Tuesday, February 1, 2011

When a School District is a Prison Sentence

Veronique de Rugy makes an excellent case for privatizing education by comparing private sector manufacturing (where productivity has increased) with public education (where productivity is decreasing):
Since 1975, manufacturing output has more than doubled, while employment in the sector has decreased by 31 percent. […] These statistics reveal that the average American manufacturer is three times more productive today than in 1975 — a sure sign of economic progress.

That’s exactly the opposite of what the government does. With government, you get, at best, the same service at a higher cost over time.

Take K–12 education, for instance. For years, we have been throwing money at poorly performing schools, yet it has not moved the needle on performance. Over the last 40 years, the federal government has spent $1.8 trillion on education, and spending per pupil in the U.S. has tripled in real terms.
Despite the dramatic increase in spending, there has been no notable change in student outcomes. (National Review)
The message is not that government is inherently bad; it’s not. The problem is that government failures are rewarded with more money so they can continue to fail in bigger and more spectacular fashion; private sector failures dry up and blow away, freeing up capital and people for potentially successful projects. The same needs to happen in education.

Instead, we get stuff like this that really pisses me off…
An Ohio mother's attempt to provide her daughters with a better education has landed her behind bars.

Kelley Williams-Bolar was convicted of lying about her residency to get her daughters into a better school district.
"It's overwhelming. I'm exhausted," she said. "I did this for them, so there it is. I did this for them." (ABC News)

She should get a medal for exposing an unjust law!
A mother lies about her residency in order to get her kids out of a failed school and into a better district and now she’s going to jail. This is an outrage. Will her kids really be better off with their mother in jail?

School districts are in place not for students, but to protect real estate values, ghettoizing the poor in low-property tax areas that doom the underfunded schools to failure.

District boundaries should be erased and all schools should receive more equitable funding. I know I sound like a liberal on this, but if we’re going to publicly fund education, it is illegal and immoral to give the poor and minorities the crappy end of the stick.

The free-market answer is to privatize it all
Let entrepreneurial teachers form small business teaching companies and shop their services. Collapse the department of education and return the money to the states. This will result in the good teachers rising to the top and getting paid more. The bad ones will be looking for another line of work.

Every parent can go shopping, voucher in hand. The bad schools will lose business, forcing the teaching company that runs it to lose its contract, making way for a new cadre of teachers to try their hand.

True, the rich will take their voucher and put their own money on top of it and go shopping for elite private schools, and some teaching companies will specialize in that, but there is no way in a free enterprise system that such activity will consume the entire market. Someone will have to go teach the poor kids for the basic price of the voucher, and there are plenty of great teachers who do that right now. Going free market won’t change that. Teachers teach because they love it, and many enjoy the challenge of teaching “the unteachable.”

If we want to improve education in this country, we need to free teachers from their bureaucratic shackles and stop jailing parents for violating illegitimate rules and boundaries.

Here’s to you Ms. Williams-Bolar. You are a hero in my book, as are those teachers who tirelessly toil in our nation’s worst school systems


Divine Theatre said...

I feel for this woman. She really was trying to make a better future. Now the miscreant judge has decided to make an "example" of her. She will not be allowed to teach once she gets her degree.
What that judge is essentially telling black folk in a white school is "you don't belong here". Old fashioned racism at its best.
Where are the Lefties now? I haven't heard a word.
I home school for myriad reasons. First, I don't want my child to have to deal with Leftie imbeciles in positions of authority. If we want her to learn nonsense we merely read a chapter or two of Lewis Carroll.
Many teachers are also mothers to young children. If those women do not care enough to be home with their own children why in the world should I trust them with mine?
The reason Lefties will never agree to privatization of the school system is that they would actually have to earn their keep! Imagine that!?

Silverfiddle said...

They've turned competition into a bad thing, and it is killing us.

Divine Theatre said...

Well, Silverfiddle, the Lefties are the party of failure. Those were the kids who were picked last in gym class, who changed the grading curve with their abject inability to "get it". The only reason they have what they have is because they stole it from someone more deserving. Why should you expect these entitlists to change their ways now? If you make them earn their way through life they know they will actually fail and it frightens them
Give us school vouchers, take away affirmative action, close the public housing...let them work for what they have.

Leticia said...

That is just crazy. This mom wants the best for her kids and gets put in the slammer for it?

When our district started the Magnet Schools I was a bit tiffed, but now that I see this, I am glad. Our kids are allowed to go to any school they want. Right now our boys are in a Math and Science one. But they can change to any school they prefer after the year is over. No more rich schools or poor schools, they are all mixed in.

God bless that poor woman.

Jersey McJones said...

Well, that's what the property tax-funded school system gets you. I bet is some kid from another district was snuck into one of your local schools, you'd be less sympathetic.

As for privatization, it is just another silly, stupid, naive libertarian nonsense. Public education is at the foundation of western society. You guys really do want to go back to the Dark Ages, huh?


Divine Theatre said...

Jersey, I truly believe you are that stupid. What do you have against competition? How does forcing people to earn their keep amount to sending the school system into the Dark Ages?
Explain yourself FOR ONCE or forever be seen as the dolt you are.

Silverfiddle said...

@Jersey: I bet is some kid from another district was snuck into one of your local schools, you'd be less sympathetic.

WRONG! We actually have a program that allows parents to do this here. Also, we are in the second least desirable districts in town, so stop making assumptions about things you know nothing about. Do you always presume the worst of those you don't know personally?

The free market works, Jersey. The foundation? Our progressive foundation is crumbling. C'mon Jersey, defend this rotten education system...

Jersey McJones said...


When you talk about ending public education, what do you picture? It would HAVE to be worse than what we have now. What we have now is a local system (I can't imagine how a non-local system would work - "Oh, okay, I'll ship my kids off 80 miles to go to school!"). What are you talking about?

Most parents don't have a choice about where they send their kids to school. Most parents work, too. What kind of system do you imagine?

Really! Please describe it!


Silverfiddle said...

Jersey: One way it could work is for a school district to contract out the operation of each school. That would use the existing infrastructure.

Or we could just continue flushing our kids' and our country's future down the toilet by continuing your progressive way...

Shane Atwell said...

Excellent post Silver.

@Jersey Check your history. Education was mostly private well into the establishment of Western Civilization. Its only been public during the decline of Western Civilization. Need I mention that its publicly funded schools that have been attacking Western Civilization and refusing to teach its classics?

Always On Watch said...

As most who frequent my site know, I teach groups of homeschoolers.

Homeschooling isn't perfect -- not by a long shot. But as a teacher in that "system," I'm not overwhelmed with bureaucratic BS and can focus on my job, which is teaching children, all of whom are highly motivated as are their parents.

MK said...

What happened to that mother was similar to what obama did to the school voucher program. That's liberalism for you, if it's works, they'll scrap it, if you do the right thing, they'll screw you. If you're a failure and a parasite, they'll reward you.

"The message is not that government is inherently bad; it’s not."

Yes, that is true, the thing about government that people won't seem to get for various reasons, usually selfish and lazy, is that government is not designed to do the job we keep insisting that it should do.

It's like making a car whose wheels are directionally fixed and then expecting it to turn around a corner.

I think most people [apart from stupid liberals] know that government can't do most of what we give it to do, but the alternative, which is that we'll have to do it ourselves, is more unpalatable.

"Jersey, I truly believe you are that stupid. What do you have against competition? How does ...."

Divine, just be glad he didn't start waffling on about the byzantine empire and how the muslims are waiting to invade as soon as we fire the last useless public school teacher.

Maybe he's planning to end with that, that'll be good, ending with a joke. :)

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