’s National Center for Education Statistics, in constant dollars, spending per pupil in public elementary and secondary schools went from $2,769 in the 1961-62 school year to $10,041 in 2007-07 school year.

What have we gotten for this massive investment? According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, “the reading skills of 12th graders tested in 2005 were significantly worse than those of students in 1992, when a comparable test was first given, and essentially flat since students previously took the exam in 2002.”

Jack Klenk believes we can, and must, do better. He makes a strong case that parents should be allowed and empowered to decide how to education their children. Here’s an excerpt from his new FRC publication:

(W)hat we need today is education that serves the public: education where power flows back to parents; where empowered parents are able to choose schools as they see fit (public charter schools, other government schools, private schools, homeschools, cyber schools, or other schools yet to come); where schools of all stripes that offer quality education are free to compete to serve parents; where the success of schools depends more on satisfying parents who freely choose them than on pleasing bureaucracies; and where nongovernmental schools retain their independence.”

Dr. Klenk’s impressive credentials lend support for his case. He served for twenty-seven years in the U.S. Department of Education under five presidents and eight secretaries. He directed the Office of Non-Public Education which is responsible for fostering the participation of nonpublic school students and teachers in federal education programs and initiatives. Dr. Klenk worked on policies and programs affecting school choice, private schools, home schools, urban faith-based schools, and the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program.

Who Should Decide How Children Are Educated?” is an important contribution to the debate over the future of American education. This is more than an academic discussion — it’s about the well-being of our children and the nation they inherit.

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