Americans May Use Public Schools, But They Don't Like 'Em

I hear tell of people who are really happy with the public schools to which they send their kids, but I rarely meet them. Even when schools produce high standardized test results or funnel lots of graduates off to competitive colleges, parents often grumble that schools "teach to the test," or they complain about rigid rules, misplaced emphasis on certain subjects, or lousy discipline. These complaints are inevitable when governments deliver like-it-or-lump-it service to people who often can't afford to pay for alternatives on top of taxes, and so are stuck with one-size-fits-all institutions they didn't choose, and which don't suit their tastes. At least, that's been my impression so far, and now Gallup has polling results that say, sure enough, that most people aren't fond of public schools and have higher opinions of all other options.

According to Gallup's write-up of its poll, which was conducted earlier this month:

Public schools get a relatively poor rating, even though the vast majority of American children are educated in public schools. The poll finds 83% of parents with children in grades kindergarten through 12 saying their oldest child attends public school, compared with 9% who say private school, 4% home school, and 2% parochial school. The poll did not assess the percentage of children attending charter schools, a relatively new type of school.

Among all Americans polled, private schools get top ratings, with 78 percent of respondents ranking them Good or Excellent. Public schools come in dead last at 37 percent.

If the poll is narrowed to only parents of school-age children, the results are surprisingly similar, with private schools getting the thumbs-up from 80 percent, and public schools scoring 47 percent approval — just ahead of homeschooling at 46 percent. I can't prove it, but I wouldn't be surprised if this is an artifact of the endless bashing of homeschooling that I've heard from public school teachers and administrators, of which parents are likely to get an earful. Then again, the educrats tend not to like charter schools either, and those still score well.

True, this poll isn't an objective assessment of school results, but instead a measure of how people view the quality of different education choices. But it's clear that, no matter how "professional educators" perceive their own efforts, they're really not winning over their captive audience. In fact, the schools are almost certainly forcing down the public's opinion of their efforts by holding hostage parents and children who would rather be exploring other options.

If public educators want to be held in higher esteem, they need to make it easier for those who don't want their services to seek their lessons elsewhere. When public schools are being used only by the willing, they'll likely rank a little higher in the public's opinion.

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  • sarcasmic||

    But if government doesn't educate the children, no one will!

  • T o n y||

    Some will, but the children of poor or negligent parents are SOL.

    But I suppose you think it's fair to subject them to a free market despite this disadvantage conferred entirely by luck of parentage.

  • Trespassers W||

    the children of poor or negligent parents are SOL.

    Compared to what?

  • The Craig||

    Tony thinks it is fair that if some kids have to suffer, all must suffer the same!

  • The Derider||

    Compared to what they have right now.

  • Sevo||

    The Derider| 8.30.12 @ 4:07PM |#
    "Compared to what they have right now."
    Cite missing

  • Mr. FIFY||

    In Derider's case, that's not all that's missing.

  • The Derider||

    How will poor parents pay to send their children to school without state funded schooling?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    The way I saw poor parents send their children to private schools when I was in Thailand. They worked their asses off while living a frugal lifestyle. They also took great interest in their children's education.

  • RBS||

    I went to a private school and shockingly we had several endowed scholarships.

  • sailshonan||

    A great book on private schooling in the Third World is "A Beautiful Tree." What really prevents poor and middle class people from sending kids to public school is regulation. In these Third World countries, many schools start as home-schooling parents taking in extra kids because parents in the neighborhood see what a good job they are doing home-schooling (kinda like day-care). The parent gets a small income for just a little more work, since they are teaching their own kids anyway. Word gets out, more kids come, and then they hire some coollege student for cheap to teach the influx of more kids. They teach in homes, or shanties or huts or whatever. But regulations that require certifications, running water, playgrounds, whatever, increase the cost of education, aand also increase the barriers to entry of suppliers of education. Poor people can afford a private education if they could just pay a monlthy fee to someone down the street who's teaching in a rented room. And since the parents are PAYING, and there is competition from other small schools, the quality of education given is much better than public schools

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Meanwhile, those same poor parents are forced to subsidize - through taxation - the worthless public school system.

