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Education Clock Is Ticking for Students

December 15, 1991

Helen Bernstein accuses school bureaucrats of being "stupid idiots," "mean and vicious" people who produce and dump "garbage" on hapless teachers.

While these denunciations are exaggerations, they nonetheless accurately signify the negative effect that school officials have on students' academic achievement. The experimental evidence is clear and growing that the more influence school bureaucrats have on the educational process, the less students will learn.

There is only one effective solution to Bernstein's complaints: Eliminate or greatly de-emphasize the power of the school bureaucracy. Authorize each school to be operated wholly by its principal and teachers. Empowering parents to choose the schools their children attend would be the best way to establish such autonomous schools.

A petition to that effect, the California School Choices Initiative, will soon circulate seeking citizens' signatures. Here is an opportunity for the people to put on the ballot the greatest school reform measure of this century.

PATRICK GROFF, professor

School of Teacher Education

San Diego State University

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