Education Is Too Important for a Government Monopoly

It's time to let parents choose

The government-school establishment has said the same thing for decades: Education is too important to leave to the competitive market. If we really want to help our kids, we must focus more resources on the government schools.

But despite this mantra, the focus is on something other than the kids. When The Washington Post asked George Parker, head of the Washington, D.C., teachers union, about the voucher program there, he said: "Parents are voting with their feet. ... As kids continue leaving the system, we will lose teachers. Our very survival depends on having kids in D.C. schools so we'll have teachers to represent."

How revealing is that?

Since 1980, government spending on education, adjusted for inflation, has nearly doubled. But test scores have been flat for decades.

Today we spend a stunning $11,000 a year per student—more than $200,000 per classroom. It's not working. So when will we permit competition and choice, which works great with everything else? I'll explore those questions on my Fox Business program tonight night at 8 and 11 p.m. Eastern time (and again Friday at 10 p.m.).

The people who test students internationally told us that two factors predict a country's educational success: Do the schools have the autonomy to experiment, and do parents have a choice?

Parents care about their kids and want them to learn and succeed—even poor parents. Thousands line up hoping to get their kids into one of the few hundred lottery-assigned slots at Harlem Success Academy, a highly ranked charter school in New York City. Kids and parents cry when they lose.

Yet the establishment is against choice. The union demonstrated outside Harlem Success the first day of school. And President Obama killed Washington, D.C.'s voucher program.

This is typical of elitists, who believe that parents, especially poor ones, can't make good choices about their kids' education.

Is that so? Ask James Tooley about that. Tooley is a professor of education policy who spends most of every year in some of the poorest parts of Africa, India, and China. For 10 years, he's studied how poor kids do in "free" government schools and—hold on—private schools. That's right. In the worst slums, private for-profit schools educate kids better than the government's schools do.

Tooley finds as many as six private schools in small villages. "The majority of (poor) schoolchildren are in private school, and these schools outperform government schools at a fraction of the teacher cost," he says.

Why do parents with meager resources pass up "free" government schools and sacrifice to send their children to private schools? Because, as one parent told the BBC, the private owner will do something that's virtually impossible in America's government schools: replace teachers who do not teach.

As in America, the elitist establishment in those countries scoffs at the private schools and the parents who choose them. A woman who runs government schools in Nigeria calls such parents "ignoramuses."

But that can't be true. Tooley tested kids in both kinds of schools, and the private-school students score better.

To give the establishment its best shot, consider Head Start, which politicians view as sacred. The $166 billion program is 45 years old, so it's had time to prove itself. But guess what: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently found no difference in first-grade test results between kids who went through Head Start and similar kids who didn't. President Obama has repeatedly promised to "eliminate programs that don't work," but he wants to give Head Start a billion more dollars. The White House wouldn't explain this contradiction to me.

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  • ||

    The people who test students internationally told us that two factors predict a country's educational success: Do the schools have the autonomy to experiment, and do parents have a choice?

    I'll just toss this in there: out-of-pocket tuition expense. Any time you have to actually stick your hand in your pocket and pay the bill, you become much more acutely aware of the quality of what you're getting.

  • ||

    If you own a home, you pay thousands of dollars a year for 'free' public schools. These taxpayers should be allowed to opt out of that tax and apply it to schools of their choice.

  • Ska||

    It really would be much fairer for people who put their kids through private schools to get some sort of tax deduction or credit (at least on your state return). It might also be an incentive to enroll your child in private school, freeing up resources in public schools.

  • ||

    No it woudln't.

    There is no reason for ME to pay to educate YOUR children.

  • ||

    Who paid to educate you Bill?

  • bob||

    Don't even start talking about what you pay for that you don't want. Do you think my health insurance premiums go up 20% a year because I run several times a week and eat properly ? No, they go up because most of the rest of my countrymen don't and I am subsidizing their sloth.

  • ||

    They don't need no education.

  • ||

    Okay, you assholes- why did you split this story into two pages? It annoys the shit out of me, to click through to "page two" to read one more paragraph.

  • RCTL||

    P Brooks, "Okay, you assholes- why did you split this story into two pages? It annoys the shit out of me" No shit! It pissed me off when I have to turn a page on a book too. Fucking Shakespeare's sonnets should have written in Haiku.;-)

  • Joel||

    Hell, I'm just glad there wasn't a plug for his show below the fold, like in all his other Reason pieces.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    It looks like the software splits the article after a certain number of words, a bunch of articles keep getting split with only about a paragraph on the second page.

  • ||

    Probably Stossel's best work since joining FOX. But he still has to finger wag at Obama. So it looks like his strings are still being pulled by his fascist puppet masters.

  • ||

    I agree, although as I think over potential topics it gets tough; Obama has just continued Bush's policies, so most topics will end up hitting Obama at least a little.

  • ||

    I say he has to do "Let's open the borders and let everyone who wants come to America" and "Let's make meth, crack, and heroin as legal as booze" to establish his independence and integrity.

  • Some Guy||

    Hell, I'd settle for a show about all the waste in defense spending. (Not just the obvious pork, but uber-expensive weapons for theoretical conflicts with non-existent superpower enemies that are only marginally better than what we have now for 1/10th the price.)

  • ||

    Stossel is righ wing fascist who supports militarism.

  • ||

    a* right*

  • Old Mexican||

    But he still has to finger wag at Obama.

    Why do you say that? Is there someone else to wag the finger at? Did the US suddenly obtain 2 presidents while I slept?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    If you don't think that George W. Bush is the reason Gitmo is still open even after Obama closed it, the successful D.C. school voucher program is ending even after Obama vowed to do anything that has been demonstrably successful in educating the children, and medical marijuana is still illegal even after Obama said he would respect states' wishes in the matter, then you do need to wake up.

  • ||

    Back when George Bush was the president, John Stewart constantly hammered him. He often ignored any liberal stupidity, and when he was called on this, he simply stated that the GOP were the ones in power, and they deserved the heat. Of course, now that obama's in power, if you resist him, your just an obstructionist getting in the way of the great plan.

  • ||

    Back when George Bush was the president, John Stewart constantly hammered him. He often ignored any liberal stupidity, and when he was called on this, he simply stated that the GOP were the ones in power, and they deserved the heat. Of course, now that obama's in power, if you resist him, your just an obstructionist getting in the way of the great plan.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    On a rare occasion when I turned on Stewart, he was going off on how Bush used to steamroll over Congress to get things he wanted. Stewart then pivoted to Obama "correctly" setting an agenda and letting Congress do their job. Stewart then noted that Congress fucked it up as they always do, thus inadvertently showing that Bush was a faster learner than Obama.

  • Some Guy||

    It's funny that you see an intentional poke at Obama as unintentional. Is your belief that Stewart would never attack Obama that sacred that you have to ignore it when you see it?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Dude, did you even see the show I'm referencing?

    It was unintentional. The poke was at Bush and Congress, and a mildly negative observation that Obama needs to use his awesomeness more directly to take control of his awesome legislative agenda.

  • Contrariwise||

    The only "awesomeness" one can attribute to 0bama is how awesomely incoherent he has been in all things. Being awesomely incoherent will not gain him control of anything, and can only indicate that what you so charitably refer to as his legislative agenda is awesomely, staggeringly incoherent as well.

    As this awesome incoherence of his has not gifted him with the least bit of his role model Jimmy Carter's occasional capacity for humility and restraint, his only hope for being kindly remembered now is to fail so thoroughly and spectacularly at everything he proposes to do that he can be mercifully forgotten and written off as a figurehead and political lightweight rather than loathed as an even worse error in the judgment of the American electorate than the aforementioned Jimmy Carter.

  • Jimmy 'Crack' Corn||

    "Why do you say that? Is there someone else to wag the finger at? Did the US suddenly obtain 2 presidents while I slept?"

    Thanks OM, you said it better than I would have.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    And Obama should be immune from finger-wagging... right?

