THE SOLUTION TO ALL OUR NATIONAL PROBLEMS lies in proper education. The Natural Law Party advocates scientifically proven educational programs that can unfold the full creative potential of every student and produce ideal citizens capable of fulfilling their highest aspirations while contributing maximum to the progress of society. By harnessing Americas greatest resource -- the unlimited creativity of our 280 million citizens -- the Natural Law Party can bring fulfillment to education and ensure Americas competitiveness and continuing leadership in the family of nations.
Education in America is not working. Even though the United States spends more money per student than any other country, our students still rank far behind most of their international peers in math and science -- and well behind U.S. test scores of 20 years ago. Twenty-eight percent of our high school students drop out -- the highest rate of any industrialized nation -- and those who graduate are often ill prepared to enter the work force .
Drug and alcohol abuse continues to undermine our nations students and rob them of their mental clarity, motivation, self-esteem, and ability to focus . Moreover, juvenile violent crime has increased markedly during the past decade, especially gang and school violence using guns . According to the Centers for Disease Control, American youths are 12 times more likely to die by gunfire than their peers in other nations.
The culturing of inner values has all but disappeared from our nations schools. Yet James Madison observed in the Federalist Papers that democracy cannot function unless our leaders and citizens are in a higher degree of virtue than any other form of government.
Americas problems are human problems -- crime, drug abuse, domestic violence, and declining health. Only through the full development of our human resource can we rise above the reach of problems. Yet research has shown that students graduating from our current educational system use at most 5-10% of their full mental potential . A new and effective approach to education is clearly needed.
Education is for enlightenment -- the full development of mind, body, and behavior. The Natural Law Party promotes proven educational programs that directly increase intelligence and creativity and simultaneously improve moral reasoning, self-reliance, and mental and physical health and well-being. These programs include sound educational approaches to nutrition , natural, preventive health measures , effective drug prevention programs , and innovative curriculum development, including programs to develop the full mental potential of students.
While focusing on dissemination of knowledge, current approaches to education ignore the most fundamental component of learning -- the consciousness or intelligence of the student, which is the basis of gaining knowledge. Todays educational approaches provide no knowledge of consciousness and no scientifically proven technology to develop it. These approaches do not comprehensively develop the brain physiology, causing incomplete cognitive and emotional development and less-than-comprehensive thinking. This fundamental failure is the ultimate source of the problems afflicting education today.
Current proposals to improve education often focus on information technologies, such as computer access to the Internet, that offer larger and larger volumes of data. However, without an educational approach that can develop more than 5-10% of a students full mental potential, no amount of information will ever produce truly educated, ideal citizens.
The Natural Law Party proposes to upgrade the U.S. Department of Education to a Department of Educational Excellence, which would charter several federally funded model schools in which successful educational innovations of all kinds could be implemented and researched. Based on the success of these programs, parents and educators across the country could choose the ones they felt would be most appropriate and effective in their neighborhoods. Rather than dictate educational curricula at the local level, the Federal Government could thereby play a crucial research and leadership role in expanding educational choices for parents and students, improving educational outcomes across the nation.
The Natural Law Party believes that the teaching of our children should be an honored profession with commensurate compensation. We would raise teacher salaries by $10,000 per year through a program of block grants to the states. This would foster greater competition for teaching positions, thereby promoting higher standards
The Natural Law Party also supports federally funded vouchers to increase parental options for school choice and to foster competition among schools. These vouchers could be used to pay for any school of the parents choice -- public, private, or parochial -- provided that the school maintains high academic performance on standardized national tests. The free-market competition that this voucher system will engender will help reverse declining educational outcomes in America.
The Natural Law Party supports education, job training, and apprenticeship programs to prepare all Americans to compete in today's fast-paced economy, fully harnessing our most precious national resource -- the unlimited intelligence and creativity of our 280 million citizens.
The Natural Law Party also supports the following initiatives:
Fully fund the Head Start program, to give all eligible children an opportunity to excel from an early age.
Provide financial support for every student who wants to go to college. The Natural Law Party does not support the scaling back of Pell grants and student loans for higher education. Government loans should be repaid after graduation -- if necessary through mandatory salary deductions or community service.
Establish higher national standards and the practical means to achieve them. Other parties have called for higher standards but have offered no effective strategies to accomplish this goal.
