School Choice Foes Are Wrong

Opponents of school choice sincerely believe that if you make everybody stay on the Titanic, then maybe it won’t sink as fast.

ClassroomLabpluto123Virginia congressman and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has been casting about for an issue that might help emancipate the GOP from its current caricature as a party of plutocrats who get a kick out of kicking the poor when they’re down. Hence his recent shot across the bow of New York’s new mayor, Bill de Blasio.

De Blasio’s predecessor, Michael Bloomberg, sought to control many facets of New York life but actually liberalized one of the most reactionary: education. During his term, the number of charter schools in the Big Apple soared from seven to 123.

De Blasio, a left-wing ideologue, does not approve. His “idealism,” as The New York Times explains, was shaped by his time in Nicaragua, then controlled by the Sandinista revolutionaries of whom he became an “ardent” supporter. “They gave a new definition to democracy,” de Blasio once said. That they did: Their version of it included censorship, suspending civil rights, breaking up demonstrations and imprisoning suspected political opponents without trial.

No surprise, then, that de Blasio is taking out after charter schools—an innovation that has helped poor and underprivileged students by bringing a (very) small degree of personal choice to a system controlled by the state. Bloomberg let charters share space with regular public schools. De Blasio has threatened to evict them. Cantor pointed out in a recent speech that this could mean the end for many of them.

De Blasio shot back, insisting the “Republican agenda in Washington” is “a dangerous philosophy that turns its back on public education”—one that “has failed many times before.” Which is odd, because (a) charter schools are public, not private, schools and (b) “a study published earlier this year shows that the typical New York City charter student learned more reading and math in a year than his or her public school peers.” This is according to that well-known propaganda arm of the Republican Party, the New York Times editorial page.

De Blasio isn’t alone. Although Barack Obama ran for the Oval Office on a theme of “hope” and “change,” on the issue of educational choice his administration has demonstrated considerable hostility to both. The White House has opposed the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, which provides vouchers to poor children. Meanwhile, the Justice Department has relentlessly attacked a voucher program in Louisiana in a campaign The Washington Post editorial page calls a “perverse” and “appalling” bid “to trap poor, black children in ineffective schools.” (The department’s claim that parental choice would re-segregate Louisiana’s schools was so transparently specious that it has retreated—somewhat. Rather than block the program outright, the DOJ now seeks to regulate it to death.)

The Obama administration has been friendlier toward charter schools, and other Democrats are even more open to innovation: New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker supports vouchers, as have former Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle and, according to an October poll, a majority of Democratic voters in Rhode Island.

Others, however, remain firmly wedded to the notion that the only reform worthy of discussion is the same one that already has been tried a million times over: more money. After adjusting for inflation, per-pupil expenditures have nearly doubled since the mid-1970s, while student performance has scarcely budged.

Critics of parental choice point out that charters and voucher programs have shown mixed results. One federal study of the D.C. voucher program, for instance, noted that while it marginally increased the odds of a student graduating from high school, it had produced “no conclusive evidence” of academic improvement. And a federal audit found what Politico calls “a glaring lack of controls to ensure that the private schools receiving the vouchers were physically safe or academically sound.”

In other words, vouchers make bad policy because the children who use them might end up attending … schools just as bad as the ones they used to. And this is a defense of the status quo?

A second complaint about voucher programs, at least, is that they might end up benefitting rich families. Think about that for a moment: It implies that poor families should be denied a benefit simply to keep rich families from getting it too. Talk about mean-spirited.

A third knock on school choice comes from the tinfoil-hat brigade: It’s nothing but a plot to privatize education and fatten corporate profits. Two minutes’ careful thought should dispel that idea:

(1) The most common reform, charter schools, are—again—public schools, usually started by grass-roots groups of volunteers. Good luck trying to find any charters run by Halliburton.

(2) More than half the students who have participated in the District of Columbia’s voucher program chose Catholic schools. Catholic schools may be many things, but engines of profit they are not.

(3) Because school-choice proposals often are aimed at the poor, many entail tuition tax credits. In Alabama, for instance, a corporation that donates money to a school-choice scholarship fund can claim half the value of the donation as a tax credit. Indiana, Oklahoma, and other states have similar policies. This means companies in those states that support school choice for low-income kids actually lose money on the deal, the heartless jerks.

Opponents of school choice aren’t heartless jerks, either, of course. They sincerely believe that giving poor families the same opportunity to choose education alternatives that rich families have would be a big mistake: If you make everybody stay on the Titanic, then maybe it won’t sink as fast. This doesn’t make them wicked. It just makes them wrong.

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  • R C Dean||

    There's no conflict between being sincere and being a heartless jerk.

    You can be both at once. Trust me on this.

  • Snark Plissken||

    A Barton Hinkeleheimer Schmidt,
    His name is my name too!
    Whenever we go out,
    The people always shout,
    A Barton Hinkeleheimer Schmidt!
    Fa la la la la la la

  • Almanian!||

    STOP! THIEF!

  • The Late P Brooks||

    It's for the children. Especially the mediocre ones.

  • mr simple||

    It implies that poor families should be denied a benefit simply to keep rich families from getting it too. Talk about mean-spirited.

    You don't think they're going to make everyone equal by boosting or enriching the poor, do you?

  • sarcasmic||

    They sincerely believe that giving poor families the same opportunity to choose education alternatives that rich families have would be a big mistake

    It's not fair that some poor families have different opportunities than others. That's not fair. If everyone can't do it, then no one can.

    Equality means the lowest common denominator.

  • anon||

    Equality means the lowest common denominator.

    To say otherwise might mean that some people are better at some things than others, which might hurt someone's feelings and is unfair!

  • BakedPenguin||

    It's a lot easier to make people equal by cutting a few down than by raising a lot up.

  • anon||

    Is it possible that it's just a profound fundamental misunderstanding of economics? That they cannot comprehend poor people learning might actually benefit them?

    More likely it's just the status thing though. "Oh dear no, imagine my children going to school with those poor people! They might get hooked on pot instead of coke!"

  • sarcasmic||

    Is it possible that it's just a profound fundamental misunderstanding of economics?

    That's a given when it comes to the left.

    That they cannot comprehend poor people learning might actually benefit them?

    Oh, I'm sure they get it, but fairness and equality are more important.

  • anon||

    Oh, I'm sure they get it, but fairness and equality are more important.

    I'm not sure I buy that. I think (even for the left), people are driven by actions that provide them the most perceived benefit for the least effort. It's why any government theft program is held in such esteem.

    Granted, I also cannot comprehend why anyone could possibly think reducing the most brilliant children to a snail's pace of education could possibly be a perceived benefit in the name of "fairness."

  • ||

    Because reducing the most brilliant children to a snail's pace makes it "fair" for the stupid children. Who are usually the children of people advocating such policies. See! They're being good parents by sandbagging the smarter kids in favor of their own stupid kids!

  • sarcasmic||

    I also cannot comprehend why anyone could possibly think reducing the most brilliant children to a snail's pace of education could possibly be a perceived benefit in the name of "fairness."

    It's not a benefit to the smart kids. Smart kids are a privileged minority. It's a benefit to the dumb kids who are the majority. It's not fair that dumb kids have to watch a privileged minority do well, or worse watch them go to charter schools. Better to have the smart kids be held back than to allow the dumb kids' feelings get hurt.

  • Eric||

    My thoughts are that "smart and dumb" for K-6 aged kids generally fall within the bell curve. It's average kids that are in the majority.

    Further, it's not always (or even in the majority) that the smart kids go to charter/private schools. Rather, it's those kids whos parents are willing to jump through the institutional hoops to get them in. In general these parents are going to have the time and resources to work for their children.

    Most poor/lower middle class kids don't have parents who have the time, experience, knowledge, etc, to push thier kids towards anything but public education, regardless of their children's potential.

  • Radioactive||

    The top and bottom 10% of the bell curve get all the attention, it's the 80% in the middle who get fucked on a regular basis, regardless of income level. The educational mafia focus on those who will do well and those who can't get a grip on the lowest rung even with a step ladder.

  • Res ipsa loquitur||

    All children are born 100% the same. It is racism, income inequality, and not enough money spent on schools which creates any and all intelligence differences in us.

  • DarrenM||

    It's always "not enough money spend on schools". This trope gets tiresome after a while.

  • Will Nonya||

    "All children are born 100% the same. It is racism, income inequality, and not enough money spent on schools which creates any and all intelligence differences in us."

    Sounds like someone likes to drink the Kool-Aid. On any other site I'd take you to task, on here I'll assume it's well written sarcasm. :)

  • JWatts||

    All these arguments leave out the most important one. This is about protecting the teacher's union(s). Charter schools are generally not subject to the same constraints as other public schools and often don't have unionized teachers. If Charter schools are successful, it's proof that the teacher's union(s) are unnecessary.

    Charter schools represent a fundamental threat to the existence of the various teacher's union(s), the teacher's union(s) represent one of the post powerful groups in the mainstream Left and undermining their power is intolerable to the Left. It has nothing to do with the children, poor or otherwise. It has everything to do with a large amount of protected government jobs.

  • wareagle||

    it's more a control thing. If those poor people learn about choice when it comes to school, it might lead them to question just how much govt they need/want and the left hates that. Misunderstanding economics is a truism, but it's not the primary motivation here.

  • 110 Lean||

    The only choice that progs promote is abortion.

  • Alton Knutson||

    If I knew how to link there would be the obligatory Rush "The Trees" video here.

  • Lord at War||

    Alton-

    The Trees.

  • Tony||

    So you're arguing with the article?

    Libertarianism must be losing since it's grasping at socialism-lite.

  • wareagle||

    sorry, dude, but opposition to choice does make them evil. If poor people figure out that choice gets them out from under the decrees of the govt that claims to want to help them, then they might start asking what else govt has lied to them about. And then, they might not vote for proggies any more.

  • Eric||

    Evil? Must be a lot of work being the arbiter of good vs evil in this world.

    Progressives may be propogating a flawed system, but most I know are doing it out of the earnest desire to help people. Labelling them as evil is a surefire way to turn off those that would otherwise listen.

    And yes, I know I've broken one of your sacred cows here on the reason commentariat by failing to equate every progressive with Hitler. But every pot should be stirred sometimes, lest it become coagulated with group-think.