    Fuck him. Fuck McCain, had he won. Fuck 'em all.

  • Draco||

    Maybe the public school system is just the world's largest example of the broken window fallacy? "We need to impose public schools on our children so that we'll have high paying jobs for teacher's union members." That "helps the economy" more than if these were relatively low paying private teaching jobs.

    (I'm always surprised when I have to explain to people that the average private school teacher salary in any district is typically well below the public school teacher salary. They just assume that since private schools are better, their teachers must be paid more.)

  • Alice Bowie||

    Not all private schools beat out public schools.

    Yes, in NYC, where P.S. 52 has math/reading scores at (32%/33%), the public schools are awful.

    The local catholic schools are not much better at all.

  • prolefeed||

    If they are "not better", then why are parents paying out of their pockets to send their kids to Catholic schools?

    Perhaps their definition of "better" includes things besides average test scores -- things like problem kids getting kicked out of school, a safer learning environment, fewer drugs, less statism in the curriculum, teaching values the parents want, etc.

    And, if the kids attending the Catholic schools start off below those in the public schools, due to them being kids from families where English is not the primary language or whatever, then pulling even on average scores would indicate the Catholic schools are doing a better job of educating.

  • Alice Bowie||

    I'd rather have my child taught statism that catholism any day.

  • skr||

    pfft, having had 12 years of Catholic schooling while not being Catholic, I think this is misguided. Statism seems much more damaging to me. Catholicism is easy to laugh off. "This cracker is what again?"

  • Some Guy||

    9 years of Catholic school, and I was an atheist by 1st grade. My school lied to the state about their curriculum, claiming we did all kinds of math that was never covered.

    But at least they didn't try to put creationism in science class.

  • Joel||

    They're both religions, so the main question is how evil are their gods? Catholicism hasn't killed people in mass quantities lately, so...

  • ||

    so...what?

  • Jordan||

    Then make that choice. Let other make their own choices.

  • ||

    THen you don't have to send your kids there.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    There are a shit ton of non-catholic students in catholic schools. The religion is a small part of the curriculum.

  • ||

    still, catholic schools are jails run by catholic scumbags and they follow state regulations anyway.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Like that's some choice, Alice.

  • ||

    Good for you. Worked well for Ukrainians. Only about 30 or 40 million of them had to be sacrificed on the altar of the godless state.

  • Bowie Knife||

    That's why we're hoping and--dare I say it--praying that you are both sterile and ineligible to adopt children, Alice.

  • ||

    In my experience (two years in a great Catholic HS and two in a decent urban public HS '90-'94) the private school provided far superior guidance services for kids headed to college. People who would be destined for a state school after 4 years of public HS would have no trouble getting into a private university of choice coming from that catholic school. In the public schools guidance counselors were disciplinarians or dealing with kids who had serious family issues. Add that to better sports and extracurricular programs, compared to NE urban schools, and your likelihood of getting into a decent school, and on a scholarship went through the roof.

    As to some of your other points. Way more drugs at the catholic school; coke and heroin were norms by sophomore year. Fights were essentially sanctioned by the school and usually not broken up until after someone was bleeding. The education part is kind of a toss up, there were certainly higher standards at the catholic institution, but my peers were some of the most ignorant fools I've ever met. Public school kids weren't as well learned but they were certainly smarter.

  • ||

    The private schools that are better have gigantic tuition. Those that are cheap, are for a reason. Lousy math and science.

    There is not guarantee that vouchers will control spending on education or limit it. Welfare checks went away and education spending was the substitute. Now we come full circle back to vouchers (welfare checks).

    Imagine what a politician will promise to do to a voucher check in order to get elected.

    The idea that parent choice will magically improved education is also unfounded. It will separate the bad from the good, and prevent the bad from interfering with the education of the good. That much is known.

    But there is not one scintilla of proof that vouchers and choice will make bad kids learn.

    That is conservative baloney. They slung that for eight years, and look where it got us.

    The REAL solution is tough for us to face.

    END UNIVERSAL EDUCATION, and stop the looting of taxpayers to pay for the education of children that do not belong to them.

  • GenericBrand||

    I'm always surprised when I have to explain to people that the average private school teacher salary in any district is typically well below the public school teacher salary. They just assume that since private schools are better, their teachers must be paid more.

    And homeschool teachers make EVEN less but can be just as competitive, if not more so!

  • Happy Time Flavors||

    I definitely believe that teachers unions and bullshit educational "standards" are part of cause of public education failure. However,neither market choice or government monopolies can do anything to fix the total lack of support many poor children receive from their families. It's easy to say that kids going to school in rich suburban districts get a better education because there is more money to spend on them, but really, its because kids who have parents that succeeded in school (and beyond), will also succeed, and I think partly because they are expected to. When there is no expectation for a child to succeed among the people closest to the child, they probably won't.

    I went to a public school where there was a broad range of income levels represented. The kids with professional, educated parents went on to college. The poor kids dropped out, stopped out, flunked out and stayed poor. We all had the same teachers, some great, some not.

    I think charter schools can help to break the poverty cycle by becoming an environment where much is expected of the kids. But start them young, they need to be able to internalize the expectations.

    Just my 2 cents.

  • ||

    I agree with you, but I'd rather take my chances with school choice, which emphasizes freedom as well as helping to contain costs, over a monolithic public school system with an ever increasing appetite for money, all other things being equal. The current system doesn't work. Why not allow for some new ideas?

  • Happy Time Flavors||

    I agree with you as well, I would love to be able to choose among competing schools to get the best quality at the best price. I'm saying that it may not do any good for the kids whose parents just dont care. Right now, if there are kids who go to charter schools or private schools because the parents are pushing for it, they may have the familial support they need to succeed. What about the ones who do not?

  • Jordan||

    Start a charity? Seriously, why should we hold back the good kids just because the screwups can't get their act together? Yeah, it's not fair that their parents are shitbags, but it's not the other kids' fault either.

  • ||

    You aren't arguing that the public school does anything for the kids of lazy parents either. Basically, you want us to pay a 12,000 dollar a year babysitting price tag for the unwanted children of stupid parents. A private voucher system would allow schools to kick out students who are very poor performers or discipline problems. In public schools, those kids pull the other kids down, because they can't be removed. Now even the "bad" parents would have extra incentive to actually rear their children.

    Plus, private school is cheaper overall.

  • ||

    If you're not getting the support from the parents, then it will be more difficult to educate the kids regardless of whether the school is public or private. However, people who spend their money sending kids to private school are likely to support their kids adequately. I would think this is especially true for low income families that require parents to sacrifice more to afford the education since they obviously see the benefit of doing so.

    I've heard that some (most?) charter schools offer tuition assistance for low income families, so there are ways to help the less fortunate without government intervention.

    There'll always be marginal cases of people that can't be helped by market forces, but the number of people in that margin will always be lower than the number of those not helped by the government solution.

  • Mad Max||

    And in this case, the kids we're talking about - the ones we're assuming wouldn't be helped under the proposed new system - aren't being helped under the existing system, either.

    So what it comes down to is, 'what if school choice doesn't help *every* kid, but only *some* kids?'

    In other words, what if it fails to bring about the millennium?

  • zoltan||

    Wow, Mad Max, I'm surprised you didn't mention some of the great Catholic school systems, such as in New Orleans, where many poor families do pay and get great educations for their children.

    You dropped the Catholic ball.

  • Mad Max||

    Why should I play the Catholic card, when other commenters (like your own good self) are doing it so well?

  • ||

    catholics are assholes.

  • m||

    Nick, a charter school is an "experimental public school" and is tuition free.

