August 28, 2013
When it comes to education, many Republicans like very little of the current system. They believe the system is broken and needs repair.
The changes they seek include more charter schools, merit pay-based compensation, union-free schools, lower-paid teachers, no tenure, vouchers, and achievement standards. But data shows that none of these ideas has a proven track record of improving our supposedly broken education system. These ideas do, however, conform to Republican free market ideology which says that anything the public sector can do, the private sector can do better.
While Republicans seem willing to make drastic changes to education using the power of the government, they apparently feel differently regarding our supposedly broken health care system.
In response to the Independent Payment Advisory Board portion of the Affordable Care Act that sets standards for “best practices” Republicans like Mitt Romney said: “Perhaps most troubling of all, Obamacare puts the federal government between you and your doctor.” When setting similar standards for education Jeb Bush stated: “I can’t accept the dumbed-down standards and expectations that exist in almost all of our schools today.”
World rankings show that the U.S. is in the middle of the pack when it comes to students performance on international tests, yet health care outcomes are equally as bad, if not worse.
Many believe our education system fails students yet 25 percent of hospitalized patients are harmed by medical errors accounting for as many as 225,000 deaths per year. In education Republicans blame “bad teachers” and call for new rules and regulations. However, in the medical field Republicans call for tort reform to limit a doctor’s liability for being a bad doctor.
When it comes to money Republicans believe teachers are overpaid, yet U.S. teacher pay ranks 22nd out of 27 countries while medical professionals not only hold the top 8 positions in Forbes best paid jobs - beating out the number 10 ranked CEO’s – but many also rank number one in the world when it comes to salary.
While many complain that teachers get too much time off, the Wall Street Journal reports that U.S. teachers spend more time instructing students than any other nation — logging 1,913 hours per year while the average family physician works 43 hours a week with 5-7 weeks of paid time off per year for a total of 1926 to 2025 worked per year.
Firing teachers, especially those with tenure, is allegedly impossible — yet in states like Texas a tenured teacher is twice as likely to be fired as a physician is to lose his license. Additionally, the attrition rate for teachers (16.8 percent) is nearly three times as high as the attrition rate for physicians (6.1 percent).
Teachers unions are allegedly a problem, yet little is made of the fact that 15 percent of all hospital workers belong to a union (and increasing).
Yet despite the similarity of the education and health systems, most Republicans believe that our education system is broken while 68 percent of them believe that our health care system is the “best in the world.” Ironically, these contradictory beliefs exist due to a lack of education.