The column by David Barram must not go unanswered ("California at the Bottom; Picking Up Public Schools," Opinion, Oct. 30). Although our schools are producing unsatisfactory results, throwing more money at the problem is not the remedy. Our schools need much more than to be repaired, refurbished and fueled with increased resources and effort.
Our public school system is structurally flawed, inadequately equipped with teaching talent, grossly overloaded with entitlement programs, and drowning in unionism. It is no wonder that schools are seen as an unworthy cause by the increasingly graying majority at the tax and bonds ballot booths.
Like our once great railroad system, our system of educational institutions has become unresponsive to its clients and is rife with resistance to change and featherbedding. Perhaps parts of the school system can be retained for niche missions. But a whole new system must be created for transferring knowledge and conducting wisdom-building experiences. This is especially true when the requirement is to cover the educational needs not only of K-12, but also of vocational, college, and lifelong learning, as well.
The basic fact is that no consensus yet exists on the objective function for our public school system. That is, we do not agree on how to measure the effectiveness of an educational entity, let alone the productivity of its processes. Without an objective function, any attempts to improve or better manage a system this large and complex are as likely to be wrong as right.