  • Charter School Supporter||

    Yes, charter schools are tuition-free and part of the public school system. The only difference is they are allowed to break some of the "rules" required of other schools in the system. For example, a charter school may specialize in educating specific types of students -- gifted, special-needs, those with interests in specific subject areas such as art or science, etc. -- whereas general public schools are required to provide an education for any student who happens to live in the district. Some charter schools also are allowed to hire teachers who have educational backgrounds different from those of most certified teachers. Comprehensive public schools, by trying to meet the needs of a variety of students, end up focusing on the "average" or on whatever group they are required to focus on by law, and the result is a system that is mediocre and boring for the most highly-motivated students.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Happy Time Flavors,

    However,neither market choice or government monopolies can do anything to fix the total lack of support many poor children receive from their families.

    If that's their choice, HTF, what do you propose to do? Continue to enslave them, which is what compulsory education amounts to?

    What if the kids DON'T want that kind of education? Education is a PERSONAL CHOICE: One chooses to be educated. You cannot make a person BE educated.

    It's easy to say that kids going to school in rich suburban districts get a better education because there is more money to spend on them[...]

    You really think education is a question of money?

    [...]but really, it[']s because kids who have parents that succeeded in school (and beyond), will also succeed[...]

    Couldn't that be because of genetics?

    When there is no expectation for a child to succeed among the people closest to the child, they probably won't.

    Probably, but not always the case.

    Nathanael Greene, one of the most successful generals in the American Revolutionary War, was totally self-educated, since his father (a Quaker) did not believe in literary (i.e. intellectual) accomplishments. So even with the discouragement from his father, let alone a lack of encouragement, Greene ws able to not only learn but excell in what he proposed himself to do.

    Again, Education is a Personal Choice. NOBODY can make you educated, unless you want to.

    But start them young, they need to be able to internalize the expectations.

    Maybe, I would guess that encouraging parents to be MORE encouraging would be a good thing. But remember ONE thing: Things that are obtained for free are seldom valued MORE than those that are obtained through toil and moil. A "free" education could be just as stultifying as lack of encouragement. And putting kids in these veritable prisons Americans call with a morbid sense of humor "schools", does not help.

  • Happy Time Flavors||

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying we need to "fix" the current system. I think it's a bloated, ridiculous mess. I support choice in schools. I'm saying that its not completely the fault of the educational system that kids aren't learning.

    And I don't believe education is a question of money. I believe it's a question of motivation, among students and parents.

    Any reform you make, whether its throwing new money and new guidelines at the public system, or privatizing the whole thing-how much will it matter in the face of total apathy or even outright hostility towards the idea of education?

    You are right, education is a personal choice, and right now there are many children and parents who just don't give a fuck.

    So I support school choice, as it will save money and provide innovative options for students, but I don't believe it will "fix" education completely. It will certainly save a lot of money and kids that are motivated to learn will receive a better education, but right now the problem in education isn't the kids who are motivated, its the ones who aren't. Is there a way to fix this?

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Happy Times Flavor,

    but right now the problem in education isn't the kids who are motivated, its the ones who aren't. Is there a way to fix this?

    The real question is: Is it a problem, and for whom?

    There is an excellent advise my father gave me a long time ago regarding other people's business:

    "Mind your own business, because sure as hell is hot, nobody else will mind YOURS."

  • Happy Time Flavors||

    Isn't it a problem for everyone? We do spend (waste) a lot of money on social programs for people who cant take care of themselves and their own children, people who weren't educated or refused to be educated. I guess, and I hope you will agree, it's about more than just education. It's really about poverty, and undoing the damage of the Great Society reforms. Will motivating people to learn fix the poverty problem? Not completely, but it will certainly give people more options and opportunities, and that will certainly help.

    Alas, we are entrenched!

  • William Clinton||

    Re: Happy Time Flavors,

    We do spend (waste) a lot of money on social programs for people who cant take care of themselves and their own children[...]

    First, let's get pass this "we" business here, Kimosabi. "We" don't spend anything like that - it is the government that pillages and rapes our wallets to give money to the politically useful (i.e. the useful imbeciles.)

    The fact that the government socializes the supposed costs of not having an education does not mean a) that the socializing is NOT immoral and b) that the problem should be COMPOUNDED by a "let's do something here!" mentality instead of simply letting people pay for their own stupidity with THEIR wallets.

    It's really about poverty, and undoing the damage of the Great Society reforms. Will motivating people to learn fix the poverty problem?

    Totally agree on the first part, I don't know if the second is necessary. Just let people be free to open businesses and produce. Once they see they need to learn the skills of their grandparents (Readin', 'Ritting, 'Rithmatic) to be more productive, the vicious circle of ignorance will end by itself.

    Right now, you have functional illiterates who manage to finish High School and yet are totally incapable of understanding a bank statement!

    Not completely, but it will certainly give people more options and opportunities, and that will certainly help.

    Let's not place the cart before the horse. First let people live their lives free. Get rid of ALL regulations (we don't need more than "Shall Not Kill, Shall Not Steal, Shall Not Defraud"); 99.9999% of regulations are nothing more than market-limiting schemes to protect special interests. Get rid of mandates and taxes, let people open up a school in a fucking SHACK if they so want it - with current regulations, you would have to build a pharaonic monstrosity just to harbor kids.

    Letting people be FREE to pursuit their interests will ENTICE people to increase their knowledge. As it is right now (and you DID hit the nail in the head), with all these social programs, people will ask themselves: What's the point? Get rid of the programs - nothing cools your head like a death sentence, and once Welfare queens and kings realize they will have to WORK, then they will have to get the skills. And if not, so be it - it's their business, not ours.

  • ||

    All John does is get the decent students away from those that really suck.

    But John fully supported the Bush's spending binge on NCLB. So did Coulson.

    And they support vouchers. They are pro-big spending.

    If we are going to be honest about this, the only answer is this: The USA cannot afford to educate everyone from around the world.
    Therefore, the USA will no longer pay for the education of anyone.

    That is the only fair and decent solution.

    Adios to all the illegal from the south. No more free health care and education. Perhaps they will go back to where they belong.

  • ||

    I think charter schools can help to break the poverty cycle by becoming an environment where much is expected of the kids. But start them young, they need to be able to internalize the expectations.

    Schooling is the favorite solution to too many problems today. It has had disappointing results and I bet it will continue to fail us because we expect way too much from it whether private or Government schools. If education is the solution to a problem that problem must be a lack of some knowledge and we should ask what is the efficient way to get that knowledge to the people who it would benefit.

  • ||

    President Obama has repeatedly promised to "eliminate programs that don't work," but he wants to give Head Start a billion more dollars. The White House wouldn't explain this contradiction to me.


    C'mon John. You're a smart guy. You know why Head Start (and the entire failed Department of Education) won't receive the budget ax.

    Look for the union label.

  • zoltan||

    But it says "Made in the U.S.A."!!!

  • ||

    As did the Chevy Vega.

  • ||

    Draco wrote:
    "(I'm always surprised when I have to explain to people that the average private school teacher salary in any district is typically well below the public school teacher salary. They just assume that since private schools are better, their teachers must be paid more.)"

    Not that I'm doubting you, but what's the metric you're using to determine that private schools are better than public?

  • Draco||

    I'm not even claiming they are in this post. I'm merely reporting that most of the people I meet assume they are. This is why, as per the article, people stand in line to get into charter schools, and are devastated when they can't get in.

  • PersonalJustice||

    I don't disagree with the main thrust of the article. But when it comes to comparing students in public schools versus those in charter schools there is likely a bit of selection bias at work.

    The most important factor in student success remains parental involvement. If they are putting in the effort to choose where their children are schooled, then it is likely they would be more involved in general.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Personal Justice,

    You make a good point. Which is why it is pointless to argue in favor or against Public Schooling by relying on pragmatic fallacies. It is best to argue against them on totally moral and ethical grounds - it is IMMORAL, UNETHICAL, to aggressively coerce a person into sitting in a chair for 6-8 hours listening to some overpaid and underschooled nitwit ranting about how great is the State and how we are blessed to have as president Barrack Hussein Obama, Hmm, Hmm, Hmm!