Lengthen the school year and increase the number of required subjects in high schools, as recommended by the 1984 National Commission on Excellence in Education.
Establish ties with teachers organizations, schools, and community interest groups to develop policies and programs that upgrade the status and skills of teachers.
Add computer support to the National Literacy Act of 1991, to provide research and help implement computer-aided instruction, including Internet instruction, in literacy programs.
Increase the nutritional value of school lunches -- a simple but essential change that has been shown to improve educational outcomes in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods.
Establish community centers of knowledge where parents can receive the latest understanding of health and nutrition for their children.
Create national apprenticeship programs by bringing together business, labor, and educational leaders to develop a system that offers training in a valuable skill for students who are not college bound.
Most of the educational programs promoted by the Natural Law Party have been successfully applied in diverse educational settings worldwide and have therefore been the subject of extensive scientific research. The results of such programs include the significantly improved educational outcomes mentioned above -- increased intelligence, creativity, motivation, academic performance, moral reasoning, psychological maturity, and social responsibility -- as well as a higher quality of life among students and faculty.
- The U.S. spends over $270 billion per year on public and elementary education, and expenditures per pupil, adjusted for inflation, have increased more than 25% over the past ten years. Yet America is falling behind in the knowledge race. National Educational Goals Panel statistics (see U.S News and World Report, April 1, 1996) included the following:
Among U.S. high school seniors, 60% could not meet suggested national educational standards; 76% spend less than five hours per week on homework, compared with 35% of seniors in Japan
U.S. high school students spend less than half as much class time studying math, history and science as do students in Japan, France, and Germany
Only 4.4% of U.S. students pass advanced placement exams, compared to 33% in France, Germany , Israel, and Japan
A comparison of Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Israel, Scotland, Canada, and the U.S. found that the U.S. has the shortest school year -- 62 days shorter than Japans
Results from the recent Third International Mathematics and Science Study showed that in 21 countries giving 12th-grade tests, U.S. high school seniors ranked 16th in general science knowledge, 19th in math, and last in physics (see The Wall Street Journal, February 25, 1998, p. A22; and U.S. News and World Report, March 9, 1998, p.14.).
- A 1994 survey found that at least one third of all school children have used an illicit drug other than marijuana or alcohol before graduation from high school. Furthermore, it is estimated that one out of four American high school students has a serious drinking problem.
- According to the National Center for Juvenile Justice, murder arrests among 10- to 17-year-olds have doubled since 1983, and the actual murder rate among 14-to 17-year-olds has risen 165% since 1984. Crimes in and around American public schools have increased significantly; well over 100,000 students now carry a gun to school. A recent U.S. Justice Department report found that juvenile arrests for gun charges have doubled since 1985, and gunshot wounds have become the second leading cause of death among high school students.
- Developmental psychologists have outlined specific, natural stages of psychological growth in children. The final stage, termed formal operations by Piaget, is associated with adolescence and represents the level of mental functioning in which abstract thinking becomes stabilized. Due to the inadequacies of our educational system, the majority of our students never achieve this stage of normal adolescent mental development across cognitive domains -- let alone their full potential. (For a more comprehensive treatment of this topic, see Alexander, Charles N., and Langer, Ellen J. (eds.), Higher Stages of Human Development: Perspectives on Adult Growth, New York: Oxford, 1990.)
- A series of recent studies has found a correlation between nutrition and academic performance (Personality and Individual Differences 4:343 & 361, 1991). These studies found that in several hundred schools in New York, there was a 16% gain in academic performance resulting from improved nutrition. The study suggested that many students experience malnutrition, too slight for clinical signs, but which nevertheless affects their intelligence and academic performance. This impairment can be corrected through improved nutrition.
- These prevention-oriented health care programs include Maharishi Ayur-Veda -- a natural system of health care that promotes balance in mind, body, and behavior and that has been shown to significantly reduce medical utilization by producing better health in its practitioners. These programs strengthen mind and body and reduce anxiety, thereby enhancing receptivity and the capacity for learning.
- Research confirms a marked improvement in student health and a reduction in drug abuse, alcohol use, and cigarette use through programs proposed by the Natural Law Party (Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly 11 (1/2,3/4), 1994; International Journal of Addictions 12:729, 1977; Bulletin on Narcotics 40:50, 1988; Journal of Addictions 14:147, 1981; 26:293, 1991; American Journal of Psychiatry 131:60, 1974).