  • wareagle||

    yes, evil. And no one brought up Hitler except you. How imaginative. Our usual trolls don't go down that route; too busy calling every non-prog heartless, uncaring, etc etc.

    Proggies are inherently evil. It's because their policies frequently do the exact opposite of what they claim, and it's not by accident. They purport to champion the poor, but support a War on it that created more poor folks, that decimated the black family, and so forth.

    The unraveling of the public school system is totally on them, in large part because they refuse to change the model. That alone calls into question your contention of any "earnest desire to help" anyone. When what you are doing is a failure and you insist on more of it, fighting change every step of the way, you are NOT interesting in helping anyone but yourself and your circle.

  • John C. Randolph||

    most I know are doing it out of the earnest desire to help people.

    Do you believe everything that oppressives tell you?

    Sucker.

    -jcr

  • Eric||

    No. But I do assume that most people truly mean well...
    ...Even those that have lost all perspective due to rampant confirmation bias enabled by the internet.

  • 110 Lean||

    But I do assume that most people truly mean well..

    You know who else really meant well?

  • Pi Guy||

    Joe McCarthy? FDR? Castro? LBJ?

    Wait- don't tell me... I know this one...

  • Procrastinatus||

    I guess it depends on your definition of evil. I have a sincerely hard time finding a prog who will debate or discuss in good faith. Sure, there are Conservatives and Libertarians who fall in the same category, but I don't know if I've ever met a prog who will not play the deception game. Remember that guy who recruited people to dress up like Klan to go to Tea Party events? What about the college chick lib who made a facebook account claiming to be a Conservative and threaten to hatefuck herself? It's just two examples, but do you know a proggie with enough of a moral compass that they dont't lie and twist stuff habitually? If you're willing to do that for a "good" cause, is it really a good cause?

    And there's the violence aspect, which it all comes down to. Like Tony tacitly admits here all the time; to be a prog at some point you just have to concede that rights are imaginary and there are no moral qualms about using violence via the government to get what he wants. Can that be "good"?

  • David Wall||

    The evilness of public schools is inherent their complete corruption because of the force they use to exist:

    1. They are financed by force--taxes have to be paid whether you ever had kids or ever plan to have kids.

    2. Kids are forced to attend. If the parents can't prove or afford a viable alternative, kids are forced to attend. Some communities make viable alternatives like homeschooling and private schools very difficult alternatives. Many schools are physically dangerous to kids, besides harming kids mental development.

    3. The curriculum is forced upon the schools by the state. No alternatives are allowed.

    4. Teachers unions use the government to put in place laws that force labor rules that force school to keep bad & even pedophiles or dishonest teachers in place.

    If Cantor can't make a principled argument against public schools and all the tyrannical force used to maintain their existence (which he apparently is not willing to do), he should be voted out of office.

  • KB Check Release||

    Well put David.

    Now the proggies will call you a wrecker and kulak.

    Or whatever ad-hom they like today.

  • David Wall||

    Add: One other use of force: Private schools are forced to be registered by the state before they can do business in any community.

  • Eric||

    The problem with advocating for the anarcho-libertarian perspective is that to most people, left or right, it sounds fucking evil. Only after they've spent some time thinking about it will someone with two brain cells to rub together realize that it's really the only consistent political philosophy. And even then it's too much for me (or too little).

    Cantor and any other savy libertarian(ish) politician probably noticed the amount of shit Rand Paul caught for failing to fully support the civil rights act.

  • ||

    If you actively seek to deny choices to people, yeah, fuck you, you get to be called "evil" or a shithead or whatever the fuck I want to call you. (Stated) good intentions are not an excuse for horrible actions and results. That's TEAM BLUE's way of looking at the world, and it is depraved.

  • Rich||

    Why does anyone *need* choices?

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Apparently, Newsweek has some sort of story about how the American education system shortchanges gifted students. I say "apparently" because when I tried to follow the link, the text of the story did not appear. Not that I find this in any way surprising, but I was morbidly curious to see Newsweek's spin.

  • Griffin3||

    - America Hates Its Gifted Kids

    It also neglect to mention that funding for gifted kids is regularly 1000 times less than for lowest-achieving children. You keep seeing similar numbers, until you notice one of them is "billions" while the other is "millions" ... always.

    Like anything, you get more of what you subsidize. And people wonder why the school scores are falling.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I wonder, how much of this is perversely due to our supposedly big new focus on 'holding schools accountable?' The thrust of that has been 'holding them accountable for failing students,' not 'holding them accountable for any student not achieving their respective potential.' Before the focus on failure rates I would think a principal could afford to toss more benefits the way of the students who seemed to be doing well with it rather than 'casting pearls before swine.' Now you can get in trouble unless your swine pass the standardized testing!

  • KPres||

    Good point. Schools should still be held accountable, but they should get credit for their high-achievers as well. Don't just count up the failures, average out the scores.

  • KB Check Release||

    Or you could just honestly evaluate what kind of kids the schools produce.

    I still imagine schools that cater to specific child needs. For instance, the idea of a charter school specifically for the gifted could be a pretty cool idea.

    Incentivize greatness instead of mediocrity. Even at my good middle class suburban school there was WAY WAY WAY too much mediocrity. It really kills creativity too IMHO.

  • Griffin3||

    Good point. Spend some money to bump kids up from 1450 to 1500 on the SAT, don't get much return on your money. And the way it is set up now, if your brightest students are dual-enrolled in the local junior college, passing college level courses ... I think that counts against you at budget time, in some states.

  • JWatts||

    "I wonder, how much of this is perversely due to our supposedly big new focus on 'holding schools accountable?'"

    Since this disparity was widely noted when I was in high school in the 1980's, I'd say not much is do to the current new focus on school accountability.

  • Radioactive||

    or maybe it's because everyone who works for newsweek is a technological idiotand they couldn't figure out how to make the link work...football 1/monkies 0

  • Lord Humungus||

    This was back in the evil 80s, but in Junior High I was put into a "Quest" program for the gifted. It meant - thankfully - skipping shop class and getting to do a bunch of much more interesting assignments.

    Later, in High School, there were AP classes and a number of more advanced courses for the college bound. I also got to skip ahead and take classes with some of the older kids.

    Sure, the smart kids could have gotten even more attention, but we didn't fare that badly either.

  • Almanian!||

    I was a really good student, and shop class was one of the BEST things about Middle School! Learned how to weld, do woodworking, fiberglas - loved it. Took all three years.

    Still use those skills today. It's how I made up for being a "city kid" - learned some rudimentary skills that I've honed through the years.

    So - college prep + shop FTW in my world!

    PS Forgot about making the balsa-wood cars that we filled with Estes rockets and raced down the halls under the teachers' supervision. Halls killed with acrid smoke - cars stopped by slamming into brick walls at the end of the hall. It was AWESOME! Think kids today would be allowed to do that? No...

  • KB Check Release||

    And frankly I'm pissed off at that. Public schools make you think that people who work with their hands are below you and it's straight bullshit.

    I wish I had better physical skills like that. I have imagination but no idea how to build anything.

  • Lord Humungus||

    funny thing is that now I enjoy working with my hands and building stuff - mostly electronics. But it was the gruesome teacher and the assholes in the class that put me off the whole thing when I took it in 7th grade.

  • lap83||

    Almost any discussion of what we need to do for "gifted" students strikes me as being too close to the elitism of DuBois' "Talented Tenth" philosophy. It's a trickle-down theory of talent. Gifted kids are the leaders of tomorrow! They deserve more choice and flexibility than the underlings of tomorrow!

    Personally, I think all students deserve the freedom to pursue whatever the hell they want even if they're not going to become future Top Men.

  • Eric||

    Further, every middle classed parent thinks that their kid is gifted nowadays and deserves enrichment. Or is being failed by the school system failing to realize that little Tanner's ADHD is actually an asset.

  • montana mike||

    This....my buddy was a school psychologist in Corvallis, Or,lots of HP parents. If their kid wasn't top of the class they freaked and demanded that he find out what was WRONG with their progeny.

  • ||

    This doesn’t make them wicked. It just makes them wrong

    Sorry, I've seen enough articles on forcing public schools on everyone in order to further the public school agenda that this is not a universally true statement.

  • ||

    Example.

    Quote from the above:

    You are a bad person if you send your children to private school. Not bad like murderer bad—but bad like ruining one of our nation’s most essential institutions in order to get what’s best for your kid bad. So, pretty bad.

    So, fuck them.

  • ||

    How dare you do what's best for your children! Sacrifice them for the collective or you're a terrible parent and person!

  • ||

    Exactly. My first duty is to be a parent to ALL my villages' children, right? Fuck genetics.

    This from the PARTY OF SCIENCE.

  • ||

    I still believe that the vast majority of proponents of this drivel are abject losers who just want to see everyone who isn't a loser brought down to their level so they don't have to feel like a loser any more. That's how pathetic they are.

  • Irish||

    A lot of them seriously do have a bizarre idea that this is a way for corporations to brainwash our children. It never occurs to them that a competitive environment where people could choose their school makes brainwashing impossible or that the government monopoly is actually more prone to indoctrination than alternatives.

    Example: Diane Ravitch seriously argued that people in favor of school choice are corporate pawns and that Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerman are pro-school vouchers because they want to profit off of them.

    Think about that level of insanity. She seriously thinks that two technology billionaires are chomping at the bit to get in on the ground floor of a school voucher system.

  • ||

    Not to mention Bill Gates has given more money to charity than many countries' GDP. Zuckerberg has given a lot too I think. But no: it's profit off the children time!

    I don't think these people are insane, I think they are depraved. They allow their utterly irrational prejudices and hates to rule them, and in so doing are completely willing to fuck children, the poor, anyone so long as they can act against what they hate.

  • sarcasmic||

    They allow their utterly irrational prejudices and hates to rule them, and in so doing are completely willing to fuck children, the poor, anyone so long as they can act against what they hate.

    They call that tolerance and inclusiveness.

  • The Rt. Hon. Serious Man, Visc||

    They call that tolerance and inclusiveness.

    Projection, as always. It explains why they are so quick and adept at attacking the motives of and smearing an opponent's character rather than addressing the substance of their argument.

  • sarcasmic||

    It explains why they are so quick and adept at attacking the motives of and smearing an opponent's character rather than addressing the substance of their argument.

    They honestly feel that the ad hominem fallacy is a logical argument.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Irish, do you know where you heard Ravitch make that argument? I had to read Ravitch in college where she was taking a conservative position on educational issues, but I had heard that of late she had started to take more liberal positions on matters. But that one really 'takes the cake.'