  • ||

    OM, sorry, but please don't include me in the ranks of statist Obama cheer-leaders when you talk about teachers.

  • Old Mexican||

    Granted. You are excluded from that club.

  • ||

    Thanks. 'Cause really, I can't stand the lying d-bag that our president is.

    And I disagree that all public schools are bad, and that only privates or charters are solutions. I have taught in all three with varying degrees of success and satisfaction.

    Money only matters so much; the motivation provided by parents and peers is second to none when it comes to getting a student to learn or behave. Teachers are needed, as long as there is stuff to be learned. Sorry, but not all people are successful autodidacts and need some guidance.

    As far as failing public schools, there are many and I won't lie, unions are part of the problem. They see the idea of school choice for what it really is: a direct attack on their money and a finger wagging at their failure to deliver.

  • ||

    When charter school students selected by lottery are compared to public school students who also entered the lottery but lost, charter school students still do better.

    Next public school system apologist.

  • PersonalJustice||

    I'm far from an apologist for public schools. I wasn't criticizing the point of the article, merely how he supported it. I was merely trying to put across the point that there is more to a successful education that the teachers and the curriculum.

    Having parents that value education and are involved in the education is one thing. Another thing is the quality of the students as a group. A single student sent to a charter school is more likely to be a willing, eager to learn student. Because of this, when at a charter school, the student is more likely to be surrounded by other students who are also willing, eager to learn students. This also matters.

  • skr||

    Really not an article, more of an abstract for the next show.

  • m||

    PJ, "the student is more likely to be surrounded by other students who are also willing, eager to learn students. This also matters." You hit the nail right on the head with your insight. The difference between a private and public school is the of ability to resolve behavior issues.

  • ||

    Charter school student who entered lottery but failed selection returned to a school where his or her bad habits were allowed to continue.

    Is that the teacher's fault.

    Have you any idea where this is headed? To institutionalize this kind of victimhood for irresponsible adults and their children. We are a sick nation.

    The only solution is simple. Public education should be abolished, and paretns should PAY or the education of their own children.

    Better yet, let the CATO institute pay for it.

  • Mad Max||

    So - involved parents seem to think choice is a good idea for their kids, since they're willing to make sacrifices for getting their kids into a school of choice.

    If the involved parents, whose involvement admittedly helps their kids, want choice, what is the basis for denying it to them? Do we tell them that the fact they are so involved proves they don't need choice, and that their efforts to get their kids into a decent school are all wasted efforts?

    Are we saying that we're dealing with involved parents who will help their kids succeed, but that these parents are too stupid to know that choice doesn't work?

  • Mad Max||

    The idea of status-quo supporters is to take the energy of these involved parents - energy which they are using to try to get their kids into decent schools - and divert that energy into fixing the mediocre school to which their kids are assigned against their parents' will.

    Of course, experience of involved parents trying to deal with administrators at mediocre schools indicates that these administrators may well try to brush off complaints - especially if they think the aggrieved parents have nowhere else to go.

    A theoretical willingness to work with involved parents often degenerates into a de facto view that these parents are a nuisance and should just shut up and accept whatever is being done to their kids.

    Which is the very reason so many of these involved parents want to get their kids in a different school.

  • Mad Max||

    And furthermore - the more money the parents have, the better able they are to escape from a mediocre school - if necessary, but paying private-school tuition or by moving to another home in another school district.

    Even poor parents have been known to use these methods of school choice, although of course it's tougher if you're poor.

  • Mad Max||

    if necessary, *by* paying

  • Mad Max||

    So, the idea of the status-quo supporters is to make things as aggravating and difficult as possible for parents who want to change schools, in the hopes that they will lie back and enjoy the school the government assigned them to.

  • ||

    The number of children a family has makes a difference, too. Also, single/divorced parents. If you have only one or two, you can focus attention more. I'd be curious to know the family makeup of those in private versus those in public schools.

  • Thomas||

    First we need to eradicate the notion that children are every citizen's responsibility.

  • ||

    It takes a village! Don't you know that???

  • ||

    What annoys me is taking this adage and twisting it to mean it takes socialism. Either that, or the people who invoke it are too stupid to know any better.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    It DOES mean socialism, DLM. It was Hillary who coined the phrase "it takes a village", after all.

  • ||

    As long as SS is a ponzi scheme, they are the responsibility of every citizen who wants to retire on the dole.

  • Jimmy 'Crack' Corn||

    "First we need to eradicate the notion that children are every citizen's responsibility'

    Agreed, but we need to promote the notion that the education of children may be to the benefit of all. Even libertarians would like a benefit.

  • ||

    If the purpose of Head Start is to help kids who are behind their peers in one aspect or another (such as my son and his speech problem) to catch up prior to entering school, then equivalent outcomes would indicate the program's success.

    If the program's mission is to give average kids a competitive edge, then equivalent outcomes indicate a failure.

    So, what's the mission of Head Start? I'll go look it up...

  • ||

    Ah. I see the answer is neither. The program is only for "economically disadvantaged children and families".

    So, mission fail.

  • ||

    what's the mission of Head Start?

    Publicly financed babysitting.

  • ||

    Bingo.

    Headstart is like Medicaid. When the middle class complains about there being no government-run daycare, if they had any honesty, they add for me.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Which is why Hillary wanted universal pre-kindergarten. Get 'em one year earlier, makes the indoctrination much easier.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Which is why Hillary wanted universal pre-kindergarten. Get 'em one year earlier, makes the indoctrination much easier.

  • ||

    To be fair to the Obama administration on this he's putting our money where his mouth is.*

    President Obama is leaning hard on the nation's schools, using the promise of more than $4 billion in federal aid -- and the threat of withholding it -- to strong-arm the education establishment to accept more charter schools and performance pay for teachers.

    * Standard libertarian disclaimer - The feds shouldn't be involved in education at all, but if they are ...

  • zoltan||

    Except in Washington, D.C. apparently.

  • ||

    Sidwell is a private school, not charter. The Chosen One thinks this makes a difference. He is wrong of course, but I guess that's the thinking.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Typical liberal elitism. It's okay of they send their kids to expensive private schools... on the taxpayers' dime... but God forbid Joe Average and his lovely wife get to choose how their tax dollars are spent on educating THEIR kids.

  • ||

    Yeah, I smell a head fake, here. Watch him cave on this as part of a "fiscal austerity" program (gotta save that $4BB!), so he can say (privately) he gave the unions something after all.

  • Alice Bowie||

    Hey guys,

    In 2012, when most of the pesty liberals/progressives (including the president) are voted out of office, perhaps a constitutional amendment can be passed outlawing government schools altogether along with the mandate that children must go to schools.

    You can go ahead and eliminate all regulations and pass a law outlawing all tax-sponsored programs for the poor, sick, cripple, and elderly altogether.

    Why should person A pay for the education of person B's children anyway?

    Why should person A pay for the medical treatment and retirement of Person B's parents anyway. Person B should pay for their own parents and/or kids.

    As far as people that have the mis-fortune to be born to poor/ignorant parents, we can use them as garbage men/cafeteria works/soldiers.

    That's the america that would make you conservatives happy.

  • Thomas||

    Aside from the mandate that children go to school, that's my idea of utopia.

  • ||

    What's wrong with that scenario?

    What gives person B the right to take money from person A to pay for anything?

    What gives persons C - Z the right to vote to take money from person A to pay for anything for person B?

    And who is stopping you, and those who believe as you do, from paying for anything for person B out of your own pockets?

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Hell, Alice... why work for a living? Just live off the dole! It's so simple, it's a wonder millions of people haven't thought of it alr- uh, wait...

  • Alice Bowie||

    Hey guys,

    In 2012, when most of the pesty liberals/progressives (including the president) are voted out of office, perhaps a constitutional amendment can be passed outlawing government schools altogether along with the mandate that children must go to schools.

