I can remember a time, around 50 years ago, when America had the best schools in the world. Students were able to graduate and pursue their dreams, whether it was going to college or entering the workforce.

Now, despite more and more money being spent on it, our education system is in shambles. That’s especially the case here in Oregon. Graduation rates have been stagnant. Even when children do graduate, they don’t have the skills that employers are looking for. Those who go on to college often have to take remedial courses that cover the same areas they should have been learning in high school.

The biggest change seems to be that bureaucrats, politicians and special interest unions have more power and control over the system than ever before. Meanwhile, parents, teachers and students have become less empowered.

With all of the advances we’ve seen in technology over the years, I think it’s important that our education system evolve beyond its current model into one that offers more choices for parents and students.

My family and I have always valued education, and I’ve developed a unique perspective on it throughout my life. After earning my PhD, I worked as an assistant professor at the University of California-San Diego from 1968 to 1972. In that role, I taught freshman to graduate level classes. I also worked with students at Stanford and Caltech.

When it came time for my children to become educated, my wife Laurelee and I decided to home school them.

I’m proud to say that all six of our children have advanced educations. Two have PhDs in nuclear engineering, and two are Doctors of Veterinary Medicine. One has a PhD in chemistry and another has a Masters in nuclear engineering.

 Homeschooling worked out so well for us that we decided to create our own curriculum to enhance opportunities for others wishing to take the same approach. Throughout the last 25 years, it has been used by more than 100,000 students all around the world.

The curriculum that my family developed isn’t limited just to homeschooling. It is also used as a supplement for students attending public schools.

That kind of flexibility is what our school system truly requires in order to be competitive in the global economy. Students all learn in their own way, have their own individual strengths, and deserve the best education that can be provided to them through whichever method works the best.

For far too long, we’ve seen a one-size-fits all approach taken to education. We’ve seen that approach result in our children falling behind their counterparts in other countries.

Oregon’s education system should be focused on students, parents and teachers in their communities, instead of lobbyists and officials in Salem Oregon and Washington D.C.