  • Irish||

    Bo: She's lost her mind. The instance I saw of her arguing that Bill Gates wants to reap profits from school privatization was in an anti-Ravitch City-Journal piece. I'm looking for her argument in her own words, but here's some insanity to hold you over until I find it.

    Bill Gates has plans for your child. He wants to know everything he can about your child so he can customize and personalize the deliverables.

    What makes her say this? A questionnaire Gates sent to public schools which starts as follows:

    We believe in the promise of personalization to dramatically improve student learning. In the future, each student’s learning experience – what she learns, and how, when, and where she learns it – will be tailored to her individual developmental needs, skills, and interests.

    Gates is saying we should fit education to the child's skills, but when it passes through the Ravitch Filter he's trying to 'customize' your child - which is actually the exact opposite of what he said.

  • Irish||

    Leonie Haimson: The woman who stopped Bill Gates, Ruport Murdoch and the Ed-Profiteers!

    It is not over. The Gates Foundation and Carnegie Corporation put up $100 million to start inBloom, and Rupert Murdoch’s Wireless Generation got the contract to develop the software, and amazon.com plans to put it on a “cloud.” They will be back. We count on Haimson and the many parents she has inspired to remain vigilant on behalf of our children. As a grandparent of a child in second grade in a Brooklyn public school, I have a personal interest in keeping his information private.

    The problem is, the Gates foundation money that was 'put up' for school privatization was actually a charitable grant. The same is true with the Carnegie Corporation.

    Ravitch does not explain how Gates planned to make windfall profits from money he gave away.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    So by taking his hard and well earned money and giving it to students to develop talents he thought are helpful in life this man deserves....criticism?
    Incredible.

  • Radioactive||

    by making the little ones work in chain gangs and mini-sweat shops...bwaaa hahaha

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Have you read Ravitch's blog? Look up a recent post where Ravitch goes APESHIT on a charter school in Miami because one of it's board members is Pitbull, which is supposed to be bad or something. She never really gets around to explaining why it's bad that a popular rap artist helped to found a charter school, but she assures is that it is a very bad thing.

  • Zeb||

    That is bizarre. For one thing, most of the "prestigious" private schools anyway are at least as lefty-progressive as public schools. And public schools are really designed to prepare people for some mindless job working for a big corporation.

  • wareagle||

    Zeb, while the public schools prepare the drones, someone has to educate the drone managers. Ergo, the private schools you reference.

    If some of the poor kiddies go to those private schools, then that's one less drone and, horrors!, can you imagine one of those kids from a poor background being in charge of something? And this from the same folks who accuse anyone else of looking at accomplished minorities as uppity.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I think wareagle has this pegged, the people who put that view forward would just say that Gates and Zuckerberg represent that 'high skill/high wage' Clintonian ideal but with Marxist oppression mixed in. The 'Silicone Valley' types want programmed programmers, so to speak.

    The whole thing is so absurd, given this economy, to be actually worried that there is a plot afoot to educate and train people to end up working at Microsoft. The horrors!

  • Irish||

    The whole thing is so absurd, given this economy, to be actually worried that there is a plot afoot to educate and train people to end up working at Microsoft. The horrors!

    Our current system was formed to train people to work in the factories. Why shouldn't our current system train people for the work that actually exists in 2014 instead of jobs that are no longer in the country or have become totally mechanized?

    Anti-choicers never give me an answer.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Our current system was formed to train people to work in the factories. Why shouldn't our current system train people for the work that actually exists in 2014 instead of jobs that are no longer in the country or have become totally mechanized?

    Anti-choicers never give me an answer.

    Because we never should have lost the factory jobs in the first place. Haven't you been paying attention? They want and expect stasis. Ironically the same group that purports to be pro-science and evolution is the one most dissatisfied with its outcomes, while the group that is arguably anti-evolution is most supportive of its empirical outcomes.

  • PH2050||

    Our current system was formed to train people to work in the factories. Why shouldn't our current system train people for the work that actually exists in 2014 instead of jobs that are no longer in the country or have become totally mechanized?

    Indeed. The current model is inadequate and most likely obsolete.

  • Eggs Benedict Cumberbund||

    I think our current system was originally designed to train little Prussian soldiers.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    A lot of them seriously do have a bizarre idea that this is a way for corporations to brainwash our children.

    And they're afraid of the competition.

  • Lady Bertrum||

    It never occurs to them that a competitive environment where people could choose their school makes brainwashing impossible or that the government monopoly is actually more prone to indoctrination than alternatives.

    Oh, it occurs to them. They're primarily concerned that parents and by extension students will be brainwashed in the wrong way. This is their argument against homeschooling as well.

    They want brainwashing; they just want to have a monopoly on the soap.

    I've been a long time reader of Ravitch, and I'm convinced she developed a brain tumor a few years ago. Her personality, not just her position, has undergone a radical transformation.

  • Jon Lester||

    You mean, the people who make a career of public school administration? Perhaps it's no accident that practically every increase in US education funding further expands the bureaucracy and leaves actual classroom resources largely unchanged.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    "expands the bureaucracy and leaves actual classroom resources largely unchanged."

    Do you have a link for this? I've found getting school spending data difficult for a casual searcher.

  • califernian||

    Good god. So frightening that these people exist.

  • califernian||

    Ok for some inexplicable reason I just read the article.

    Now I really am going to vomit. I am still having a hard time believing this is not a parody.

  • David Wall||

    Right, califernian. On public education, Eric Cantor is a mealy-mouth weasel. He cannot make a principled argument against one of the most corrupt institutions in our society. He is worthless. Worst than worthless--he hurts the cause of freedom, because the ignorant think he is defending freedom.

  • David Wall||

    Eric Cantor and the writer of this article are both bad for freedom.

  • Zeb||

    ruining one of our nation’s most essential institutions

    Yeah, because people who can afford it sending their kids to private schools is a new thing, or something.

  • Rich||

    But it seems to me that if every single parent sent every single child to public school, public schools would improve. This would not happen immediately. It could take generations. Your children and grandchildren might get mediocre educations in the meantime, but it will be worth it, for the eventual common good.

    Emphasis added. Fucking *shameless*.

  • wareagle||

    it never dawns on these folks that, not long ago, virtually every parent did send every child to public school. It worked out so well that private schools opened, the charter system came into being, and other forms of choice sprouted.

  • Ted S.||

    Wasn't the original push for universal government-sector education in part because of those nasty Mick immigrants educating their children in parochial schools?

  • Irish||

    In fairness, we are a filthy, fecund and communistic brood who doubtlessly would have undercut the noble experiment in Anglo-Saxon freedom had we been allowed to.

    It's a good thing you guys saw us for what we ware and put a stop to our shenanigans.

  • Radioactive||

    you bastards...

  • ||

    I can only hope so.

  • anon||

    But it seems to me that if every single parent sent every single child to public school, public schools would improve.

    Seems to me the author is delusional.

  • Heedless||

    Well, we forced everyone to sign up for health insurance, and health insurance has gotten much much better as a result, so clearly it will work for education too.

  • ||

    A further quote:

    You want the best for your child, but your child doesn’t need it ... She may not learn as much or be as challenged, but take a deep breath and live with that.

    So, and I repeat myself, fuck them.

  • Irish||

    That's an unbelievably extreme viewpoint. If I recall, every comment on that article was berating the author.

  • Mr. Soul||

    In my experience, its a very widely held viewpoint.

    I sent my kids to private school. The school was managed badly and eventually folded. During the death spiral, every time some family spoke of placing their kids elsewhere they were lectured about their own selfish worldview and how the school would be badly served without those tuition dollars.

    All this at the same time bemoaning the lack of customer focus in the public schools.

  • ||

    We homeschool our kids. In the very liberal state of Massachusetts.

    We are not unfamiliar with the viewpoint above being expressed. At us.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    As someone whose parents homeschooled for a good portion of our education I do not remember any people taking that criticism, far more common was the idea that my parents were doing us a disservice by not exposing us to different people and such.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Did you learn how to deal with mindless bureaucrats, prison guards and authoritarian bullies?

    And by deal with I mean take the abuse cheerfully.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    There are a lot of silly misconceptions about homeschooled people. They are in general hardly isolated people, they often meet and interact with lots of other peers (in formal and informal homeschooled networks and outside of them). Many people seem to think all homeschoolers are some kind of fundamentalist polygamous sect. It was always amusing.

  • Mr. Soul||

    and the obvious irony is that no discipline in more isolated, more inbred or sectarian than the academic-education-industrial-complex.

  • Radioactive||

    different kinds of people suck...just saying

  • Zeb||

    Huh. I'd think they would thank you as they still get your tax money to educate their children.

  • anon||

    This doesn’t make them wicked. It just makes them wrong

    Having experienced government education before, I can tell you that it is the cruelest form of punishment I've experienced to date. I'd far prefer to break my arm again. Or go slam my dick in the nearest door.

  • Irish||

    Hacker cracks Obamacare site in four minutes.

    “And these type of attacks that I’m mentioning here, and the 70,000 [personal records Kennedy found] that you’re referencing, is very easy to do,” Kennedy continued. “It’s a rudimentary type attack that doesn’t actually attack the website itself. It extracts information from it without actually having to go into the system.”

    “Think of it this way,” he suggested. “Think of something where you have a car and the car doors are open and the windows are open — you can see inside of it. That’s basically what they allow you to do and there’s no real sophistication level here — it’s just really wide open. So there’s no hacking actually involved.”

    Wonderful security!

  • Rich||

    I'll just leave this here.

  • Carnival||

    Related: apparently schools that build time in the day to teach meditation and mindfulness to students see remarkable, positive changes in student behavior. Test scores improve, misbehavior goes down and everyone can be more productive.

    http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshif.....m=facebook

  • robc||

    I bet it works if it prayer instead of meditation too.

    Oh, yeah, religious private schools generally do see better test scores and positive behavior.

  • lap83||

    "religious private schools generally do see better test scores and positive behavior."
    That's because it's easier to learn about fairy tales than scientifically rigorous principles like why puppies and mother gaia are sad when you throw a candy wrapper on the ground.

  • kbolino||

    If you're not even holding up the pretense of educating the kids, just give them back to their parents for that time. They can meditate and be mindful at home.