    Your idea of "fair", Derider.

  • ||

    How will poor parents pay to send their children to school without state funded schooling?

    Did you RTFA? Tucille makes the point that parents can't afford a better education for their kids because they pay so much to the public "free education" schools in taxes in the first place.

    That is the only point I will make to you, as it is Thursday.

  • Pro Libertate||

    The solution is student loans. Just like with college. Undischargeable, subsidized student loans. And grants.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    "Some will, but the children of poor or negligent parents are SOL."

    That's how evolution works. You trying to make some moral argument here about poor kids?

  • The Derider||

    Apparently you're trying to make a social Darwinism argument, which is certainly a moral argument about poor kids.

  • ||

    Fuck off, joe, you shitbag.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Maybe it's time to bring back the Manual School concept, and admit that not everyone is cut out to be a white collar middle manager.

  • A Serious Man||

    That doesn't make any sense. Going to public school doesn't make the children of poor and/or negligent parents better off. In many cases with inner city schools, the school is essentially a daycare/prison where no real learning actually takes place.

    So if you really cared about poor children you'd let them have a choice to go to a better school instead of this 'one-size government fits all' nonsense.

  • The Derider||

    Going to school certainly does make the children of poor and or negligent parents better off.

    And mandatory attendance laws do not restrict parents from homeschooling, or enrolling their children in private or charter schools.

  • ||

    Fuck off, scumbag joe.

  • SKR||

    Government sponsored daycare doesn't help the poor?

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Well, sure, it can--but if you're arguing that's all a lot of inner-city schools are, what's the point in wasting money on books or even teachers? Just handcuff them to desks, hand out snacks, have them recite basic reading materials all day, file them out twice a day for exercise in the yard, and put them in solitary confinement for the day if they act up.

  • SKR||

    I though that's what they do now. Have you seen the gates and fences around the new HSs in LA?

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    And that's what I'm getting at. Why even bother with pretense of "educating" them anymore? It would probably be cheaper to just treat these places like daytime detention centers.

    These schools are basically, through their actions, saying that their attendees are bunch of wild animals that need to be confined for most of the day for the safety of society.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

  • CampingInYourPark||

    "Some will, but the children of poor or negligent parents are SOL."

    Because nobody has ever been educated for free except when gov't provided it.

  • The Derider||

    No country has ever had better educational outcomes than we have right now without a state-funded educational system.

  • ||

    Fuck off, joe, you fucking loser.

  • The Derider||

    Were you homeschooled? You seem to have problems with social interaction.

  • ||

    Just by your mom, joe. Just by your mom.

    Amazingly, she's taller than joe. That means she's five feet tall, but still. She's very flexible, though.

  • Sandi||

    I find the cat food smell objectionable.

  • Emmerson Biggins||

    were you public schooled?

    You seem to be a communist thug.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    If you define educational outcomes as "building mindless cogs for the industrial-military complex", then yes. If you define educational outcomes as providing an environment where children can develop into literate and numerate, emotionally mature adults who possess critical thinking skills and intellectual curiosity, then our system is terrible.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    No country has ever had better educational outcomes than we have right now without a state-funded educational system.

    Most of the countries you're thinking of don't try to shove everyone onto the advanced track--they're actually realistic enough to realize that doing blue-collar work is all that some will ever be good at, and allocate resources accordingly.

    This "EVERYONE MUST BE IN THE TOP 10 PERCENT" mentality is part of why America's education system is so fucked up--because no one wants to tell today's parents that their kid isn't smart enough or too lazy to be a chemical engineer when he grows up.

  • T o n y||

    Do we have an oversaturation of engineers and a dearth of blue-collar workers in this country? I don't see that this is actually a problem.

    Natural ability alone seems to be far less determinative of a person's success in life than how wealthy one's parents are or how good the schools happen to be where one lives.

    There is certainly a huge amount of room for improvement in public education in this country. As long as we follow Tony's general rule #1: don't let Republicans try to do it.

  • ||

    That is disingenuous bullshit Tony. Natural ability has FAR MORE to do with someone's success than where they start out: just look at the inner city kids who make it to the professional sports leagues. They didn't get there because they were in the 1%.

