Part 4 Section II in the Series
All Citizens have a Right to an Education that prepares them for Life and a Career that Resonates.
At present in the United States, the quality of education an individual receives is often determined by the wealth of their neighborhood and the wealth of their family. Funding for public schools is derived from various sources including state sales and income taxes, lotteries, local property taxes, gifts, and federal grants. Private schools mainly receive their funding through tuition, gifts, and endowments. Because the greatest amount of public education funding comes from local property taxes, less prosperous communities receive less funding which translates to lower paid teachers, larger student per educator ratios, and more limited educational materials and supplies which reduce the overall quality of education received by students. Wealthier families who reside in more economically depressed school districts often choose to send their children to private educational institutions and pay the associated tuition costs as these schools are better funded which, in the majority of cases, provides students with a higher caliber of education.
This disparity in educational value received by students not only impacts the opportunities each individual may have for a flourishing lifestyle, it impacts the functionality of the entire Nation. A well-educated society is one that is adaptable and far more apt to realize its full potential in wealth creation and citizen happiness. A leveling of educational quality and access is imperative for a favorable National future.
There are four components that should be addressed to achieve a highly functional and universally accessible educational system.
- Public Ownership and Funding at the National level: As private funding of educational institutions drain funding from a public educational system, any educational course provided by the public system may not be offered through a private educational organization. Funding will no longer be based on community economic status but on population densities by age and occupation economic demand. Taxes, collected by the National Government, will fund public education throughout the Nation. Redistribution of designated funds will flow from the National level to the Regional level (for disbursement to Colleges and Universities) and then to the Community level (for disbursement to General Education Schools). Funding will be allocated to each educational institution according to National Public Non-Profit sector guidelines. Funding will vary for tuition and course materials between general and advanced education institutions:
- General Education – All Communities with a population of citizens under the age of 18 that is equal to or greater than 0.0001% of the National Total Population (Example: 360 million x 0.0001% = 360) shall have funding for one educational facility for grades K-7 and one for grades 8-12; additional facilities will be funded when student population exceeds 0.00015% of the National Total Population – no single facility shall have a student population in excess of 0.00015% of the National Total Population. Communities with less than the minimum student population whose nearest education facility is more than 30 miles away, will have funding for a satellite educational facility of adequate size to accommodate grades K – 12. Each facility will also be granted sufficient funding to meet minimum educator and support staffing, minimum operational supplies and equipment, standardized course materials, and student daily lunch provisions. Students are responsible for providing their own appropriate attire, general equipment (such as computers and backpacks), sundries (such as pencils, notebooks, rulers, etc.), and all extracurricular activity items.
- Advanced Education – When adjacent communities (within a 300 mile radius) reach an adult population between the ages of 18 and 49 equal to or greater than 0.001% of the National Total Population (Example: 360 million x 0.001% = 3,600), funding for one College (Associate Programs) and one University (Baccalaureate and Post-Baccalaureate Programs) will be provided. The facilities should be centrally located to the Communities they serve. Additional facilities will be funded when the population aged 18 – 49 within the education district exceeds 0.0015% of the National Total Population – no single facility shall have a student population in excess of 0.0015% of the National Total Population. Each facility will also be granted funding for minimum operational supplies and equipment, sufficient funding to meet minimum educator and support staffing relevant to approved Degree Programs and their associated graduate quotas per the Occupational Demand Analysis Report currently in effect and their accompanying standardized course materials. Additionally, funding for On-Campus Apartment Housing equivalent to 50% of the minimum dwelling size requirement for single occupancy and 100% for double occupancy will be provided for a student body equivalent to 100% of the degree graduation quota for each educational facility. Students are responsible for providing their own appropriate attire, general equipment (such as computers and backpacks), sundries (such as pencils, notebooks, rulers, etc.), tuition and course materials for courses in which they have enrolled but are not required for their declared degree program, campus fees, and all extracurricular activity items.
- Standardization of Curriculum and Course Materials: Standardization ensures all students receive similar instruction in the same set of subjects and allow for materials to be purchased at quantity discount prices. Standardization also helps simplify collaboration among colleagues. What standardization is not intended to do is impinge upon the style individual educators use to impart knowledge or restrict creative augmentation of course materials.
- Linkages of Advanced Education Programs with Economic Demand: Advanced Education prepares individuals to participate in the economy. Therefore, advanced educational degree programs offered by educational institutions should be directly linked to present and future occupation demand. Occupation demand will be assessed nationally once every three years and funding adjustments indicated by the Occupational Demand Analysis Report implemented one year after the report is finalized and published. Entrance applications and requirements will also be standardized for advanced education institutions according to degree levels and types offered; this should help alleviate discriminatory and legacy based admittance practices.