  • Carnival||

    Obviously they can't because if they did, then this wouldn't be an issue anyway.

    I'm okay with the idea that creating an environment conducive to facilitating education, and educating students on good mental health practices is an acceptable part of a school's job.

  • ||

    If you make everybody stay on the Titanic, then maybe it won’t sink as fast

    No.

    Look, like it or not, funding does matter. Reduction in funding will almost certainly have an immediate impact on public school performance. The problem is in swallowing this short term cost as a transitional cost towards a longer term rebalancing that competition would bring on. No one wants to swallow that cost. But you have to at least recognize it.

    The biggest issue with vouchers is oversight. Proggies simply don't have faith that Joe and Jane Parent are going to do what's best for their kids. And in a reasonable number of cases, they are right. So you have to be willing to accept that vouchers will ultimately disadvantage the portion of the population to aren't invested in their kid's education. Now, these same parents aren't doing much for their kids while they attend public school. But you're going to lose the independent oversight when you allow the parents to put their kids wherever, and the parents don't invest much in caring.

    So then the big question is...so what? Is it really so important to try to mitigate the effects of bad parents in order to justify the force component of public schools? I don't think so. I think the downsides of the public monopoly outweigh the downsides of giving bad parents more freedom. But I think you should be arguing from that perspective rather than the ridiculous Titanic analogy.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Reduction in funding will almost certainly have an immediate impact on public school performance.

    Not if it's achieved by firing the tons of useless administrators who have cropped up over the past thirty years or so. Why do schools need 5 assistant principals?

  • ||

    Why do schools need 5 assistant principals?

    Primarily due to increased liability and regulatory costs.

  • anon||

    Primarily due to increased liability and regulatory costs.

    Oh sweet irony.

  • ||

    It's like he's not reading what people are typing.

  • tarran||

    Look, like it or not, funding does matter. Reduction in funding will almost certainly have an immediate impact on public school performance.

    How so? The amount of funding is irrelevant to the educating that goes on. Literally, study after study shows the same degree of performance regardless of how much money is thrown into the malfunctioning system.

    It's Deming's red bead experiment brought to life.

  • Zeb||

    Increasing funding doesn't seem to be tied to any improvement. But that does not necessarily mean that reducing funding won't hurt. Particularly when you consider that when forced to make cuts, they will probably cut things that will cause the most harm and will be noticed by parents. They won't reduce administration costs, they'll increase class sizes and cut art classes or something.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    This is why govt departments shouldn't be able to decide where to make cuts, they'll just "close the Washington monument" in order to maximize the people's pain.

    Legislative bodies should not only cut budgets, but specify that the cuts must come first and foremost out of administrative bloat.

  • Ted S.||

    **** you. ;-)

  • Ted S.||

    Particularly when you consider that when forced to make cuts, they will probably cut things that will cause the most harm and will be noticed by parents.

    This of course is deliberate, just like closing down the national monuments during the government "shutdown".

  • WTF||

    Bingo. Public Education spending has approximately tripled (in real inflation-controlled dollars) since the 1970s with no improvement in academic outcomes or achievement.

  • ||

    Why the fuck in any way do you think this has anything to do with "mitigating bad parents"? There are quotes above from people saying that you should sacrifice your own child's education to further the collective system. They want people to be bad parents in order to further the collective.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    What if what Irish says supra about that is true?

    I think I would be physically tired if I walked around with just a fraction of the hate and utter contempt you had for those you disagree with politically.

  • wareagle||

    and that's the difference between Epi and those whom he despises. He is upfront about it but he's not using govt money or other coercive means to require that you agree with him. His targets, meanwhile, have no hesitation at all in using force or in deploying weasel words that mask their true intentions.

  • ||

    You shouldn't bother with New Tulpa, eagle. He's too autistic to understand the simplest of comparisons.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Of course, violators of the NAP are the worst of kinds. I just actually could not live with such confident assumptions that everyone I disagreed with were so worthy of hate and scorn. I guess like Hinckle I think at least a lot of them are just misguided. I mean, I work and go to school with people who disagree with me on this, but I can hang out with them and they seem like fine people in many other ways. They are just wrong about this. It is a harmful kind of wrong, to be sure, and I would never feel embarrassed to tell them they are wrong, but I can not hate them so.

  • robc||

    What does saying that someone is evil have to do with hate?

    And, then again, on the other hand, as a Christian Im told to hate evil.

    But on the gripping hand, Im supposed to love the sinner.

  • Lady Bertrum||

    How dare Epi try to not force people to do what he believes is morally best??!!

  • R C Dean||

    Here's the deal, though:

    Charter schools, etc. typically don't reduce the total public funding. They just redirect some of it away from government schools.

    Will that hurt them? Sure, if they're bad managers. But now we're talking about bad management, not education funding.

    The question is, what are your priorities? Maintaining high levels of funding for government schools, or allowing at least some students to get a better education?

    And, no, I don't take some prog's word that a given home or charter school arrangement isn't what's best for the kids. That's for the parent's to say, not some bureaucrat or union shill.

  • anon||

    Will that hurt them? Sure, if they're bad managers.

    So, yes.

    The question is, what are your priorities? Maintaining high levels of funding for government schools, or allowing at least some students to get a better education?

    Government's goal is to attain a monopoly on education guaranteeing them an endless stream of plebeians that will heed their every whim without questions; therefore, it is not in their interest to have competition.

  • The Rt. Hon. Serious Man, Visc||

    The very idea that bad government actors are penalized for not performing well is abhorrent to liberals who want a one-size-fits-all government solution to education and other areas.

    What's best for you and yours personally is of no concern since it's all about the collective.

  • ||

    They just redirect some of it away from government schools.

    Well of course. And thus you're dealing with economy of scale issues. A 5% reduction in across the board student enrollment does not translate into a 5% reduction in expenses. You need to have much larger reductions to be able to have concurrent staffing changes. But yet, still, the 5% then vanishes from the district budget.

    Not every district is simply the victim of bad school boards with bad management. 5% can matter. And hurt. That's the short term pain that will come. Eventually, once price discovery in a more competitive market ends up reducing compensation, teacher costs will decline and those adjustments can be made. But in the meantime...public schools will undeniably suffer some negative consequences.

  • tarran||

    You need to have much larger reductions to be able to have concurrent staffing changes.

    Pure horseshit! You lay off a teacher and shift the kids to other classes. You fire an administrator. You cancel underwater basket-weaving.

    You take up a collection for school supplies from the parents.

    Unless its a small school with 60 students, the scaling is actually straightforward...

    The notion that it isn't is a lie spread by the extortionists using children as human shields.

  • ||

    You lay off a teacher and shift the kids to other classes

    5% means two kids per class, and that's with class sizes of 30 kids, which is unusually large. Which teacher do you lay off?

    You cancel underwater basket-weaving.

    Really? That's you're go-to? Assuming that all Public Schools are 10% fluff? What about when that assumption doesn't hold up?

  • tarran||

    My first grade class had 72 kids and one teacher.

    My seconde grade class had 63 kids and the same teacher.

    In third grade my family moved to the U.S. and I entered the public school system here, and in one of the best school systems in MA, I learned no new math until 6th grade.

    I find the notion that one teacher can't teach 40 kids quite risible, frankly.

    It would be a charming superstition if it weren't so destructive.

    The current public school system is a job padding racket using children as human shields.

  • ||

    I find the notion that one teacher can't teach 40 kids quite risible, frankly.

    I'm not prepared to argue that. But I think the over 30 student ratio left the barn in the US long long ago. Good luck basing your argument on changing that.

  • tarran||

    Okey, so were no longer arguing that the schools can't cut spending by 5% commensurate to a 5% loss of funding, but that they won't want to.

    I'm glad we cleared that up.

  • ||

    No. You're moving the goalposts and arguing that they don't need to cut funding as long as they increase class sizes to levels unseen in this country in 50 years.

    I'm arguing that that's politically/functionally not feasible in today's US. No parent/educator/administrator is going to accept that, except for apparently your parents.

    Good luck with that.

  • tarran||

    MP.

    I got bad news for you.

    People who read this board tend to be literate enough that they will read your posts and understand exactly what you are arguing.

    Changing the goal posts and then accusing others of having done so is not going to make you many fans.

    Hell, you aren't even very good at it. You should go back and read a few of Tulpa's comments to learn the trick of it.

    It won't help much; we called him on his bullshit too.

  • ||

    Changing the goal posts and then accusing others of having done so is not going to make you many fans.

    FFS, do I really need to disclaimer my posts my saying "I'm assuming politically feasible?".

    I would suggest that it's a rather bold, outside of the box argument, to argue that the solution is for far larger class sizes. That doesn't make it wrong. But I think that's well outside of what one might be able to successfully argue when discussing how local school districts might handle funding shortfalls in the near and long term.

    Go on. Give it a shot. Try arguing for classroom sizes of 60 kids.

    Fucking go for it.

    And yet I'm moving the goalposts.

    Really.

  • tarran||

    Riiiiggght MP.

    Because a 5% increase in a class size of 30... ie going to 32 kids from 30 is totally the same as going from 30 to 60 kids.

    I withdraw my suggestion you read ol' Tulpa's comments. I see you are laready a gold star graduate of his school of argumenting.

    I salute you sir.

  • ||

    Because a 5% increase in a class size of 30... ie going to 32 kids from 30 is totally the same as going from 30 to 60 kids.

    Now I seriously have no idea what the fuck you're talking about. You appear to be making the claim that you can always rebalance. No. Fucking. Way.

    Look, if I recall correctly, you're from MA. You must be familiar with an array of public schools. Quite a few, once you get outside of the greater Boston area, have schools with maybe 2 teachers per grade. Sometimes only 1. You simply can't rebalance in those schools when you're dealing with marginal differences in enrollment.

    Maybe my perspective is skewed. I'm not familiar with how massive schools like LA/NYC/DC run. Maybe those are easier to rebalance when the school has 15 first grade teachers. I'm much more familiar with suburban/rural schools.

  • Marshall Gill||

    The current public school system is a job padding racket using children as human shields.

    Consider that one stolen.

  • R C Dean||

    MP, I work in a hospital. We have large fixed costs for plant and equipment (like schools). We also have large staffing costs.

    But here's the deal: our "enrollment" varies every single day, not just a few times a year. Yet we manage to flex our costs to accomodate these daily changes.