    You can go ahead and eliminate all regulations and pass a law outlawing all tax-sponsored programs for the poor, sick, cripple, and elderly altogether.

    Why should person A pay for the education of person B's children anyway?

    Why should person A pay for the medical treatment and retirement of Person B's parents anyway. Person B should pay for their own parents and/or kids.

    As far as people that have the mis-fortune to be born to poor/ignorant parents, we can use them as garbage men/cafeteria works/soldiers.

    That's the america that would make you conservatives happy.

  • ||

    I'll say it:

    That America would certainly make me happier than the one being constructed in Washington.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Alice Bowie,

    In 2012, when most of the pesty liberals/progressives (including the president) are voted out of office[...]

    When pigs fly and donuts rain from the sky . . .

    are voted out of office, perhaps a constitutional amendment can be passed outlawing government schools altogether along with the mandate that children must go to schools.

    That already exists: It's called the 13th Amendment, which officially abolished and continues to prohibit slavery and involuntary servitude, which SHOULD include placing you in a school against your will.

    You can go ahead and eliminate all regulations and pass a law outlawing all tax-sponsored programs for the poor, sick, cripple, and elderly altogether.

    No need to "pass laws". The Constitution does not give authority to the Federal Government to create and manage such programs to begin with.

    Why should person A pay for the education of person B's children anyway?

    Indeed, why should person A pay for the education of someone else's child? Or anything else that child would need?

    As far as people that have the mis-fortune to be born to poor/ignorant parents, we can use them as garbage men/cafeteria works [sic]/soldiers.

    I don't know about "using" them. And what's with this "we" business, Kimosabi? "We" don't use people - YOU may want to use the money that belongs to someone else, like all thieves with no spine (i.e. sociaists). I don't.

  • Jersey Patriot||

    While we're at it, we can abolish the Armed Forces, too.

  • Kamikaze||

    Re: Jersey Patriot,

    That's the reason for the preamble of the 2nd Amendment - every citizen was expected to defend his country with his weapons. There is NO provision on the Constitution for a standing army, only for a navy:

    "To raise and support armies, but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years;

    To provide and maintain a navy;

    To make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces;

    To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions;

    To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the states respectively, the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;"

    So the Armed Forces are already ILLEGAL in their current form except the Navy, the National Guard and the Reserve.

  • ||

    If you own a home, you pay thousands of dollars a year for 'free' public schools. These taxpayers should be allowed to opt out of that tax and apply it to schools of their choice.

    I, as a childless homeowner, would be delighted to just keep that money in my pocket.

  • Mad Max||

    I would support a law saying you have to pay for education, but could choose whether to give your money to the local government schools or to a local private or home school. If you had kids, you could give the money to your kids' school if you wanted.

    Of course, I'm politically impure, so of course I would support such coercion.

  • Jimmy 'Crack' Corn||

    racist!

  • ||

    Education Is Too Important for a Government Monopoly

    Ah yes and that is why most of the valuable education is not done on the government monopoly schools. Schooling is not equal to education. School is more of a test too see who gets the good jobs. The jobs then do the important education for work. The family, friends, Magazines, TV, Radio, Internet, churches, the school of hard knocks etc. educate people about the important non-job stuff.

    BTW most education is free (even in prestigious universities) it is credentials that costs the big bucks.

  • ||

    Mark Twain once said he never let schooling interfere with his education.

  • ||

    first sensible comment

  • GenericBrand||

    Damn! and I had just finished my design for the Education RR system in my Government Monopoly boardgame (patent pending...)

    It was gonna be Head Start RR, NCLB RR, DofEd RR, and Mandatory Kindergarten RR. There goes 3 months work down the tube

  • ||

    School is more of a test too see who gets the good jobs.

    For many, it is more of a place to park their kids during the day.

  • ||

    Agreed. But it's almost necessary given the cost of living and the two-income households that are prevalent in my neck of NJ.

    Of course, if perhaps property taxes on .25 acres didn't amount to over $11,000 a year, on top of any other debts for education, automobiles, mortgages and otherwise, perhaps the two-income household would be less necessary.

    Not that I pity everyone with debt, some of it is unavoidable and you do what you have to. I get a minor arrhythmia, though, every time I open my tax bill. I would much prefer to home school my child, but have little alternative but to work. Most people are in this position and public schools offer a structured care situation where children can be left (reasonably) safe while mom and dad work.

  • Johnny Longtorso||

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Reason SO needs to do a story about this. How in the flying hell does a school have the right to snoop outside its walls?

  • Tony||

    Can people who have their own TV shows stop whining about "elites"?

  • Old Mexican||

    Can people who have their own TV shows stop whining about "elites"?

    It's meaningless to differentiate a person for having a TV Show. Anybody right now can have their own TV show thanks to YouTube.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Tony won't admit it, but elites on BOTH ends of the political spectrum are one of the reasons this country is going down the proverbial shitter.

  • SomeGuy||

    There is a lot I like about libertarian ideals and I keep wishing the party could find a way to take off. But dumb crap like this is typical of why it doesn't.

    "Choice works, and government monopolies don't. How much more evidence do we need?"

    lol, oh I LOVE the way you juxtaposed choice with government monopolies rather than deal with the obvious challenge that the history of the failure of private monopolies presents to your world view.

    The fact is that if public education was the total failure some want to claim we would not have had the massive increase we have had in first literacy and higher ed that we have had for ,oh, the last 100 years or so. Of course trends always peak and start moving back down hill eventually but claiming public education in America as a failed is nothing more or less than historical revisionism.

    That's not to say that there are not problems but as usual reality never fits into the convenient bite sized packages that ideologues of any sort want them to. The reasons for problems and decline in recent years are legion and include things that all sides of the argument rant about and blindspots that nobody wants to talk about. Libertarians always do their best in my view when they get into those blind spots and present the evidence. For example, take a look at the special education budget in any school anywhere and all the mandates unfunded and otherwise that have been foisted on schools. What kind of return has it had? That would be a much more interesting study to explore than the entirely misleading rote claimes about headstart in this article. I propose that one major reason for the decline of schools is that we've gone from the idea that all students who can apply themselves and are capable of learning should go to school to the idea that everyone has the right to go to school and graduate no matter what.

    On Washington and its like, what kind of effect has the insane war on drugs had on education in the inner city?

  • Jordan||

    lol, oh I LOVE the way you juxtaposed choice with government monopolies rather than deal with the obvious challenge that the history of the failure of private monopolies presents to your world view.

    Saying "public monopolies are failures" is not the same as saying "private monopolies work." There has never been a private monopoly on education in this country, which might be why this article says nothing about private monopolies.

  • Tony||

    Anti-trust laws are the beginning of commercial regulation. I've yet to hear a cogent argument why preventing monopolies is the legitimate province of government but other regulations are evil meddling. Saying that anti-trust laws are necessary is to admit that the market on its own doesn't get everything quite right and can spiral into massive amounts of failure if left unchecked.

    But let's not create a false equivalency between private and public monopolies. The former are always bad--we need several forms of the latter. It's a good thing to have a public monopoly on the use of force. I think we need public monopolies on other public goods, because even fully functional markets for, say, education and healthcare, don't take into account positive externalities and certainly don't guarantee universality.

    But of course nobody talks about making education actually private. They talk about vouchers, i.e., outsourcing. That's worked so well for national defense after all.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    I've yet to hear a cogent argument why preventing monopolies is the legitimate province of government but other regulations are evil meddling.

    You are absolutely right - there is NO cogent argument in favor of anti-trust laws. Government is the Great Grantor of monopolies, not the enemy of them.

    Anti-trust laws were specifically created to go against successfull companies on behalf of the less efficient (and more envious) competition.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    I think we need public monopolies on other public goods, because even fully functional markets for, say, education and healthcare, don't take into account positive externalities and certainly don't guarantee universality.

    You're begging the question - you assume the validity of "public goods" in order to argue for public "monopolies".