    Schools, in reality, have very little to do with the success someone has in life. If school wasn't mandatory in this country I think we would certainly have some people who didn't give a shit and eventually became a burden on society (if we let them), but the people who WANT to learn and succeed in life will be far better off since they aren't being weighed down by apathetic idiots.

  • T o n y||

    Anecdotes about inner-city kids who make it in sports prove that natural ability is paramount? What are you smoking?

    I went to a public school in a wealthy neighborhood and got what I consider a stellar education. Not once did I think the poor-performing kids would be better off, or do me any better, on the streets.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Do we have an oversaturation of engineers and a dearth of blue-collar workers in this country? I don't see that this is actually a problem

    The labor participation rate says otherwise.

    Natural ability alone seems to be far less determinative of a person's success in life than how wealthy one's parents are or how good the schools happen to be where one lives.

    I guess it all depends on how you define "success." Guilt-tripping or brainwashing people who don't have the ability to be a doctor or some other high-status job into going that direction is a big part of why this country's culture is so dysfunctional. You can have just as satisifying of a life being a plumber or electrician, even if it may not get you the 4,000 square foot McMansion with the double mortgage filled with Pottery Barn furnishings.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    And I would add, when most young people these days seem to expect to be paid $80K a year for a job that's no more demanding than elementary school recess, it's hard to take their desire to be successful seriously.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    These things you say we will have, we already have. The children of poor or negligent parents don't get a good education.

    But since the children of better parents are also screwed (unless their parents get them out of the system somehow), I guess that's okay with you.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Why do you care about children, Tony? Given your self-admitted bigotry/hatred of breeders, it's amazing you'd give half a shit about the results of breeding.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    "Why do you claim to care"

    D'oh. Long day.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Why do you care about children, Tony? Given your self-admitted bigotry/hatred of breeders, it's amazing you'd give half a shit about the results of breeding.

    Isn't it obvious? Tony is a ephebophile.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Interesting theory.

  • T o n y||

    I am forced to be a political liberal almost entirely because of the existence of children. I don't like children, but I have to account for their existence when formulating a belief about how society should function.

    Libertarians seem to neglect the existence of children entirely when formulating theirs.

  • Sandi||

    Children are here to do the risky work.

  • Marshall Gill||

    And work in small spaces, like under the house.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Tony,

    Some will, but the children of poor or negligent parents are SOL.


    They will be always if they're kept in the prisons you call (with a very twisted and sick sense of humor) "Public Schools."

  • T o n y||

    You are not an advertisement for an alternative to public schools. If you went to a public school, you're not an advertisement for that either, I suppose.

  • Mr Whipple||

    Some will, but the children of poor or negligent parents are SOL

    Better to be SOL than MFOF.

    http://i.qkme.me/er3.jpg

  • ant1sthenes||

    I thought the more moderate libertarian position (as seen here at Reason) was support for vouchers, not just telling the poor to suck it up. Kids are inherently dependents, one way or another.

  • ||

    People don't think the public schools do a good job, but what they really like is the non-breeder forced contribution to their government-provided day care. So they stick with it.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Personally, I think you should just be forced to support me and my family directly. I call it the Episiarch Subsidy. In return, we don't kill you for not helping to perpetuate the race. Other families can find their own sponsors.

    Then again, your genes being stopped might be good for the future. Hmmm.

  • ||

    Dude, I might have any number of offspring. I hate condoms, I'm a slut, and I have proof my swimmers work.

    I dread every unsolicited knock on my door.

    "Daddy no want me! I'm gonna take a bus to Reno!"

  • Pro Libertate||

    I don't know how to tell you this, but blow-up dolls and transvestites can't bear young. They lack a functioning womb.

  • ||

    You're the expert in that, ProL.

    And trashy girls often have remarkably fertile ones.

  • Pro Libertate||

    On your latter point, I think there's little doubt.

    On the former, I was just kidding. I think you've passed your extra Y chromosome through these trashy girls to many children.

  • Ptah-Hotep||

    People don't think the public schools do a good job, but what they really like is the non-breeder forced contribution to their government-provided day care. So they stick with it.