    Why can't the schools do likewise?

  • WTF||

    I'm gonna guess because MP is an 'educator' who is terrified of the Gravy Train being cut back.

  • ||

    Couldn't be more wrong.

  • ||

    Because hospital staffing is still function of being able to accommodate (to some degree) max peak.

    And if you want to ask why public schools can't even remotely be so flexible, look no further than labor laws.

    Look, the Federal government has made a huge mess of things. Regulations. Liability. Unions. But still...it's there. And you can't talk about changing budgets without having that discussion in the context of the whole shitstorm mess that schools find themselves in.

    And you can't simply wish the Federal shitstorm away either, or base your funding discussions while assuming it doesn't exist. It's real. It's the panapoly of Federal and State labor and education and disability laws that that drive much of the funding at the public school level.

    As regulated as hospitals are, public schools are under a much bigger thumb, because they are public.

  • robc||

    The question I like to ask:

    Are you in favor of public education or public schools?

    Funding public education can be done via vouchers to private schools, it still funds the public. In fact, it can be done cheaper than with public schools.

    You see quickly what people are really supporting.

    /insert SLDs as necessary.

  • ||

    Are you in favor of public education or public schools

    Neither. But that's because I'm willing to accept that there will be adverse consequences, including poorly educated kids who had potential but couldn't achieve because either their parents didn't really care enough or couldn't afford it.

    Good luck finding that attitude in the general population.

  • Ayn Random Variation||

    "Neither. But that's because I'm willing to accept that there will be adverse consequences, including poorly educated kids who had potential but couldn't achieve because either their parents didn't really care enough or couldn't afford it."

    Are you typing this with a straight face? Like the above doesn't happen to a large degree right now? You're implying that this would necessarily get worse in the aggregate with public education being replaced by a different system?

  • ||

    You're implying that this would necessarily get worse in the aggregate with public education being replaced by a different system?

    Not at all. I'm stating that the intention of public education is explicitly to avoid those outcomes. The failure of public education to achieve this across the board discounts its sporadic success. And the sporadic success/anecdotal evidence is what the proggies latch on to. And it becomes the basis of their worldview.

    What proggies can't accept is a worldview whereby some are guaranteed to slip through the cracks because there is no public crack filler. They are somehow able to accept a bloated, obtuse, wasteful, overly regulated "public" system as long as it establishes some sort of baseline for all.

    In my view, they don't understand aggregate cost/benefit. And they clearly have no moral concept of freedom. But they will always argue from their perceived notion of the need for a common baseline. And when you counter that with an argument of freedom = failure for some due to bad luck of birth, then you'll always end up at an impasse/Conflict of Visions/whatever.

  • Ayn Random Variation||

    Well played. I'm going to use that.

  • ||

    Since per-pupil spending in real dollars has gone up consistently for decades (until 2011), and student performance has flatlined, I presume the "impact on school performance" you note is that of pissy administrators.

  • ||

    Those numbers always fail to account for the explosion in regulatory and liability costs. Most specifically, expenditures related to special needs have risen drastically. These are Federally imposed and localities have no way to avoid these costs.

    Yes, that points a finger clearly at lawyers and the DoE. But you aren't addressing either of those issues by moving towards vouchers/charters.

  • WTF||

    The Newark, NJ, school district spends on the order of $35,000 per pupil, and their outcomes are horrible. Tell me again how spending more money helps?

  • montana mike||

    I was talking with a teacher who was whining about more money/no respect.

    I pointed out that if we didn't have the Dept of Ed (which takes taxes, bureaucratic vig, gives us our money back with strings attached requiring more admin) there would be more money locally for salaries. He just at me with a blank stare.

  • montana mike||

    looked

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    "I think the downsides of the public monopoly outweigh the downsides of giving bad parents more freedom."

    If you are factoring in not only the bad results re children's educational results but also the costs in liberty entailed, then I think this is remarkably well said.

  • robc||

    Sounds utilitarian to me.

    Fuck utilitarianism, freedom is its own reward.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Reduction in funding will almost certainly have an immediate impact on public school performance.

    Bullshit.

    The link between funding and performance in education is extremely tenuous and there is no causation at the margins.

    Meaning that losing the funding for 10 students absolutely does not produce worse results for the students still imprisoned at the school.

  • ||

    Educational performance is notoriously difficult to measure. But if you believe that a prep school's level of excellence is not tied to its level of expenditure, then, you are, quite simply, nuts.

    Obviously, there are also significant socio-economic effects that contribute to prep school performance. But still, the function of funding is undeniable.

    Frankly, I think the studies that just show raw funding increases over time are ridiculous. The educational environment is far to complicated to be reduced to a per pupil $ number.

    And NONE of this means that I think that more funding will make Public Education instantly better. However, I'm also not in denial that there is a relationship between $ and quality education. It's the strength of the relationship that is substantially overstated by proggies and is conversely out-of-hand dismissed by many here.

  • califernian||

    Educational performance is notoriously difficult to measure. But if you believe that a prep school's level of excellence is not tied to its level of expenditure, then, you are, quite simply, nuts.

    Since private schools actually cost less than public schools, you are wrong.

    Average tuition for a private school in CALIFORNIA which high cost of living and everything is 9k. NINE.

    Are you a shill?

  • ||

    Average tuition for a private school in CALIFORNIA which high cost of living and everything is 9k. NINE.

    Is that including or excluding religious schools? Because I was specifically talking about non-religious preparatory schools.

    Religious schools are always difficult to put into the cost equation because tuition is usually not a full reflection of school costs.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Average tuition for a private school in CALIFORNIA which high cost of living and everything is 9k. NINE

    A semester or a year?

  • VG Zaytsev||

    The educational environment is far to complicated to be reduced to a per pupil $ number.

    Exactly.

    Which is another way of saying that: "The link between funding and performance in education is extremely tenuous and there is no causation at the margins."

  • wareagle||

    So you have to be willing to accept that vouchers will ultimately disadvantage the portion of the population to aren't invested in their kid's education.

    why do I have to accept that? To the contrary, I would say parents that take the time to explore vouchers and choices, and the time to use those options are far more likely to be involved and invested.

    As it is, some of the nation's highest per-pupil expenditures are found in the worst-performing districts. Money, on its own, does mean magical results. Or even acceptable results. It does mean paychecks for the bureaucracy, however.

  • ||

    To the contrary, I would say parents that take the time to explore vouchers and choices, and the time to use those options are far more likely to be involved and invested.

    I'm talking about libertopia...you know...where everyone has their education funded by vouchers. In that environment, there is not the differentiation that you bring up. In that environment, where you'll have the unmotivated parents, you have to accept the consequences of putting the burden of choice on them.

  • tarran||

    MP, you are so ignorant of economics it makes my head hurt.

    Even if 90% of parents didn't give a shit about their kids (and that number is laughably higher than reality), the 10% who do are going to be the ones who are going to make or break a successful school.

    And in chasing that 10% the educators are going to be offering improvements to all 100% of their customers.

    And the phenomenon appears the moment you start allowing people to exit the monopoly.

  • ||

    the 10% who do are going to be the ones who are going to make or break a successful school

    I don't see how 10% means shit in a fully vouchered educational environment. In a fully vouchered environment, private schools will be judged on much more than educational quality. Vicinity will become a huge factor. Athletics may also see a substantial boost relative to academics.

    Frankly, I think it's pretty fucking arrogant to believe that you can project anything about how educational quality will shake out in a fully vouchered environment. In the end, it's all about incentives. And vouchers in no way influence the incentives for parents to ensure their kids to have a high quality education.

    And yet here you are, believing that parents who don't give a shit are simply going to be able to be free-riders on parents who do give a shit. And you believe that because...fuck if I know.

  • tarran||

    Oh... my... god...

    I'm saying the couchers give the producers an incentive to do a better job.

    A better job as judged by whom? The guys deciding where the kids go...

    In the modern public school system, that's the bureaucrats who really don't suffer very much if the system fails to educate a bunch of children well.

    In a voucher based system, the decision is being made by parents.

    And in the end, parents tend to make better decisions regarding their flesh and blood's well being than some total stranger who cares for them, at most, in a platonic/abstract way.

    BTW, I'm opposed to vouchers, because they suck, albeit much less than the modern state-operated public school system. I'm opposed to them because in the end the state, disbursing the money, will be still in control, just not operating the schools directly.

  • tarran||

    And yet here you are, believing that parents who don't give a shit are simply going to be able to be free-riders on parents who do give a shit. And you believe that because...fuck if I know.

    Because I acutally am not as ignorant of economics as you are.

    I mean, if you were right, we'd all be driving Ford Pintos right now, because 90% of people who don't give a shit about cars can't free ride off the purchasing decisions of the 10% who do.

  • ||

    I'm saying the couchers give the producers an incentive to do a better job.

    I'm not denying that. But defining "better job" is still open, arbitrary, and leaves plenty of room for bad actors who will be able to extract voucher funds from unconcerned parents.

    Now...does that mean that therefore monopolized state run education is the best of a bad situation? No, I'm not arguing that. But you appear to be arguing that vouchers would lead to revolutionary, rather than simply incremental improvements.

    My point is that bad shit is going to happen no matter what. Public Education. Vouchers. tarran's private funding libertopia. The question is always the level/type of bad shit that society will ultimately be willing to tolerate.

    Most state run solutions start off as a believe that state run command and control will eliminate bad shit. Well guess what. It does. But it also leads to a whole crop of different bad shit. And the new bad shit probably outweighs the old bad shit.

    But you can't avoid talking about bad shit altogether. That's what Hinkle is doing. Pretending that the people who are opposed to vouchers aren't doing so because they fear legitimate bad shit. They do fear bad shit. AND IT'S LEGITIMATE.

    The question is which is worse.

  • tarran||

    But you appear to be arguing that vouchers would lead to revolutionary, rather than simply incremental improvements.

    Compare a modern Toyota Camry to a horse drawn carriage.

    Incremental improvements will - given time - spawn revolutionary changes.

  • ||

    You're still dodging my point.

    The argument is about competing trade-offs. The Titanic analogy is just stupid. That was, and remains, my point.

  • wareagle||

    that's twice you have raised "fully vouchered" as though it means something. It doesn't. Such a system would be no different than the current one where geography mandates where kids go. Vouchers put parents in the game, give them some skin in it. That some parents find this not just attractive, but damn near imperative for their kids, speaks to their motivation.

