Does America need a central teacher as well as a central banker?
Speaking before the Senate banking committee, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke made a few comments on US education.
We need to make sure that the gains and benefits of these powerful growth-producing forces are broadly shared," he said. In particular, "we're probably not doing what we should be doing in terms of ensuring that all children have opportunities to learn math and science and the applications of those areas." Chicago Tribune
Personally, I think that current education discussions focus too narrowly on economic issues. Each individual person seems relegated to an economic function, and America's place in the global economy is continually used as an argument for increasing federal oversight of our education system. President Bush has even gone so far as to say that our education system needs to compete with the education systems in China and India.

As with most things, the centralization of education is not new and was first introduced to America in the 1800s, thanks to the fascination of American education reformers with the Prussian system. Our founders viewed centralization as a threat to our private interests. Henry Barnard, who would later become the first commissioner of education, explained his vision for centralized education:
In Prussia the Minister of Education is one of the most important ministers of the State. The Department of Instruction is organized as carefully as that of War or the Treasury, and is intended to act on every district and family in the kingdom. We have not one State officer supported at the expense of the State to ascertain the condition of our schools and to give his time and mind to the improvement of these valuable institutions. No serious responsibility in respect to public education rests anywhere.

The desultory and imperfect efforts of several hundred scattered individuals can never give a complete view of the defects of our schools or the best mode of remedying them. Hence once man familiar with the subject should traverse the whole ground, discover its actual state, compare different schools under different influences, ascertain the origin of the apathy and neglect so prevalent and the measures which would be at once effectual and acceptable. The energies of a single-well balanced mind should be employed in collecting and combining materials which shall give greater force and efficiency to the system. (Warren, Donald R. To Enforce Education: A History of the Founding Years of the United States Office of Education, p. 34)
A single mind. A central teacher. So that we may organize our education system with the same care as the US Department of Defense and stretch its influence to every family in the United States.

Unrelated, but an excellent post. How do you praise your children? For their inherent traits or their effort? Joanne Jacobs shares The Perils of Praise.

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