    That may be part of it, but the other part is that after paying for their kid's education once through taxes, the money left over to provide private education is reduced. They do not have the money to pay twice.

  • Pro Libertate||

    With no public education, what would the cost of K-12 type education be? I bet nowhere near what it is now.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    Especially when you consider that most kids don't really need twelve years to get an adequate education. It just takes twelve years because the government is ineffective.

  • The Derider||

    What data causes you to think this way?

    What country/state/group of people successfully educates students with that model?

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    This country did, before the government school system was created. Do some research on historical literacy rates, for example.

  • The Derider||

    There was public schooling in America before 1792. Try again.

  • ||

    joe, fuck off. Don't try again.

  • SKR||

    Yeah, not exactly. There were mandates with an opt out payment that was to most common form of compliance. Plus the schools that did exist due to the mandates were church schools that focused on reading the bible.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    There was public schooling in America before 1792. Try again.

    Massachusetts became the first state with compulsory schooling--in 1852. Try again.

  • SKR||

    Careful there, he's talking about "The Old Deluder Satan Laws" from 1647 that mandated children be educated so they could read the bible and the laws of the land.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I think people really underestimate how much school operates as a daycare facility.

    This is all going to change, despite the government, due to the opportunities already and increasingly available to learn on the Internet. I still think teachers have an important role to play, especially in the earlier years, but a lot can be done sitting in front of a computer, too.

  • califernian||

    In California, private school is cheaper than public school.

  • SKR||

    Except you still have to pay for public school on top of the additional cost of private school. Now on a per pupil basis sure.

  • califernian||

    Oh of course. I'm just pointing out that the VASTLY SUPERIOR private schools are on average about the half the cost of public school per student.

  • Overt||

    To be fair, this isn't exactly true.

    I lived in Pasadena CA and the "per student" budget DOES exceed the tuition for many of the local private schools.

    HOWEVER (and I say this as a hater of the public schools) the Pasadena schools are forced to take all kids. That includes special needs kids that are extremely expensive and that private schools can refuse.

    If private schools handling these types of students were included, it is likely that their costs per pupil would be very similar.

  • Xenocles||

    I am not trying to excuse the runaway costs, but it is true that a nontrivial part of the excess is from the special ed services public schools offer but private schools aren't required to.

  • califernian||

    I have multiple friends with special needs children who are in private schools a that cater to these children and even these schools' tuitions do not exceed the per pupil cost of california public schools.

  • SKR||

    The teachers unions always trot that one out instead of defending the gold plated black box theaters and starchitect designed buildings.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I was shocked at the quality of the auditorium at my kids' high school. It had to cost a mint.

  • SKR||

    It's like the administrators care more about how bitchin their little fiefdom appears with shiny computers and fancy auditoriums instead of how well they educate children. Children come and go but that keylight makes them look awesome when they give a speech.

  • Xenocles||

    I didn't say it was justifiably high, just that it does increase their costs.

  • Tim||

    I'm reflecting on my luck of govermentage.

  • Loki||

    OT: Not sure if this was covered in Morning Links or not: more fun with asshole cops (I know, "asshole" is usually redundant). Apologies if it was already done.

  • Loki||

    FTA: 'If anyone on the street attacked an innocent woman, they would be in jail. We expect the LAPD officers to be held to the same standard.'

    BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!111!!!!!!

  • Ptah-Hotep||

    Have another.

    Asshole is right.

  • The Derider||

    "In fact, the schools are almost certainly forcing down the public's opinion of their efforts by holding hostage parents and children who would rather be exploring other options."

    How are public schools stopping parents from exploring homeschooling, charter schools, or private schools? Mandatory attendance laws only mandate that children attend A school, not a public school.

  • ||

    Fuck off, joe, you mendacious piece of shit.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Government distorts markets to levels beyond comprehension; the free market is to blame.

  • The Derider||

    That's a completely different argument than the one made in the article.

    No one is forced to go to a public school.

  • ||

    Are you fucking retarded, joe?

  • Sandi||

    Hey joe, what do you think about the poor kids in DC being told they could no longer get vouchers?