    Parents who don't give a shit have no use for vouchers. Too much time and trouble to fill out the forms, to worry about taking their kiddies to school and fro, etc.

    The crux of the public system's problem is the educrats' believe in "full" something. Most of them hate vouchers, they have charters, they hate home schoolers. Each of those options requires some level of parental input beyond the status quo.

  • mr simple||

    But that is the beauty of the totally free market. In such an instance the poor performing schools would not be around long. SO even the parents who do not want to invest their time in finding the best fit for their child would still most likely be sending their kid to a good school. The only way this wouldn't happen is if there were enough children of bad parents to support a poorly performing school and they all went to the same school. I think most parents would at least give a glancing fuck enough to send their kids to a school their friends, neighbors or local news said was good and not bad.

  • Marshall Gill||

    I'm talking about libertopia...you know...where everyone has their education funded by vouchers

    I don't know about anyone else, but one of the key features of *my* Libertopia is that there is not any massive wealth transfer to fund "education".

  • kbolino||

    Look, like it or not, funding does matter

    Fine, then offer a voucher for some fraction of the per-pupil spending. If the parents decide to take it, then voila the school has more money to spend on fewer students.

    The biggest issue with vouchers is oversight.

    Funny, that's the biggest issue with public schools. The amount of oversight continues to grow, and the outcomes continue to drop.

    Proggies simply don't have faith that Joe and Jane Parent are going to do what's best for their kids. And in a reasonable number of cases, they are right.

    Which differs from the current system how, exactly? Ask a teacher how well he can do his job when the student's parents don't give a shit.

    But I think you should be arguing from that perspective rather than the ridiculous Titanic analogy.

    The problem is that people don't want to accept what is. They have a fantasy land view of public schools, because they went to the good ones, and they "turned out alright".

    What they refuse to accept is this is the same damn situation as before public schools even existed. Proggies keep doing things that don't work and then excusing them because they had good intentions.

    The problem is that all of their solutions are heavy handed, and so we end up paying huge costs for no benefit, and those costs are always passed along to those who can least afford to bear them.

    Then they blame it all on their opponents, and the cycle starts anew.

  • Raven Nation||

    OT, and apologies if already posted today, restricting gun carrying may cause higher murder rates:

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....095556.htm

    Closing sentence: "In conclusion it would appear that limiting people's ability to carry concealed weapons may in fact cause murder rates to rise. Gius does admit that more research is warranted in this area."

    Be interesting to see the response of the "science proves" folks to this.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    The science is settled.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    SFed the link.

  • Raven Nation||

    Weird: the whole ScienceDaily site is pulling up blank pages right now.

  • Raven Nation||

  • The Rt. Hon. Serious Man, Visc||

    Oh, and if any of you want to purge that Richard Simmons video from your minds, I suggest you watch the most recent episode of 'True Detective'.

    Naked Alexandra Daddario (SFW) makes everything better.

  • ||

    She was on an episode of Always Sunny. Very, very nice. It was the one where Dee and Charlie meet the rich people and they pull a "Dangerous Liasons" move on each other.

  • The Rt. Hon. Serious Man, Visc||

    But does she pass the Sarcasmic test?

  • ||

    Who cares? She passes my test.

  • Lady Bertrum||

    Not commenting on the relative attractiveness of Alexandra, but the first two episodes of True Detective have been interesting. Creepy and atmospheric and both Harrelson and McConaughey are excellent.

  • Irish||

    They were good, but I don't care about your comment since you refuse to comment on the attractiveness of Alexandra.

    Come on. When Jesse posts a picture of some mancrush he has, I have no compunctions about admitting when he's a slamming hottie who proves Jesse has good taste.

    ...You guys know I'm straight, right?

  • ||

    Hey Irish, I'm the gayest monster since gay came to Gaytown! Get your own gig!

  • Lady Bertrum||

    I'll acquiesce to your point. I saw the episode last night and thought at the time that she does have awesome boobs - natural and quite big. If you like that sort of thing.

  • The Rt. Hon. Serious Man, Visc||

    To address your original point, yes, it is a pretty great show which effectively uses the frame story narrative and creates this disquieting sense of decay in 1995 Louisiana.

    But yeah, her boobs are perfect. I mean they looked spectacular when she answered the door braless and in a thin t-shirt.

  • Radioactive||

    and who doesn't like natural and quite large boobs? come on who? natural and quite large boobs make the world go round

  • Certified Public Asskicker||

    I read through this entire thread to find the comment on boobs.

    Natural and big? Yes please.

  • KB Check Release||

    Radio I disagree.

    The thought of natural and quite large boobs make the world go round.

    There still won't be enough for everybody who covets them. Prove me wrong, and I just might pledge allegiance to you.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    “They gave a new definition to democracy,” de Blasio once said.

    Yes they did. A five-man junta controlled solely by the Sandanistas that could pass laws laws with just three votes. And a "Council of State" with only three seats held by parties not part of, or allied with, te Sandanistas.

    A new definition indeed. Coming soon to a New York near you.

    Critics of parental choice point out that charters and voucher programs have shown mixed results.

    When public schools fail and consign their charges to a life of ignorance and mediocrity, we just need to tweak it a bit and send more money.

    When charter schools don't produce a 100% across the board improvement, it is a failure and we must kill it and by the way, send more money to the public schools.

  • The Rt. Hon. Serious Man, Visc||

    Yes they did. A five-man junta controlled solely by the Sandanistas that could pass laws laws with just three votes. And a "Council of State" with only three seats held by parties not part of, or allied with, te Sandanistas.

    I mentioned this yesterday, but I had a community college professor--a devout democratic socialist--who spent time in Nicaragua during the 80s and became pretty unhinged and angry when someone criticized the authoritarian nature of the Sandinistas and launched into an anti-capitalist, anti-Reagan tirade.

    But yeah, apparently one-party rule is pretty awesome if you get to boss around your class enemies.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Disenfranchisement isn't bad when it happens to bourgeosie and wreckers and kulaks and counterrevolutionaries. They brought it on themselves by opposing the people's revolution.

    *This is what socialists actually believe*

  • ||

    Ah, the classic "my system is a demonstrated failure, but your system has some flaws so I demand it be perfect and that's why it can never be" argument.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Yes. The good is the enemy of the perfect and the bad is the enemy of them both, so the bad resists the good while trying claiming to support the perfect in hope of living a little while longer.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    "This doesn’t make them wicked. It just makes them wrong"


    If they believe it, they are deranged. If they DON'T believe it, but assert it anyway, then they ARE evil.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    This is NOT rocket surgery.

    Charter schools mean competition. Competition means employees must work hard to make their system better. Teachers have NEVER had to work hard. Teaches like their cushy do nothing jobs (with summers off).

    So.

    Teachers like the status quo. Teaches don't want charters because it will force them to work. Teachers vote progressive. Progressive politicians are against charter schools. Progressive politicians make up any excuse to discredit charters.

    It's shitbags all the way down.

    There is no job private industry can do that government can't do. But there is no job government can do efficiently.

  • sarcasmic||

    Show me someone who "Supports education" and I'll show you someone who supports teachers unions at the expense of students.

  • playa manhattan||

    Somebody much smarter than me posted a comment here to this effect a few years ago:

    The public school system is a retirement ponzi scheme that uses children as human shields.

  • playa manhattan||

    You don't even want to know how much my kid's kindergarten teacher makes.

    But I'm going to tell you anyway. Base salary is about $70K, plus full bennies and retirement package, and paid vacation. Her workday is from 11:20 AM to 2:45 PM, a total of 3 hours and 20 minutes per day, 5 days a week.

    Thanksgiving is now a week long holiday, Xmas is 2 weeks, Another week long holiday in Feb, and a week off for spring break in April. That's a grand total of 5 weeks off that aren't included in the paid vacation package.

    I've said it before and I'll say it again: Public school teaching is a part time job.

  • wareagle||

    but but but California. Cost of living!

    /educrat derp

  • ||

    Nice scam if you can get it, right?

  • The Rt. Hon. Serious Man, Visc||

    Yeah, my oldest sister is in school to get her teaching credentials.

    She says she received some tips from current teachers who predict a large number of tenured teachers will be retiring in the near future, to the benefit of newer teachers.

  • ||

    My cousin was a high school math teacher for five years. This is a guy who would have no qualms working a cush job for good pay, and even he got out of it because it was, as he put it, "total bullshit". I shudder to think of the mentality of those who enjoy and flourish in the system.

  • The Rt. Hon. Serious Man, Visc||

    My entire K-12 education was in public school and I had some bad teachers but I also many good teachers that cared.

    In fact, my last two AP English teachers were avowed libertarians, one even being an Objectivist. They were not afraid to point out all the bureaucracy bullshit.

  • playa manhattan||

    What about UCI? You're K-16 public education...

  • playa manhattan||

    If she marries an airline employee, it will be the perfect scam. Free vacation and free travel.

    Because our public employees DESERVE to go to Machu Picchu for Thanksgiving.

  • Zeb||

    I have no idea how many teachers actually give a fuck, but those that do work a whole lot more than the required hours that you describe. They still get months of vacation every year and I don't think many have anything to complain about in terms of pay, but there are a lot who do more than the minimum. A big problem is that those teachers generally can't be rewarded for actually caring if they don't have the proper seniority.

    I am also amazed at the variation in how teachers are paid in public schools. You see insane things like $70k for teaching one session of Kindergarten, but in some places starting pay for a teacher is really pretty low.

  • playa manhattan||

    The high pay here is a testament to how fucked up CA is. The CTA has every political candidate at every level by the balls.

  • Ayn Random Variation||

    Can't believe I had to scroll this far down to get to the correct answer!

  • The Late P Brooks||

    The biggest issue with vouchers is oversight. Proggies simply don't have faith that Joe and Jane Parent are going to do what's best for their kids. And in a reasonable number of cases, they are right.

    Fuck

    off.

  • KB Check Release||

    This reminds me of a good friend of mine from college who is a total proggie.

    He has stated, a few times this year, that he hates Phillip Rivers because they guy has 7 kids and home schools them all.

    Mind you I haven't researched any of this because I don't really care, but the notion still makes me sick. The personal being the political really is an ugly disease.

  • Irish||

    Deadspin attacked Rivers for having 7 kids as well.

    I have yet to see the Deadspin article attacking Antonio Cromartie for having 12 kids with 8 women.

