Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013 | 2:01 a.m.
There is no better way to reverse our nation’s decline than to improve education.
Here is the way to do that without spending another dime:
Educators know and studies affirm that most kids will perform up to their parents’ expectations. Sure there are exceptions, but most kids whose parents are vigilant and who demand good grades from their children will have students who do well and ultimately will get ahead in society.
Since so many problem schools are in poor areas, many of these kids are from families accepting public assistance. Why not tie the assistance to in-school behavior and attendance?
The best argument for public assistance is that the kids are innocent and should not suffer, but to give kids food without teaching them to fend for themselves as adults clearly perpetuates the cycle of poverty.
Do you want food stamps? Housing assistance? Aid to dependent families? Free cellphones? Well, as part of the social contract, your duty as a citizen is to make sure your kid attends school all day, every day, and behaves well while in school. He must pass his courses and read at grade level.
This approach does have the political drawback of requiring people to be responsible for their children’s behavior. But it is hard to think of a rational (i.e. non-political) argument against giving this approach a try.