    As I posted before, the concept of "externality" is elusive enough to mean anything and to give anybody undue justification to limit people's economic freedom.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    IOW, a government monopoly is a good thing... right?

  • Mr. FIFY||

    If it's a government monopoly, liberals love it. All other monopolies are icky.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    "the government on its own doesn't get everything quite right and can spiral into massive amounts of failure if left unchecked."

    FIFYed. No cost for this one, Tony... but then, you've never ponied up for the other times I've fixed your posts.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Maybe Matthew Lesko can find a subsidy for FIFYing posts...

  • mark||

    The fact is that if public education was the total failure some want to claim we would not have had the massive increase we have had in first literacy and higher ed that we have had for ,oh, the last 100 years or so. Of course trends always peak and start moving back down hill eventually but claiming public education in America as a failed is nothing more or less than historical revisionism.

    Correlation does not imply causation.

    For example, take a look at the special education budget in any school anywhere and all the mandates unfunded and otherwise that have been foisted on schools. What kind of return has it had? That would be a much more interesting study to explore than the entirely misleading rote claimes about headstart in this article.

    Both claims are valid; why are the claims about Head Start 'misleading' and 'rote'?

    I propose that one major reason for the decline of schools is that we've gone from the idea that all students who can apply themselves and are capable of learning should go to school to the idea that everyone has the right to go to school and graduate no matter what.

    That happened long before any of us were born. The decline continues today. But yes, I will agree with you that it's a failure to think you can fulfill the entire citizenry's "right" to go to school without any parental participation or reduced standards for any of the "better" students.

    On Washington and its like, what kind of effect has the insane war on drugs had on education in the inner city?

    A substantial effect.

  • SomeGuy||

    "Can people who have their own TV shows stop whining about "elites"?"

    Here, here. But then this guy works for the #1 rated news network who's endlessly bitching about the "main stream media elite" like being #1 doesn't make you the very definition of the mainstream media elite.

    Personally I think the success of said network and dumb as shit rants about "elites" is a far better example of the deficiencies in public education than anything this article comes up with.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Elitists suck... be they liberal or conservative.

  • bob||

    I've got an idea, why don't we charge the little retards' parents to send their kids to school. Its kind of like how we do everything else in the world, we pay for the things we need and want.

  • ||

    Public education served the purpose of supporting the new-ish child labor laws. If kids had to be in school, they couldn't do slave labor (as some called it - not all jobs kids had were slavery types, nor were all jobs kids had pleasant). It prevented the poor from farming out their kids to work in factories and prevented factories from exploiting vulnerable children.

    Later, schools became an enforcer of the factory worker model - seating children in rows and methodically and rigorously having them work on the same tasks without variety or cease, learning to respect the teacher (manager) and not give any complaints.

    Public schooling served labor by training kids not to ask any questions and do as they were told. Private schools, the domain of the wealthy by and large, did not enforce this same model and thus produced the business owners, inventors, lawyers, and doctors that the working class public educated kids needed.

    I wonder sometimes if public school has outgrown its nefarious roots, or just reinforces certain modes of behavior. I'd like to think "no" but sometimes I am not so sure.

  • mark||

    It certainly teaches some kids to hate institutions in general, and others to hate society in general. Others still learn how to be sociopathic from a very early age. And then there's the vast majority who don't question all the lines and rows, standing and sitting. They become model workers and weekend warriors.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    Some of the big pushers for child labor laws were the traditional craftsmen and artisans that had their market share challenged by more economical mass production during the industrial revolution. They weren't so much concerned about the well being of teh children, they were just trying to throw obstacles in the way of progress. Of course, its not like children never worked before the industrial revolution, they were just in the fields and mines before they were in the factories. Child labor was falling out of favor due to market forces anyway, young children simply can't match the productivity of adults. These days it seems child labor laws only hinder high school students from getting an early start on decent well-paying jobs in industry and the trades that could serve as valuable experience even for the college bound.

  • ||

    "Child labor was falling out of favor due to market forces anyway, young children simply can't match the productivity of adults. "

    So why were they employed in the first place?

  • Alice Bowie||

    While we are getting rid of public schools, social security, welfare, all regulations on all businesses, the statute of fraud...let's get rid of public roads make everyone get nickled/dimed for every 1/8th of a mile driven.

  • William Clinton||

    Re: Alice Bowie,

    While we are getting rid of public schools, social security, welfare, all regulations on all businesses, the statute of fraud...let's get rid of public roads make everyone get nickled/dimed for every 1/8th of a mile driven.

    Would that be a bad thing? Right now, Public roads have been a direct subsidy to trucking companies. Let them be private or State run (instead of Federal), so shippers use the (non union, non monopoly) train instead.

  • Chad||

    If roads are ever privitized, the first thing I would do is buy the roads around your house, and raise your rates sky high. Oh, the irony.

  • Old Mexican||

    If roads are ever privitized, the first thing I would do is buy the roads around your house, and raise your rates sky high. Oh, the irony.

    And I would buy those around yours. Oh, the . . . business!

    (Who cares about the fucking irony?)

  • Chad||

    I would out-bid you. After all, I actually earn real money.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Chad,

    I would out-bid you. After all, I actually earn real money.

    Ah, Federal Reserve Notes will not be worth anything in a privatized, libertarian society, Chad - and I have REAL gold.

    ;-)

  • Chad||

    I don't have much cash, either.

  • Chad Hanging||

    First thing I'd do with MY roads is slap an extra fee of 5,000,000% on every idiot who still believes in your anthropogenic global warming death cult, over and above the more meager usual toll.

    No more driving C02-spewing rich people's vehicles to your methane-spewing climate conferences for you fascist traitor hypocrites! You want to go huge distances to hold a huge summit where you try to browbeat the rest of us for not being such insufferably self-righteous pricks as yourselves, you lying greentard scum will have to get out and WALK!

  • mark||

    God, just think of the sheer prosperity!

  • Jimbo||

    The roads I drive on SUCK! If I knew that my money was spent on road maintenance, I would be a lot happier.
    Instead, my money is wasted on mooches who contribute NOTHING to society.

  • Freeranger||

    Private schools would be great but the public subsidy should remain because education, like many other activities/enterprises/services/goods, e.g. roads)has positive externalities. Without a subsidy the consumption of education won't achieve the "social optimum." Of course, there should not support for private schools run by churches.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Freeranger,

    Private schools would be great but the public subsidy should remain because education, like many other activities/enterprises/services/goods, e.g. roads)has positive externalities.

    Even if it were true that education has "positive externalities", it does not follow it has to be subsidized for that reason. Your argument is a non sequitur.

  • Jimmy 'Crack' Corn||

    I think Freeranger, like Tony, just uses the term 'externalities' to piss Old Mexican off.

  • Old Mexican||

    Meh. His conclusion still does not follow, even if instead of "externalities" he said "dead cats."

  • CrackertyAssCracker||

    There are negative externalities. Therfore it should be illegal to pay for anybody elses education.

  • ||

    Cogent and to the point. The U.S. Education Monopoly is failing. If a school is graduating 20 or 30% of it's students what is there to lose by sending the drop-outs to a school of their choice? Only union-based (NEA) teacher jobs, and as we all know, the NEA owns the Democratic party.

  • Itchy Puss||

    Let's pass a constitutional amendment that eliminates all taxes.

  • Itchy Puss||

    I hope the libertarin party ever gets strong enough that we eliminate everything we've built.

    All-in-all, this is still the best country. With a free market economy that has regulations. And yes, some are good and some are bad.

    The idea that eliminating all regulations is a smart Idea is STUPID.

    What existed 1st? Was it the Free Market? Or, was it the Regulation?

    Why did the regulation come to be?

  • ||

    Regulation is just another way for the state and special interests to steal from tax-slaves. I hope that answers your FUCKINGLY STUPID question.