    It's fairly obvious that they just hate 'mainstream' or 'bourgeoisie' morality and never stop to consider that mainstream morality results in successful people. A wealthy guy having 7 kids with the woman he married will support them and provide them with a good life. Antonio Cromartie is going to end up bankrupt due to supporting 8 baby mamas and his children will then live lives of poverty and deprivation.

    Progressives attack the first of the two. It's a vile mindset that actively breeds failure.

  • The Rt. Hon. Serious Man, Visc||

    Apparently they were mocking him years back for promoting youth abstinence.

    I think you pretty much nail it with the hatred of his morality and how his idyllic life might serve as a dangerous examples of others.

  • John||

    They hate anything mainstream and anything religious. Another good example of this is how feminists are outraged every time some well known women comes out and says she obeys her husband or tries to please him. In contrast, feminists criticism of the BDSM lifestyle, while it exists, is much more muted. The difference is letting someone beat you and rule your life in the name of sexual pleasure is great. Deferring to your partners wishes in the name of religious beliefs or any sort of bourgeoisie values is horrible.

  • SusanM||

    In contrast, feminists criticism of the BDSM lifestyle, while it exists, is much more muted.

    Not quite. It's just that BDSM doesn't get too far overground so that they notice it all that much. And even when it does pop up it's usually more to do with leathermen/leatherdykes or Dommes so it's really more of a "meh".

  • Ayn Random Variation||

    I remember when Cromartie signed with the Jets he had to ask for an advance.
    He will be broke the minute he retires.

  • wareagle||

    Rivers is a Catholic, married to his high-school sweetheart (I think), has never made the news for the usual stupid reasons, seems a stand-up guy, and yes, has seven children, with the same woman. None of whom he is asking someone else to raise, feed, or pay for. What a horrid human being.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    "None of whom he is asking someone else to raise, feed, or pay for."

    This. Who cares how many children someone has as long as they are taking care of them? Have a 100 for all I care.

  • lap83||

    How do progs reconcile their prejudice with the fact that homeschool used to be the norm? Do they actually believe that the average modern public school educated person is smarter than the average person would have been 150 years ago?

  • KB Check Release||

    Well lap83, the constitution was over 100 years ago so even the most strident proggie can probably find that

    100-150 = 50. Thus making homeschooling more outdated than the constitution.

  • Irish||

    The average public school person is smarter than the average person 150 years ago.

    That's not because public schooling is better than home schooling. It's because 150 years ago a large percentage of the population didn't have enough money to buy books or give their children any sort of education. What kind of education is a 14 year old getting when his days are consumed by 12 hours of farm work?

    It's pretty obvious that the average person in 2014 is smarter than the average person in 1864 so that's not the best argument.

  • robc||

    The average politician was smarter 250 years ago than today.

    Not sure what, if anything, that says about public schools, but minds like Jefferson and Adams and Henry and Franklin and Washington and etc, etc arent getting elected today.

  • Irish||

    I think the upper echelons of American society were certainly better in the early 1800s but that says nothing about averages.

    That was kind of a fluke generation though. By the time a hack populist like Andrew Jackson was being elected, which was only really one generation after the founders, the intelligent American politician was pretty much already dead.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    The average public school person is smarter than the average person 150 years ago.

    I don't think so.

  • John||

    Wendy Davis, got her second husband to pay her way through Harvard Law School and then walked out on him and their children the day after he made the last payment on her student loans.

    http://hotair.com/archives/201.....revisions/

    She is a real role model for women alright. And to think if an honest hooker tried to run for governor, feminists would have a stroke.

  • PapayaSF||

    Her candidacy is just going to be a money sink for Democrats. Unless the GOP candidate is caught murdering someone, she has no chance. Maybe not even then.

  • John||

    She walked out and left her daughter from her first marriage with her second husband. That is not going to play with a lot of women in Texas. If she can't get the soccer mom vote, she can't win, period.

    But she will draw a lot of money that could go to races where the candidate has a chance. So, you are right, she is going to suck the Democrats dry.

  • Loki||

    Wendy Davis, got her second husband to pay her way through Harvard Law School and then walked out on him and their children the day after he made the last payment on her student loans.
    ...
    So, you are right, she is going to suck the Democrats dry.

    I see a pattern here...

  • OneOut||

    "she can't win, period."

    She can't win. Period.

  • Fluffy||

    They sincerely believe that giving poor families the same opportunity to choose education alternatives that rich families have would be a big mistake: If you make everybody stay on the Titanic, then maybe it won’t sink as fast. This doesn’t make them wicked.

    Of course it does.

    This is plain old run of the mill hostage taking.

    They openly advocate forcing all kids into the same schools so that their parents will be "invested in everyone's success". They ROUTINELY argue that in both education and medical care if they were just permitted to FORCE rich people to use the public systems, the rich would "make sure those systems work".

    Sorry, that's evil.

    "I won't let you educate your kid until you can magically find a way to educate my thug mongoloid offspring too" = evil.

    What if it was "I won't let you feed your kid unless you feed mine too" or "I won't let your kid breathe until my kid gets a lung transplant"? Yup, evil.

    And this is evil too.

  • John||

    It is totally evil. Did you see this

    http://nypost.com/2014/01/19/c.....-since-05/

    They will call someone like Clarence Thomas a "race traitor". Yet, the black principal of this school stole hundreds of thousands of dollars and ran a school where she was wearing mink coats and the kids, nearly all of whom were black, didn't have any textbooks. And since NYC doesn't have school choice, there wasn't a damn thing the parents could do about it. No one cared what they thought. It only changed when the New York Post bothered to investigate it.

  • WTF||

    And of course many teachers complained about her antics, in writing and on the record, but nothing was ever done because being both black AND a woman she was virtually untouchable as far as any attempts at discipline.

  • PapayaSF||

    I was going to post that. Just amazing. I suppose there isn't a huge outcry about it because she's black.

  • John||

    There should be more of an outcry because she is black. If they are going to be tribal, how about holding the tribe to account once in a while.

  • PapayaSF||

    Once again, you insist on oppressing people with your white-privileged, cisgendered logic.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Sills, 48, was a graduate of the DOE’s “Leadership Academy,” which trains principals, and had little teaching experience. Insiders said she lacked literacy skills, noting her invitation to a Nov. 23, 2005, holiday buffet “in honor of my gradutitude” to employees, including “security personel” and “custodially staff members.”

    So a greedy, lying, self-centered, racist, unqualified-to-be-dog-catcher, petty bureaucrat is allowed to run a public school like her own personal fiefdom for years to the detriment of the children.

    And yet, parents should not look for better solutions in vouchers or charter schools because...?

  • John||

    Parents will just waste that money and not educate their kids. I really hate these people.

  • RishJoMo||

    Dude that makes no sense at all man.

    www.Anon-VPN.com

  • Acosmist||

    Once again, charter schools are actually a scam. They get taxpayers to fund them, so, as best, it's crony capitalist. They get their better results by selecting students, including keeping disabled kids out, because those kids will cost a lot of money. The regular public schools end up having to educate them (why? because there are mandates that they HAVE to, that's why!). Because charters can select smarter students, use more stringent discipline to outsource problem students to the regular public system, and exclude those whose education would be subject to expensive mandates, they end up putting up better numbers for less money than the public school. Not because they did any better, but because they only took the students that didn't need help in the first place, and were cheap to educate.

    Any school that can do that is going to have good numbers. If you gave me a school with nothing but the children of Nobel laureates, hell, I'd take you up on it, especially if I could foist the bill on the taxpayer.

    I understand the resistance to public schools, because, well, you know, that whole taking-money-at-gunpoint thing, plus the education bureaucracy sucks. And the charters are manipulating your distaste for public schools to tout themselves as the answer. It's exactly, EXACTLY, like that guy in Nevada you just profiled, who runs the legal brothel. He profits by using the government to create an unlevel playing field. (cont)

  • Acosmist||

    Charters are garbage if you compare apples to apples.


    I have no objection to vouchers, since that's merely giving some money back for parents to make choices. I'm in favor of repealing all the taxes that fund schools entirely, so parents can just pay for where they want their kids to go, and with such a reduction in tax burden, I'm confident people would have enough extra money to fund charities for poor parents who can't afford the school of their choice. Charters are not that at all, and are about as anti-libertarian as school choice can get - privatize profits, socialize costs. Fuck that.

  • KB Check Release||

    Acosmist you are very incorrect in my opinion. Saying charters are the worst option is insane.

    You assume they all work the same and actively choose kids to enroll. That is certainly not what I saw in "Waiting for Superman" which is my most in-depth look at charters.

  • sarcasmic||

    Because charters can select smarter students, use more stringent discipline to outsource problem students to the regular public system, and exclude those whose education would be subject to expensive mandates, they end up putting up better numbers for less money than the public school.

    Even if that is true, don't you think that is a better learning environment than the alternative? Perhaps it's a bit of both, and the kids actually do do better because there is less disruption.

  • PapayaSF||

    I have no problem with the public schools being left with the "worst students." They can then specialize in helping them, without having to hold back the better students.

  • KB Check Release||

    Seriously, If I had the income and status of Phillip Rivers I would do the same thing.

    Marry a slamming hottie who badly wants to be a mother, and knock her up 3-5 times (7 seems like a lot to me), with the understanding that we will take full responsibility for them and their upbringing.

    I think it would be a real fantasy life to have a great marriage and like 4 boys to raise and actually get to spend a lot of time with them.

    No ill-will towards the women here, I grew up with a brother and having a few more would have been epic. Backyard football games etc...

  • John||

    Bug families are a lot of fun if they have good parents and the means to support everyone. I bet Rivers goes home to his nice wife and his kids and really enjoys life. Good for him. Something tells me the fact that he is happy and doesn't give a fuck about what anyone thinks is one of the bigger reason Progs like to bitch about his choices.

  • KB Check Release||

    Totally agree John.

    I really get a kick out of Rivers' old school southern tenacity. That interview he had after the game against the Chiefs when he and Andy Reid were jawing at each other really brought a smile to my face.

    Rivers basically said in the press conference that he really likes Andy Reid, respects the heck out of him, BECAUSE Andy was just as intense about whatever spot, or penalty, or whatever that transpired. Once the game is over it's over, but until then nobody is spared from the competitive spirit. I really love that stuff.

