The Foolish DeBary City Council

The DeBary City Council recently voted to give DeBary tax money to some students on the bowling team from a local high school.  The Charter of the City of DeBary empowers the DeBary City Council to expend tax dollars for clearly defined projects that benefit the city.  Our Charter does not have a provision whereby the taxpayers of DeBary are obligated to fund students who are traveling to a bowling championship.

All property owners in Volusia County can clearly view their yearly county tax bill. The largest portion of our county taxes goes to the public school system of Volusia County.  Additionally, the U.S. spends more tax money per student than any other country in the world.  No country in the world spends more money, per student, each year than the U.S. Since the U.S. has the most expensive educational system in the world, it should have the highest educational scores in the world when U.S. students are tested on international tests in history, chemistry, physics, foreign languages, reading comprehension and several other areas.

The U.S. Department of Education would publish educational test scores on international exams so U.S. citizens could see how U.S. students were performing in relation to other countries.  It is a public embarrassment to me, and to many other American Citizens, that American students performed near the bottom of many areas and at the bottom in other subject areas.  The international test scores of U.S. students continued to drop during the 1980’s and the 1990’s.  Many third world countries that were much poorer than the U.S. scored higher than U.S. students.  Finally scores of U.S. students became so abysmally low on international tests that the U.S. stopped participating in international testing.

Many sane and sensible people believe that many of the problems that exist in the U.S. Public School System were exacerbated and abetted by the educational philosophy of  John Dewey.  John Dewey (1859-1952) was a Fabian Socialist who developed the liberal progressive branch of educational philosophy.  Many college graduates who wish to be licensed by a state in the U.S. to become a teacher are required to take and pass several “educational philosophy” courses.  The liberal progressive branch of educational philosophy that future teachers must take in order to receive state certification is little more than an updated form of John Dewey’s socialist philosophy.

One of the values that seems to be greatly lacking in public education in the U.S. today is the concept of individual responsibility.  If the students on the bowling team had a scintilla of individual responsibility, they would have considered doing some extra work in their own neighborhoods and would have attempted to raise funds and pay for their own trip.  However, being taught the socialist value that government is the answer to everything, the students asked a governmental body to pay for their bowling trip.  John Dewey would have been proud of these students.  However, John Dewey would have been extremely proud of the DeBary City Council who sent a message that students should not accept either hard work or individual responsibility.  The Council sent a loud and clear message to the students that the government is the answer to all things.  Even when the Council had no legal mandate, in my view, the Council awarded money to the bowling team.

Now, I have two questions. 1) What will the Council do when the swim team, the tennis team, the soccer team, and the track team ask for money?  2) Why do individuals from most other countries in the world vastly outscore U.S. students?

R. Van Conoley  ( Editor’s Note:  I believe that parents should have the right to send their children to schools that reflect diverse values.  That is called Choice.  Far too many public schools in the U.S. today are a public disgrace.  The poorest individuals in the poorest sections of the U.S. are the greatest victims of the failing public school system. Our failing public schools, especially in the poorest urban regions, fail young Americans and doom them to a life of semi-illiteracy and poverty. )



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