  • ||

    There's a lot of truth in that. I don't have the answer. One thing, though, is that society has to decide what it wants the schools to teach. They expect too many things: teach cooperation, respect for diversity, study of other cultures; include the mentally, physically, emotionally, and socially impaired, keep all the kids in school--regardless of their actions, communicate with parents, keep records, report abuse; give the kids information, teach them to think, have them learn to work together, have them learn to excel on their own; oh, and teach reading, writing, math, and science; be sure to provide physical education, art, music, home sciences; provide extra-curricular concerts, sporting events (win and let everyone play), rocket clubs, student governments, even fund-raising.
    I suspect countries with "better scores" don't do a fraction of these things. I think there are several (esp. keeping ALL students) that charter schools don't do. Still, I think charter schools are a good idea.

  • CrackertyAssCracker||

    One thing, though, is that society has to decide what it wants the schools to teach.

    ya. I don't really even accept that. Parents have to decide what their children should be taught. Not "society".

  • Chad||

    Hey, I just wanted to pop in and say that, yes, I am a strong supporter of school vouchers, and an end to the teacher's unions.

    And yes, this is the real Chad speaking.

    Cheers!

  • Old Mexican||

    You forgot to mention that you want everybody to be despoiled of at least 33% of their productive efforts to "give it back to society."

  • Chad||

    Do you plan to pay for the vouchers with fu-fu dust, OM?

  • Hanging Chad||

    Who are you and what have you done with the real Chad, you impostor?

  • ||

    I choose football and video production, all on the taxpayer's dime.

    How about it John?

    Let's get vouchers. Then we can dump that nag Coulson.

  • ||

    John,

    You sling the bull. So, competition and choice work, eh? Then please explain the meteoric price increases in PRIVATE health insurance in California.

    The fact is simple. As long as education has an inelastic demand curve, it pays for private producers to RAISE PRICES SINCE TOTAL REVENUE ALSO RISES. The same goes for health care.

    Privatizing education will NOT all of a SUDDEN make the demand curve more elastic, anymore that it did the market demand curve for private health insurance.
    People think John is smart. I think he is either a tad bit dishonest, or a DUNCE.

  • RCTL||

    "dishonest, or a DUNCE" I pick both.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Bill Jones,

    So, competition and choice work, eh? Then please explain the meteoric price increases in PRIVATE health insurance in California.

    Only ONE insurer is hiking their premiums: Anthem Blue Cross. And the California market is hardly competitive.

    The fact is simple. As long as education has an inelastic demand curve,

    As long as government MANDATES that children be schooled, "education" will ALWAYS have an inelastic demand. The mandatory nature of education is totally apart from the market. You are being disingenuous.

    it pays for private producers [of education] to RAISE PRICES SINCE TOTAL REVENUE ALSO RISES.

    People already HAVE alternatives, so revenues cannot rise beyond a certain level. The reason for the high costs of private education is because, due to regulations and the already high cost of PUBLIC education, private institutions have become a NICHE INDUSTRY.

    Under a non-compulsory, totally private system, where anybody could open a school, private institutions would have to bend over backwards to attract new customers, including (Ta-Da!) reducing their prices.

    Privatizing education will NOT all of a SUDDEN make the demand curve more elastic

    Of course not "all of a sudden" because of the mandatory nature of education and because the current infrastructure is tailored towards pharaonic monstrosities just to harbor children. Once the government starts to actually FOLLOW the CONSTITUTION (the 13th Amendment, which prohibits involuntary servitude), and regulations and building codes return to a minimalistic level, the demand will be elastic.

    [...]anymore that it did the market demand curve for private health insurance.

    Same issue. Due to government regulations, insurance has become practically the only way to pay for a service. Take away the regulations and the restrictions on how many doctors can practice, and the demand will be elastic.

    People think John is smart. I think he is either a tad bit dishonest, or a DUNCE.

    You're no genius yourself. Learn some sound economics, before talking to adults.

  • RCTL||

    OM, "California's largest for-profit health insurer is moving to dramatically raise rates for customers with individual policies, setting off a furor among policyholders and prompting state insurance regulators to investigate. Anthem Blue Cross is telling many of its approximately 800,000 customers who buy individual coverage -- people not covered by group rates -- that its prices will go up March 1 and may be adjusted "more frequently" than its typical yearly increases...brokers who sell these policies say ...premium increases of 30% to 39%, saying they come on the heels of similar jumps last year." So much for the delusional libertarian goal of individual policies.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: RTLC,

    I live in California, I know what's going on, and there is NOTHING libertarian about how the health insurance system functions in California.

    The reason for the increased premiums is because of the crowding IN towards the Blue Cross because many people are losing their group coverage due to unemployment. Along with this, there is VERY LITTLE competition because of protectionist schemes imposed by the California government (obviously because of heavy lobbying by the few insurance companies that wanted to block out of state or local upstarts.)

    Again, there is NOTHING libertarian about how the California insurance "market" works. It is a heavily regulated industry, with the obvious results - obvious, except it seems, to you.

  • RCTL||

    OM, "Health and Human Services chief Kathleen Sebelius wrote a semi-polite letter to Blue Cross of California, requesting justification for the size and timing of the increase even as its profits rose...Blue Cross, in its letters to people with individual policies, tried to blame the whole increase on rising medical costs. At the same time, it was promising Wall Street that it would maintain its multibillion-dollar profits". Let's see,they are making profits,blaming the increases on the other guy and promise to keep their profits high. What makes you think that health care would be any different with more single payers?

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: RCTL,

    "Blue Cross, in its letters to people with individual policies, tried to blame the whole increase on rising medical costs."

    I just love how the purported explanation from Blue Cross was spun by the reporter. Gotta love those journalists . . .

    At the same time, it was promising Wall Street that it would maintain its multibillion-dollar profits"

    Wow - multibillion profits. That sounds like a lot!

    Except when you look at the profit RATE, which is on average round 4% - right there among grocery stores.

    Try to bedazzle a person as gullible as you, RCTL, especially someone with NO knowledge of even the most basic principles of economics.

  • RCTL||

    "I just love how the purported explanation from Blue Cross was spun by the reporter. Gotta love those journalists . . ."
    Gotta love that you dismiss the letter from the insurance company.

    "Wow - multibillion profits. That sounds like a lot!"
    Wow, don't you think it is funny how they consistently make 4% every year and they can predict they will be doing so in the future. Either that makes them psychic or they have really interesting accountants.

    "Except when you look at the profit RATE, which is on average round 4% - right there among grocery stores."
    Grocery store net profits are closer to 1%

    "Try to bedazzle a person as gullible as you, RCTL, especially someone with NO knowledge of even the most basic principles of economics."
    The knowledge that I have is accurate unlike your completely naive repetitive mantra that a free market will be competitive. Bedazzle my ass.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    So... a four-percent profit is too much?

  • RCTL||

    My point about the profit was that the figures smack of untrustworthiness. They will not suddenly become principled because of an increase in single payer clients.

  • ACRONYM||

    RCTL, WAYR? STFU!

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Then why compare a four-percent margin to the one-percent grocery-store margin?

  • RCTL||

    I didn't

  • ||

    Bill, are you actually unaware of how regulated the health insurance market is, in California and every other state?

    The prices rise because they're protected from competition. Duh.