  • The Derider||

    What part of my statement is inaccurate?

  • ||

    What part of fuck off don't you understand you stupid fuck?

  • The Derider||

    Oh, I understood that part. I was taking issue with the slur "mendacious". I assumed you knew what the word meant.

  • ||

    How can you take issue with the truth, you lying sack of disingenuous shit?

    FUCK OFF.

  • The Derider||

    "Mandatory attendance laws only mandate that children attend A school, not a public school."

    This is the only factual claim I have made. Why is it "mendacious"?

  • ||

    joe, answer the question: are you retarded? All signs point to yes.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Why is it a slur? Especially if it's true?

  • Sevo||

    The Derider| 8.30.12 @ 4:14PM |#
    "I was taking issue with the slur "mendacious". I assumed you knew what the word meant."
    Oh, don't worry; mendacious fits you to a tee even if occasionally you slip up and post without lying.

  • Sevo||

    The Derider| 8.30.12 @ 4:05PM |#
    "How are public schools stopping parents from exploring homeschooling, charter schools, or private schools?"
    By stealing the money available to do so, idiot.

  • The Derider||

    So you're saying TAXES restrict the options people have to send their children to school--not public schools themselves.

  • ||

    Shift those goalpost, mendacious scum! Shift them, fucker!

    Hey joe, since you've slunk back here as an anonypussy coward, do you feel like an even more massive pussy now because you're too much of a pathetic scumbag to just use your old handle? How's that make you feel, short stuff?

  • Emmerson Biggins||

    ya. public schools are fine as long the government doesn't spend any non-voluntary money on them.

  • Sandi||

    "So you're saying TAXES restrict the options people have to send their children to school--not public schools themselves."

    DIAF

  • Flyover Country||

    Public schools make it more difficult for parents to send their kids to private schools because of the costs they impose on parents through taxes to pay for public schools.

    Those of us who choose to send our kids to private schools are forced to pay for public schools we do not use.

  • Pro Libertate||

    It's not just the taxes. Government intervention at this level is extremely distorting. Look at higher ed, healthcare, etc.

  • ant1sthenes||

    When the government takes the money they would use to send their kids to another school, and puts into a public school that they can attend, and then makes getting an education mandatory, then by any honest calculation that's making public education mandatory for the poor and lower middle classes, and it's making private education much more expensive than it should be for the rest of the middle class.

    But then, you had no intention of being honest about this, did you?

  • Tim||

    Public school had some good teachers, one or two really memorable ones, a couple of angry sadists, several morons going through the motions, a couple senile old fucks.

  • Loki||

    You just described the faculty of every public school in the country.

  • ant1sthenes||

    Yep.

    I wonder to what extent this is driven by people parroting what they hear from others. I would imagine most people don't actually have both public and private school experience to be able to compare them fairly. That said, most people do have public school experience, and they know how dysfunctional they are.

  • SIV||

    Slightly OT: Did you learn phonics and set theory in public school 1st grade? I'm curious because I think that curriculum may have been offered for a very short period of time in select schools and is not the typical experience even for those of my age/class year.

  • Pro Libertate||

    We had something called phonetics back when I was a kid.

  • Tim||

    Now they teach cellphonetics.

  • Charlotte Sometimes||

    We had a phonics workbook in 2nd grade--it was checkered blue. It's weird, the things you remember about elementary school.

  • SugarFree||

    I went into kindergarten knowing how to read beyond Grade 6. I goofed off in the school library while the other kids were sounding out Dick and Jane books.

    And then simple math destroyed me. Utterly. Stupid numbers.

  • Charlotte Sometimes||

    I can totally commiserate, SF. I likely do not remember "set theory" because I've suppressed it. Just reading the words "Venn diagram" made my palms sweat.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Yes, I remember learning both. I went to NYC public schools in the early 80's if that helps.

  • SIV||

    The set theory seems less common. Maybe most people just forgot it.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Venn diagrams. Lots of fun.

  • Pro Libertate||

    We did that when I was a kid. I remember sets, Venn diagrams, etc. quite clearly. Must've been emphasized a lot.

  • Ska||

    I had sets in elementary school, but I went to Catholic school (you asked about public school).

