Part Two: What Can Be Done to Fix It? Actions every parent can immediately take to salvage their child’s education

Paul White

By Paul D. White concludes its special series on the troubled state of public education, and the excellent alternatives available to parents

“Is It Time for YOUR Child to Drop Out of (traditional) School?

In this second installment of the Citizens Journal series on fixing our public schools, CJ continues its interview with local school reformer Paul White. 



Public schools in Ventura County are big business, also. Its 211 schools, with a collective budget of $2.14 billion, employ 6,563 teachers to annually teach 140,548 students, and graduate 9,551 of them.

While most Americans support the huge commitment of resources to K-12 education, a growing number feel something is seriously wrong with what – and how our children are being taught.

The word “educate” is defined as “providing academic, moral, and social instruction to children”.  In recent weeks we’ve seen evidence that local public schools are failing in all three areas. 

Paul White of Ventura has been a hands-on reformer in 9 public school districts and two private education programs.

A lifelong teacher and administrator, White’s transformed schools all share similar characteristics: record-breaking academic scores, campus environments free of drugs/gangs/racial issues/vandalism/violence, high moral values, total respect toward all adults, and mandatory parent involvement. Currently, White directs the non-profit Stronghold Institute in Ventura, operating a replicable model for school reform, and helping parents develop non-traditional education options for their children.

(CJ) Mr. White, a growing number of parents are dissatisfied with their children’s schools, but don’t know what to do or where to begin.  What  can parents do to fix their children’s schools and protect them from the situations you previously described?

You’re asking two different questions, so let’s take your first one. 

What can be done to fix our current school system? 

The answer is: Nothing…because our school districts’ top priority is employing adults rather than educating children. 

If you’ve ever gone to school leaders with a problem, you know they simply deny the facts, delay their responses, and refuse to take any meaningful action until you get frustrated and give up. 

So…rather than wasting your time (and sacrificing your child’s future) trying to fix a hopelessly broken school system that has NO desire to change, you move to the next question:

What can parents do to protect their children from the negative school issues that exist?

There’s only one way to do that: Vote with your feet. 

Withdraw your child from the existing system before they become a statistic in the many problem areas I mentioned in Part 1 of this series.

(CJ) What do parents do AFTER they withdraw their child from traditional school?

If your child is 8th grade or older, your starting point is accurately determining their education level.  The grade level they’re assigned to means nothing, because school tests are corrupted and inaccurate.  Start by taking your child to one of our local community colleges for a Math/English assessment test.  This is quick, easy, and free.

The assessment test will immediately tell you how close your child is to qualifying for college classes.  If your child tests at a college freshman level, or even one class below, you sign the one-page affidavit required by the State to declare yourself a homeschool.  You then declare your child to be graduated from high school and enroll them full-time at the local community college.  The classes they will take now MEAN something: they count toward a college diploma.  Depending on your economic situation, your child can also apply for free government grants that will pay every dollar of their community college costs, and more.

If your child tests several levels below college freshman level, you ALSO declare yourself a homeschool.  You then connect with a variety of strong teaching/tutoring programs that will have your child able to qualify for full-time college classes in a year or less. 

(CJ) How can that large amount of academic growth happen so quickly? 

The actual time spent on serious learning in traditional schools is so slight, that when students take the work seriously, they easily make several years of progress in a single year. 

(CJ) Wouldn’t a younger child have problems with social issues on a college campus?

No.  Since no one HAS to go to college, the atmosphere is more peaceful and mature. Our community colleges have far fewer race/gang/drug/violence issues than public schools.

(CJ) A child in college would have much more free-time than a child in secondary school?  How would a parent handle that? 

Children in college will have a LOT more time off-campus, but it shouldn’t be “free” of meaningful activity. 

  • Every student should work 10-15 hours/week at a part-time job, to acquire a work ethic, learn how to manage their money, and be able to help their families.
  • Children should also be involved with career-quality internships in whatever occupational areas interest them.
  • If they don’t have a drivers license, they need to be studying for it. They also need to be involved in weekly activities to both support their communities, and build their moral/spiritual values.
  • They need to be getting regular exercise. They need to be helping out around their homes with cooking, cleaning, babysitting, etc.
  • Last but not least, they’ll have homework for their college classes. Children who follow this plan will be busier, more productive, and happier than they’ve ever been.

(CJ) What a list!  Did you leave anything out?

Yes.  Parents don’t want to forget the most important step for supporting their children’s education in today’s world: regularly drug-testing them.  Dangerous drugs – prescriptions from the family medicine cabinet just as much as street drugs – are everywhere.  So is alcohol.  The facts I provided in Part 1 of this series show the seriousness of the problem. The greatest academic education is meaningless if a child’s health and safety are sacrificed to drug/alcohol abuse that can be prevented by due diligence on the part of parents. 

(CJ) Do you have any proof that the system you’re advocating works?

I implemented it with my first student when he was 14…he’s 57 today. His parents’ and his willingness to take the steps I described turned a troubled life into a wonderful one.  I’ve worked with hundreds of students since then with similar results, many of which have been chronicled in the media. 

(CJ) Why don’t ALL parents take these steps with their children?

There are typically three reasons.

1) Parents mistakenly trust what the schools tell them. 

They believe the schools when they’re told their child is doing great.  That is not true, even if their child is getting all “A’s” on their report card.  To be well prepared for a good future, children need ALL the component parts I mentioned in Part 1 of this series, and schools offer almost NONE of them.

2) Parents are looking for the easiest and cheapest way out. 

Traditional public school is 7 hours/day of teenage childcare, and it’s free (or at least it’s already been paid for through taxes). Parents need to be willing to invest in their child’s future at LEAST as much as they’d invest in a boat, car, vacation, furniture, or piece of jewelry.

3) Parents are afraid to try something new.

Parents worry about what COULD happen to their child if they try a radically different approach to education.

They should worry a lot more about what WILL happen to their child’s future if they DON’T. 

Prior Featured Article: Part One:  How Bad Is It? Uncovering the truth about what’s going on in our schools.


Mr. White is director of the Stronghold Institute and a Co-Director, a nonpartisan, non-profit foundation dedicated to providing facts and insightful solutions about key issues.You can email him at [email protected].

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