- Regulations for class size (student to educator ratio), class and student school day length, homework load, semester number and lengths, study and semester break periods, course passage standard, etc.(Equitable and just compensation for education professionals has been taken care of through the National Wage Structure). Regulations will vary between general and advanced education institutions:
- General Education – The maximum student to educator ratio per class is 15:1. Individual class length should not exceed 60 minutes. Daily class time should not exceed 7 hours inclusive of two 15 minute and one 30 minute rest and lunch breaks. The daily after-school homework load should not exceed 15 minutes per class. Total weekly class time should not exceed 28 hours. The school year shall consist of two semesters (August 15th – December 15th and January 15th – May 15th). Course passage is achieved at the C or 2.0 level of performance; statutory courses not passed are required to be retaken and passed prior to degreed graduation.
- Advanced Education – The maximum student to educator ratio per class is 30:1. Individual class length should not exceed 60 minutes; Individual courses will specify how many days per week a class is held (number of classes per week equals number of credits per semester course). Semester courses should not exceed 3 credits. The daily class-external study load should not exceed 60 minutes per class. Total credits required to complete a degree program within the degree level standard number of years should not exceed 12 credits per semester. The school year shall consist of two semesters (August 15th – December 15th and January 15th – May 15th). Course passage (credit earned) is achieved at the C or 2.0 level of performance; mandatory courses that are not passed are required to be retaken (tuition paid by student) and passed prior to degreed graduation.
Student Eligibility for Publicly Funded General Education: To facilitate just expenditure of tax funded child education, students are required to be a Legal Citizen of the Nation funding the Education or a Foreign Citizen with legal asylum status and be under the age of 18 at the beginning of the school year. Accommodations (such as individual language tutors) will be made for legal asylum status students who are not proficient in written and oral use of the primary language utilized in the education system.
Student Eligibility for Publicly Funded Advanced Education: To facilitate effective expenditure of tax funded education, on-campus housing, tuition and standardized course material costs will be covered for enrolled students who meet the following criteria:
- Must be a Legal Citizen of the Nation funding the Education or a Foreign Citizen with legal asylum status.
- Accepted into an Associate or Baccalaureate degree program that qualifies under the Occupational Demand Analysis Report at the time of first year enrollment (up to age 49).
- Accepted into a Master or Doctorate degree program directly related to their Baccalaureate degree and qualifies under the Occupational Demand Analysis Report at the time of first year enrollment (up to age 42).
- Courses required for Post-Graduate Credential Maintenance (up to age 59)
- Multiple Advanced Degrees will qualify for public funding when the Occupational Demand Analysis Report indicates a protracted drop in demand of 25% or greater for the highest level degree currently held by graduates (subject to the degree level’s relevant age restrictions).
- In order to promote life-long learning, tuition and standardized course material costs (not housing) will also be tax funded for advanced education courses offered through a public educational institution limited to one course per Citizen per year (up to age 59). Courses chosen can be of any subject with the only prerequisite being those required by the course itself. Life-long learning course costs are reimbursed after the course has been completed with a passing grade.
Funding for Specialty Certification courses not required for Post-Graduate Credential Maintenance is the responsibility of individual educational institutions and students.
National Service Post-Advanced Degree Attainment: All Citizens, aged 18 to 49, shall serve 832 hours immediately after completing each program of advanced education culminating in a specialized degree. Service shall be performed within a tax funded Non-Profit Organization. Placement will be based on position availability, Citizen’s knowledge and abilities, and Citizen’s choice of applicable options. National Service obligation shall be completed within one calendar year. Citizens shall be compensated at the National Minimum Wage rate. National Service will be performed within the Nation’s borders.
The National Service enables Citizens who have benefited from the public advanced education system to give back to the community that provided them with their educational opportunity. Additionally, Citizens are able to acquire work experience relevant to their educational degree.
As part of a transition to a publicly funded advanced education system, outstanding student loans should be modified to reflect expenses other than tuition, course materials (specifically books) and on-campus housing; remaining balances should also be modified to reflect the maximum interest rate for monetary loans as detailed in the Market Price Regulations or if existing loans reflect less than the new maximums they should remain the same.
Specialty Certification related to re-training needs caused by the transition to a circular and localized National economy will be subsidized (tuition and course materials) by Special Allocation from the National Discretionary Government Budget. Courses of study and criteria for student eligibility will be approved for subsidies each year during the transition process on an as appropriate basis.
This concludes part 4 in the series. Part 5 – Governance is next and is the final part in the framework series.