    SETS, I HAD SETS!!

  • Xenocles||

    I'm not surprised that a lot of parents don't think highly of homeschooling. I bet they would suck at it, confirming their assessment.

  • SKR||

    More like,"homeschooling? You mean I would have to do all the work? Fuck that shit. That's a terrible idea."

  • Pro Libertate||

    My wife is homeschooling my youngest. It's not easy, but my wife is much more educated and capable than many teachers, particularly of the elementary variety. And, of course, her motivation to succeed with this pupil is higher than anyone else's in the world besides mine.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Successful homeschooling takes a pretty big commitment from the parents to make it work. I think a lot of them look into initially thinking, "Oh, I'll just download a bunch of documents online and VIOLA! I'll have a supersmart genius!!" But you have to be pretty dedicated and intelligent yourself to pull it off.

    It used to be that kids received a lot of "homeschooling" anyway, especially in rural areas, in the form of helping their parents around the house by cooking, cleaning, taking care of animals, repairing buildings and equipment, etc. There's a reason that universities back in the day were largely inhabited by the very wealthy--it wasn't just that they could afford the tuition, it's that most Americans didn't have the time to become versed in the classics that were the standard curriculum in those days. Most homes had a Bible, maybe one or two Shakespearean plays, farmer's almanacs or some magazines, and that was about it. But even so, people that we would consider uneducated by our standards were far more advanced intellectually. Just read letters from dirt-poor farmers and factory workers during the Civil War; their vocabulary and grammar would be considered college-level these days.

  • Marshall Gill||

    Actually, with places like Khan Academy, my son learned trig without very much help from me at all.

    While I still have to help them and make them do their work, 95% of the material that I use is from the internet. I could easily make it 100% there is so much available, very much of it free.

  • ant1sthenes||

    Plus, they can hit a bullseye from horseback at 300 yards.

  • califernian||

    True, this poll isn't an objective assessment of school results, but instead a measure of how people view the quality of different education choices.

    Of course, that is the ONLY valid way to assess school results. Nothing else matters.

  • The Derider||

    So as long as people believe that their school is good, what actually gets taught at the school is immaterial?

    That's some magical thinking right there.

  • califernian||

    It's the only standard that values people. Every other standard is for entities not involved.

  • ||

    Not as magical as trying to pretend you're not joe, scumbag.

  • Sandi||

    I want to see him pull a rabbit out of his ass.

  • califernian||

    I'm trying to figure out how anyone could prefer government-run schools over just giving poor people money to put their kids in a school they deem best.

    I keep settling on "elitist scumbag"

  • ||

    Because shitheels like joe value control above all. Fuck, it's the only thing they value. Fuck joe.

  • T o n y||

    Because it would be vastly more expensive with poorer outcomes, as all voucher programs end up being, and I don't want my tax dollars paying for kids to learn about Jesus and his pet dinosaur?

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Tony,

    and I don't want my tax dollars paying for kids to learn about Jesus and his pet dinosaur?


    Where's the difference between this and someone else not wanting HIS tax dollars
    paying for kids to learn about chief Seattle and the speech he never gave? Or teach kids new math (which is no math)?

  • T o n y||

    Total relativism with regard to facts does tend to be a conversation stopper, making it a wonder why you keep talking.

  • SKR||

    You mean exactly like how the Dutch all think Jesus and Calvin played with dino? Oh wait that's right you are just talking out your ass.

  • Emmerson Biggins||

    I agree. It is immoral to take tax dollars from you to teach my kids. It's good we can reach agreement on that.

  • califernian||

    I didn't say vouchers.

  • califernian||

    " I don't want my tax dollars paying for kids to learn about Jesus and his pet dinosaur?"

    So you're on board with the "elitist scumbag" explanation too.

  • T||

    I don't want my tax dollars paying for children's education at all. Explain why your preference is more valid.

  • T||

    I don't want my tax dollars paying for children's education at all. Explain why your preference is more valid.

  • T o n y||

    Because civilized societies educate all children. Feudal hellholes don't. Which would you prefer to live in?

  • SKR||

    A false dichotomy says what?