    -jcr

  • ||

    What Mr. Stossel won't tell you is that the only reason for vouchers is plain American greed. After "exporting" most businesses overseas, there are fewer investment opportunities for the corporations, and education is looking good, when the taxpayer foots the bill.
    Private education and all the other experiments fail the students to a lot higher degree as public school. The only reason we still have a debate is because dishonest state governments are destroying the public school by creating a huge interference in the teaching environment, making almost impossible the normal transference of knowledge between teacher and student, most notably by the insane accountability promoted by the Bushites. Just fifteen years ago, the public schools in Texas were an example of good schools, then Governor Bush began dismantling them. Today the average time dedicated to the traditional curriculum is down 40% and testing takes 25 to 30% of the remaining time. It is a wonder that there are still some good students coming out of such environment. Does it justify the drivel of Mr. Stossel? For anybody familiar with the public schools, absolutely not. Get your hands out of public schools and restore the practices of twenty years ago; presto, you will have the good schools you have missed for those fifteen years. Like the guy in Nebraska said, you can weight the cow as many times you want, but she won't get fat if you don't feed her. But, of course, Mr. Murdock has an agenda and Mr. Stossel is a faithful employee. I think both are dishonest.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Frank Romney,

    What Mr. Stossel won't tell you is that the only reason for vouchers is plain American greed.

    Non sequitur No. 1

    After "exporting" most businesses overseas, there are fewer investment opportunities for the corporations, and education is looking good, when the taxpayer foots the bill.

    Non sequitur No. 2

    Private education and all the other experiments fail the students to a lot higher degree as public school.

    Non sequitur No. 3 (also . . . huh?)

    The only reason we still have a debate is because dishonest state governments are destroying the public school by creating a huge interference in the teaching environment

    Non sequitur No. 4

    [...]making almost impossible the normal transference of knowledge between teacher and student, most notably by the insane accountability promoted by the Bushites

    Huh . . . Non sequitur No. 5 but what a way of plugging Bush in there.

    Just fifteen years ago, the public schools in Texas were an example of good schools, then Governor Bush began dismantling them.

    Non sequitur No. 6, because this is totally a distraction from the issue Stossel was discussing. In other words:

    WTF???

    Today the average time dedicated to the traditional curriculum is down 40% and testing takes 25 to 30% of the remaining time. It is a wonder that there are still some good students coming out of such environment.

    This is evidence more of the rule that says that a new teacher only brings 80% of what she learned and the next potential teacher learns only 80% of what the previous teacher learned and so on.

    Since the comment above does not address any of Stossel points, then:

    Non sequitur No. 7

    Get your hands out of public schools and restore the practices of twenty years ago; presto, you will have the good schools you have missed for those fifteen years.

    Wow! A Nirvana Fallacy!

    Like the guy in Nebraska said, you can weight the cow as many times you want, but she won't get fat if you don't feed her.

    Nice aphorism - oh, and Non sequitur No. 8

    But, of course, Mr. Murdock has an agenda and Mr. Stossel is a faithful employee. I think both are dishonest.

    Non sequitur No. 9 and an Ad Hominem to boot!

    So, your score:

    Non sequiturs: 9
    Nirvana Fallacy: 1
    Ad Hominem: 1

    You win the Fallacious Rant Prize!

    Congrats!

  • ||

    As usual, Stossel and other anti-public ed fanatics omit the most important factor - that private schools can choose their students. Public schools don't have this luxury. Such renders his entire argument moot.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Okay, so let's make all non-government education illegal. No homeschooling, no private schools (for anyone, including children of politicians)... all education must now come from The State.

    Would that make you happy?

  • Jimbo||

    You ARE Lazy, John!
    You didn't pay attention. Charter schools, using a lottery, cannot choose their students. If the students who didn't get selected do worse in the public schools compared to the students who were lucky enough to get selected, then that means the public schools SUCK!

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Lazy John,

    As usual, Stossel and other anti-public ed fanatics omit the most important factor - that private schools can choose their students. Public schools don't have this luxury.

    And ergo, Public Schools cannot be THAT BAD!

    Wow! The conclusion! It's indescribably beautiful! It reminds me of the 4th of July!

    "Private schools choose their clients, public schools don't, so: they cannot be that bad because the kids in Public Schools are incredibly stupid!"

    Man! I LOVE IT! Love it. I'm going to take this one to my Logic teacher and write a term paper on it.

    Thank you, Lazy John!

  • ||

    Incorrect. The basis for comparison is moot because the standards do not correlate. Stossel's argument is bad science.

  • RCTL||

    Lazy John, private schools choose and expel students who cannot/will not compete.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: RCTL,

    Lazy John, private schools choose and expel students who cannot/will not compete.

    The actually shot them dead, RCTL.

  • Old Mexican||

    Sorry: SHOOT them dead.

  • RCTL||

    "The[sic]actually shot[sic] them dead, RCTL." Public school?

  • bleek obummer||

    Maybe same college as Bush and Obama?

  • Grammar Nazi||

    Lazy John, private schools choose and to expel students who cannot/will not compete.

    And instead of calling for a repeal of the laws that forbid public schools also to expel these leeches, you take this to be a justification for forcing those other more competitive kids back into your soul-sucking statist indoctrination center hellholes?

    Say "Hello, you Satanic slave-driving bastards!" to Mann and Dewey for me when you get to Hell.

  • Grammar Nazi editor||

    Choose AND expel: the acts of selecting by preference AND to sever a relationship.

  • ||

    This is typical of elitists, who believe that parents, especially poor ones, can't make good choices about their kids' education.

    More like, they're afraid that poor parents will make good choices, and expose them to competition.

    -jcr

  • ||

    Charter schools SAY they use a lottery. What they REALLY use is a screening system based on entrance exams combined with stalling tactics. Ask any kid who has been refused admission to a charter school.

  • Jimbo||

    I SAY: "you don't know what you are talking about" Oops! I ended it in a preposition!

  • ||

    It's time for the separation of school and state.

  • ||

    Stossel's best show on FBN, but really, is there an easier target for a libertarian than the public schools? Hey John, last week's Evan Bayh kerfuffle and all the fallout is a great lead-in to a show on public choice theory.

  • ||

    I wish Stossel had mentioned homeschooling in his show. That's where you really start to see the sham of government schools. Some stats: On average, homeschool students score 37 per cent higher than their peers on standardized tests. There are no discernible achievement gaps between races, genders, and income levels in the homeschool movement, with homeschoolers consistently landing in the 85th percentile or higher on achievement tests, regardless of background.

  • ||

    I live and teach in one of the poorest communities in the nation, just 7 miles north of the Mexican border. I find it interesting that whenever there is a discussion about school choice, the discussion inevitably turns to a variety of topics: defense spending, teachers' jobs, deteriorating infrastructure or a comparision of private school student vs. public school student test scores. This is all interesting, of course, but there is only one thing that should matter and it is this. The system we have now makes sure poor parents and their children will never have the choice rich and middle-class parents and children already have. The hypocrisy of the left--exemplified by Obama's cancelling of the voucher program in DC--is as astonishing as it is unconscionable.

  • Craig||

    Not surprisingly, socialism fails once again. The single biggest thing we could do to improve education in this country is to shut down all of the public schools, sell the buildings to the highest bidder, and lay off all of the teachers and administrators. Once parents had to select and pay for their children's education, they would start getting more involved.

  • M||

    Private schools provide some sort of choice for parents looking for an alternative to government run schools. However, these schools are still subject to government oversight in that they still must cover the subjects that are required by state schools, but allow for more room in an additional curriculum. For the most part, (at least in NYC where I live) these schools are preaching altruism and not exposing children to alternative viewpoints.

    Read My Blog: http://fmarketjournal.blogspot.com/

  • abercrombie milano||

    My only point is that if you take the Bible straight, as I'm sure many of Reasons readers do, you will see a lot of the Old Testament stuff as absolutely insane. Even some cursory knowledge of Hebrew and doing some mathematics and logic will tell you that you really won't get the full deal by just doing regular skill english reading for those books. In other words, there's more to the books of the Bible than most will ever grasp. I'm not concerned that Mr. Crumb will go to hell or anything crazy like that! It's just that he, like many types of religionists, seems to take it literally, take it straight...the Bible's books were not written by straight laced divinity students in 3 piece suits who white wash religious beliefs as if God made them with clothes on...the Bible's books were written by people with very different mindsets...in order to really get the Books of the Bible, you have to cultivate such a mindset, it's literally a labyrinth, that's no joke.

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