    Now as far as kids and the not breeding them if you can't feed em, my dad was the 3rd of 5 in a lower-middle class Italian Family and he has described how they got by and how he came to loathe my younger brother having to wear pass-downs and such.

  • Fluffy||

    They get their better results by selecting students, including keeping disabled kids out, because those kids will cost a lot of money.

    No, they don't.

    In MA at least the average charter school has a higher percentage of minority and disabled kids than their sending districts.

  • John||

    Charter schools mostly arise in shitty areas where the regular schools suck. No one ever starts a charter school in some top flight suburban school district. Why would you? The schools are already good.

  • KB Check Release||

    They should though. I went to a 'good' suburban school with high achieving kids. Harvard, Princeton, Duke, MIT and those kids were really smart.

    We still had freaking burnouts and hoods and kids that prolly aren't going anywhere in life. In fact being in classes with these degenerates my sophomore year inspired me to take way more Honors / AP classes. I found that even proggie nerds are way better to be around than underachieving losers.

    Also, still had teachers that didn't give a shit. Not all of them, but certainly too many IMHO.

  • John||

    True. Sometimes they do. There is a specialized math and science charter high school in one of the better areas of NOVA in Washington and it was at least a couple of years ago ranked the best high school in the country, public or private.

  • Loki||

    They sincerely believe that giving poor families the same opportunity to choose education alternatives that rich families have would be a big mistake

    Progs aren't interested in giving everyone the same opportunity, when they talk about equality they mean equality of outcomes, not opportunity. If those equal outcomes mean that everyone gets a shitty education, then so be it. Because "fairness."

  • ||

    I remember when the Chicago teachers went on strike and I knew an acquaintance who Mother is a teacher at CPS. Anyway, she decided that she wanted to debate me on Facebook about the strike and tried to make me look like an asshole for support some of the reforms that Rahm wanted to implement. So then I asked her where did she live. She responded that she lived in a predominantly Polish area on the Southside of Chicago. So then I asked her which school she went to? She hesitated answering me, but she did anyway. She went to Nazareth Academy in the middle to upper class suburb in La Grange Illinois. Seriously. Nazareth is where all the doctors and other professionals send their children.

    Anyway asked her why does she get an opportunity to not go to CPS (where her mother teaches mind you) but a poor black kid who you claim to care about has no option and have to stay in a shitty system that is constantly screwing him over?

    She really had no answer for this but got really mad at me and said that I don't care about poor people. Seriously.

  • 0x90||

    My K-12 education was split roughly in thirds between public school, home school, and private school, in that order, but not in contiguous blocks. Meaning, I was always changing my mind about what I wanted to do, so I'd, say, home school for the first half of the third grade, before deciding I wanted to go back to the public school for the second half, or home school for fourth grade, before returning to the public school for fifth & sixth. A couple things I notice, looking back:

    1. Both times returning to public school, I had to skip ahead a grade or two in some subjects. Meaning, though we had the standard one-class-all-day elementary setup, upon going back to public to finish third grade, they'd run some tests, and I'd have to go over to the fifth grade class, for example, for reading. It just seemed they must have been moving things along at a very slow pace in the public school, especially given that I always felt I slacked off a good deal when home schooling.

    2. It's been pretty interesting, in hindsight, to have been able to have experienced all three, and to then compare and contrast them, socially. I don't think it is especially healthy for a kid to spend the whole time in one or the other: you have the isolation of home school, the cultural insulation of small private school, and the stratified cliquishness of the large public school.

    All in all, though it might seem a weird setup to some, personally, I wouldn't go back and change anything.

  • PapayaSF||

    My sister's kid homeschools her boy, and he's not isolated at all. They have group activities with other parents who homeschool.

  • 0x90||

    Comparatively speaking, I'd probably still call it isolated; at least, far more than being six hours a day with sixty other kids, or six-hundred. And in my particular case, we're talking over thirty years ago, now -- there weren't many others around, as far as I know.

  • Sevo||

    I didn't socialize with school mates when I was a yute. The neighborhood was the organization that provided friends and playmates.
    I've never bought the claim that schools do so.

  • Zeb||

    That's going to depend on where you are. If you live in a neighborhood where there are lots of other kids, sure. But in more rural situations, school is often the place that kids have to meet and interact with a bunch of different people of similar ages.

  • KB Check Release||

    That is a good point Zeb.

    That said, and I could be very wrong, I would guess rural areas tend to have better senses of community and fellow man or fellow family which could more easily lend to kids meeting each other.

    Obviously I mean sense of community regarding voluntary actions and again that might be a foolish assumption on my part as a kid who grew up in the 'burbs.

  • Zeb||

    Homeschools kids aren't isolated in the sense that they never see other kids, but with religious conservatives and other weirdos they can be isolated from broader society to some extent. I have some cousins who were brought up that way and they were not all that well prepared for life in the big bad world. But they've managed to figure things out OK and wouldn't say that they were particularly damaged by it.

    I think there is something to the idea that school gives kids a broader experience and better socialization. It certainly was that for me. But I may not be typical. I pretty much got on with everyone and honestly never noticed the meanness and cliquishness that you typically hear about in high schools.

  • robc||

    I would think those families would also be more likely to have multiple kids and thus the socialization would already be covered.

  • Zeb||

    Socialization among your immediate family is going to be somewhat limited. I think there is something to meeting a lot of people from different backgrounds and in situations where you can choose what kind of relationship you want to have with them.

    Of course, this is just my view of things and parents have the right to decide what the best way to educate and socialize their children is.

  • 0x90||

    That's more the sense I meant -- ideological isolation. It wouldn't have to be any particular kind, religious or otherwise, it could easily be, for example, full-on libertarian, marxist, etc, parents home-schooling in a perhaps subconscious attempt to keep their kid in an ideological cocoon where everything's been tied up in a neat bundle. Which then falls apart the first time the kid gets out and is seriously challenged, and begins to realize that there's no one set of answers to all life's questions. I tend to think that's also basically your classic "rebellious pastor's kid" syndrome -- if you try too hard, it's going to backfire, and you get exactly what you were trying to avoid in the first place.

  • Mainer2||

    New Hampshire instituted a very modest tax credit for scholarships (up to $2,500, which isn't going to cover a full ride anywhere)when the Republicans controlled state government. When the Dems took over in the last cycle, it has been under attack and is now going to our state supreme court. The issue (ostensibly) is separation of church and state, as some family may use the scholarship to go to a parochial school. The Dems just can't stand the idea of someone going outside the collective.

  • PapayaSF||

    I'm always amazed by that argument, because my father used the GI Bill to go to a Catholic college, and we're not Catholic. So these bozos will have to argue that the GI Bill was unconstitutional? Good luck.

  • KB Check Release||

    This^. Proggies don't understand people doing things that benefit them even if it doesn't make initial sense.

    Case in point. I looked at a couple of private high schools back in 2001. One of which was Catholic and the school informed us that me being a protestant really wasn't an issue and there were some Jewish kids already enrolled.

    Sometimes people will deal with less that perfect externalities for a top notch product. I know, it's shocking

  • robc||

    There seems to be some weird split between HS and College on this issue that I dont understand. Spending money on religious schools is either unconstitutional or constitutional and I dont see how the age matters for that issue.

  • KB Check Release||

    Once you get that money, can't you spend it on whatever you want?

    I mean it isn't like it's unconstitutional to take federal loan money and go to say, Georgetown (a historically religiously backed school)?

  • robc||

    Are any of the Ivies not historically religiously backed?

  • PapayaSF||

    The whole thing is equivalent to saying that someone who gets welfare or Social Security can't give any of that money to a church, because "church-state separation." Um, no.

  • KB Check Release||

    Unfortunately I have heard those kind of shrieks before and I believe we will hear them again. Probably on a national news outlet pretty soon.

    The Jezebellian voice is not going to die that that quickly.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Are any of the Ivies not historically religiously backed?


    The answer is Cornell.

  • robc||

    Thanks, I was pretty sure there was one and couldnt remember if it was Cornell or Dartmouth.

  • bassjoe||

    Regardless of whether de Blasio's approach to education is right or wrong, Congress needs to get the hell out of a locality's decision regarding how best to educate its children.

    The people of NYC elected de Blasio; if they don't like how he's running the school system, they can pressure him to change course or vote him out of office. The House Majority Leader -- from a state hundreds of miles away from NYC and whom the people of NYC had no say in picking -- should not threaten congressional inquiries into a mayor's decision, that is completely within his discretion.

  • JD3||

    Charter schools are friggin' cash cows.
    There is a crooked, deceitful SOB in Michigan (long story) that has implemented a few charter schools.
    My wife and I ran into him at the symphony and during the intermission I asked him why he decided to get into the field of education...he looked at me, laughed and said, "the state gives me 8 grand per student, that's why. "I'm not trying to revolutionize education, just make to money."
    He's making 70% of that per student x's 100's of students.

  • 0x90||

    At least he's honest; the school board sees it no differently, but avoids saying so, for fear of ruining the illusion that "it's for the kids."

    I guess what I find interesting is that where it's easy for people to see the 8K as making this guy rich, the same 8K put into the local district would be classified as being "not enough." Whether it was 8, 10, 12 -- name a number -- it is always going to be exactly "not enough."

    Let's just the parents keep their money in the first place, and decide what to do with it, themselves; only then will we find out who's really able to do what, with how much.

  • robc||

    If he is providing an education that the parents find acceptable, good for him.

    If he isnt, they will soon leave him.

  • Tony||

    Why is it always the case that giving people more "choice" by privitizing public services, they always end up "choosing" to have everything be more expensive?

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Tony,

    Why is it always the case that giving people more "choice" by privitizing [sic] public services, they always end up "choosing" to have everything be more expensive?


    For instance... what?

  • Contrarian P||

    OM, can't you read? It always happens! Why? Because Tony says so, and Tony always has loads of evidence to back up his gratuitous assertions. The fact that he never posts it only goes to show the depth and breadth of his opinions. It's really hard to argue with him, except just posting a question requiring factual proof or anything other than generalities and name calling, then laughing at the ensuing silence.

  • buybuydandavis||

    Opponents of school choice aren’t heartless jerks, either, of course.

    That's the problem. The right always grants that the left has "good intentions". The left has the worst of all intentions - the intent to control the lives of others through force.

  • ||

    That illustration pic must be fairly old; or are there still CRTs in schools?

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