  • ant1sthenes||

    I don't want my tax dollars paying for 3-year-old kids to learn that school administrators are halfwitted fascists who either believe that a deaf child with a common name poses a serious threat, or lack the integrity or courage to do what is obviously the right thing to any decent person.

    Kids should wait until 8 or 9 to learn how worthless government officials and their cheerleaders are.

  • Lord Peter Wimsey||

    There are plenty of people who like their public schools. They come from middle class suburbs. These schools suck in all the ways that government schools suck, but very few of the ways in which low-life-urban-unionized-teacher-hell-holes suck.

    Private schools, contrary to what people think, are not examples of what schooling would look like with a free market in education. They tend to be safer, but they often -- and by "often" I mean very fucking often -- ape the public schools, adopting some of their worst aspects. And then, if you live in the South, they throw in classes about Jesus.

    A free market in education, without compulsory schooling, would put the public schools out of business and put most of the private schools to shame, forcing them to up their game or fuck off.

    But remember: most parents (and kids) are not reliable when it comes to telling us what's wrong with schooling. They are all products of this very same school model (public and private) and they are, for the most part, typical Americans. In other words, if they could get the govt. to force you to pay someone to wipe their ass, they would. And they would consider it a human right to do so.

    FOR THE LOVE OF GOD -- no more interviewing the mob (parents or their spawn) to determine whether the publik skewl sistem is worthwhile. It isn't, but most slavers just want more of my money and your money to "make it work."

  • Pro Libertate||

    Yeah, it completely irks me that people assume private schools today equal a free market in education. The distortions of the massive public school system across the board make that view ridiculous.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I heard something recently about the Protestant Reformation having the effect of getting the Catholic church out of education, which it had been handling (not for everyone--not sure how widespread it was), with some of that ending up in government hands. Granted, most formal education was probably private back then, but it does make me wonder whether we're missing something in not having an institution outside of government that does things like social services and education.

    Maybe we need a secular version, that exists outside and, to some extent, in opposition to the government? With the government losing any role in such things?

  • Alice Bowie||

    J.D. Tuccille,

    I cant speak for the entire country but I can for NY and NJ

    We have excellent public schools in many districts. In fact, NJ has some of the best public schools in the nation.

    I pay property taxes and both rich and poor go to the same schools. Our taxes also go to pay for disabled children, the blind, and all sorts of special needs children.

    This, however, is only true in middle, upper middle, and affluent districts. In cities like Jersey City, Newark, etc. there are one or two public schools that one can send their child to. This is because the poor tend to rent and other people pay for the education of the poor.

    High taxes and property values due tend to keep the poor out.

    I can go for the voucher idea. However, how will people keep that {bad element) out? Today, this is how they keep blacks-latinos out. They can{t afford good districts.

  • Emmerson Biggins||

    This is because the poor tend to rent and other people pay for the education of the poor

    facepalm

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Alice Bowie,

    We have excellent public schools in many districts. In fact, NJ has some of the best public schools in the nation.


    I normally have the chance to know the excellence of a restaurant because there's always many to choose from and compare. I normally have the chance to learn the excellence of a television program because there are so many to choose from. The same with clothes, shoes, books, cars or ice cream.

    So, tell me: Exactly HOW can you know the level of *excellence* your these "public schools"?

    This, however, is only true in middle, upper middle, and affluent districts.


    Same problem: Compared to what? Or with whom?

    Also, tell me this: If they're so excellent, why is it mandatory to go?

  • Alice Bowie||

    Old mexican...this is the first time in four years you have replied to my comment without being hostile, insulting me, or just plain old dismissing what i said

    I appreciate it.

    One can go to schooldiggers.com. There are other web sites.

    Us parents here in the NYC metro area gauge by the % of kids that pass standardize tests. This is definitely not perfect as it doesn{t measure the quality, per se.

    The other measurement is % of kids that get accepted to four ar schools and % of kids that get accepted to IVY League.

  • T||

    Psst! He pretty much dismissed what you said. He just did it nicely, which admittedly is rare for him.

