The Collapse of Public Education in America

To watch "The Talking Points Memo" click here.

Hi, I'm Bill O'Reilly. Thanks for watching us tonight.

The collapse of public education in the USA, that is the subject of this evening's "Talking Points" memo.

In a suburb of Boston, a 15-year-old girl engaged in oral sex with a 16-year-old boy on a school bus while three other students cheered them on. The incident happened on December 12, but authorities at Silver Lake High School did not tell the school board. A local paper, The Patriot Ledger, broke the story.

The principal of the school, a man named Richard Kelley, refuses to tell the public what disciplinary measures he's taken. Let me repeat that, Principal Kelley didn't tell the school board about the incident and now will not tell the people who pay his salary what he's going to do about if.

Why does this man still have a job? He should be fired immediately. The DA in Plymouth County, where the pilgrims hung out, has not said whether he will file criminal charges. The teenagers could be charged with lewd and lascivious behavior in public, a felony in Massachusetts.

The story's important because it demonstrates how the public schools in America have fallen apart. This week President Bush announced that even more federal money will flow into the public school system, but Massachusetts Senator Edward Kennedy quickly denounced Bush, saying the federal spending wasn't enough, even though it stands at record levels. This, of course, bogus.

Yesterday, The Wall Street Journal ran a story about the public schools in Washington, D.C., which are the worst in the country as far as academic performance is concerned. The district spends about $10,000 a year on each pupil, while the D.C. Catholic schools spend $3,500 on each student. Both the public and private schools in D.C. are heavily African-American, but no surprise, the Catholic schools rate far above the public schools in academic.

That proves that money doesn't make students learn, discipline does.  The Catholic schools generally have discipline. The public schools generally do not. That's because of principals like Richard Kelley, who are more interested in protecting their own butts than imposing standards on immature kids.

Just think about it, two teenagers engaging on oral sex on a school bus, and they have not been expelled, as far as we know?

So here's what should happen. As "Talking Points" said, Kelley should be fired. The sex students should be expelled, and the kids who cheered them on suspended for two weeks. The bus driver should also be investigated.

Now, I would not criminally indict the teenagers. I'm not out to ruin their lives. I'm out to stop pernicious, out-of-control behavior in the public schools.

The federal government should stop stumbling around here. If you're going to spend massive amounts of our tax dollars on public education, then impose strict standards of achievement and behavior. If a state or community rejects those standards, then no federal dough, period.

Most of our social problems here in the USA stem from bad parenting and irresponsible public education. The government cannot force parents to do their jobs, but it can damn well demand that school buses be free of oral sex, cowardly principals be fired, and basic standards of behavior enforced.

And that's The Memo.

The Villain of the Week

Time for the Friday feature...the "Villain of the Week."

As you may know, one child was murdered, two others were horribly abused in Newark, New Jersey. Authorities have the adults involved in custody. But state child protection agents simply didn't do their jobs. And the fate of these children is partially on them.

And so caseworker Katherine Davis, who allowed the case to be closed, despite not having seen the children in a year, her supervisor, Donna Wells Tucker, who went along with it, and their boss, Victoria Amaroso, are the Villains of the Week.

I'm sure they all have excuses, but excuses walk. Davis and Tucker should be criminally charged with negligence.