  • Alice Bowie||

    Of all bloggers here, Old mexican comes out with the BEST Names and insults. I think it{s someone else using his name, or he is getting nicer, or is under the weather today.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Alice Bowie,

    Of all bloggers here, Old mexican comes out with the BEST Names and insults. I think it{s someone else using his name, or he is getting nicer, or is under the weather today.


    I'm feeling particularly magnanimous today, so count your blessings while ye may.

  • Pip||

    "Old mexican...this is the first time in four years you have replied to my comment without being hostile, insulting me, or just plain old dismissing what i said"

    You're slipping, OM. Slipping.

  • Sidd Finch||

    Today, this is how they keep blacks-latinos out. They can{t afford good districts.

    The poor blacks and poor Latinos should talk to the poor Asians. They're pretty good at finding the "good districts."

  • Alice Bowie||

    You know that it is not that simple Mr. Finch. The Asians have different work-eduction ethics. Blacks and Latinos are recovering for 400years of crap. And, they are making great progress in the USA.

    You heard Condellesa Rice speech yesterday, right?

  • T||

    Blacks and Latinos are recovering for 400years of crap

    Nobody alive today has had to put up with 400 years of crap. Except a tree, and we don't send them to school.

  • SKR||

    And I tree would probably pretty happy to put up with 400 years of crap.

  • jdtuccille||

    I'm actually a product of the New York (and Connecticut) public schools. By and large, the schools I went to were highly ranked. They were, however, one size fits all -- or one approach fits all -- and that fit wasn't great for every kid. Taxes were through the roof and alternatives were priced out of reach for almost everybody but the wealthy (except, in some places for Catholic schools). Even with highly ranked schools, a lot of kids would have benefited from alternatives.

  • ant1sthenes||

    You know that any sensible landlord passes property tax on to their renters, right, unless rent control prevents it? Jesus, please tell me you understand this basic concept of economics.

  • Mr Whipple||

    This is because the poor tend to rent and other people pay for the education of the poor.

    Actually, no. It's because in NJ, each town controls its school district, and each town sets its own property tax rates. High property taxes in, say, Haddonfield, prevent lower income people from residing there. Whereas, in Gloucester City, the property taxes are much lower, which is where the lower income people tend to live.

    I can assure you, this is by design. Whenever they start talking about vouchers for kids in Camden to use schools in the 'burbs, the first thing you hear is middle class soccer moms saying, I don't want those inner city hooligans coming into my town, fraternizing with my nice kids.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: The Derider,

    How will poor parents pay to send their children to school without state funded schooling?


    "Without the State making shoes, how can poor people afford shoes?"

    You make the same fallacious assumption that ANYTHING that the government does is always at the optimal price level. That's the reason nobody here respects you, no matter how smart you are: You're very gullible and intellectually lazy.

    Speaking of which, may I present you Tony, your long lost brother?

  • T o n y||

    School is expensive. Either its costs are collectivized or only the rich get to go to school. That's the way it is. The same is not the case for shoes, though it is the case for, say, police and healthcare.

  • califernian||

    Not only do private schools cost much less but you can always subsidize the poor for things you think they ought to have, like we already do for food, cigarettes,abortions, and housing.

  • T o n y||

    That is not true, or at least not clear at all from the available data. Some private schools do more with less, some don't. Some private schools are great at producing educated children, some are literally god-awful. It's hard to do an apples-to-apples comparison since private schools tend to have a cream-skimming effect. It's more expensive to educate some kids than others, and public schools take all kinds.

    For minimum standards and cost efficiency there is no evidence that alternatives to public school offer improvements. And there is a deeper principle that should be at work: a child has no choice in who his parents are. He should be afforded the best possible education regardless of the situation of his birth. Otherwise we do not have a fair and free market, we have social darwinism. This principle is not fully realized today, and we should not lower standards for rich children to meet it, but should pay whatever it costs, to a standard of reasonableness, to bring the level of education access of poor children up.

  • Sidd Finch||

    The first paragraph is basically correct, at least by Tony standards. However, there is plenty of evidence that many, if not most, administrators could be replaced without negative effects by potted plants and fish tanks.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    And that's the rub--I don't have any problem, fundamentally, with allocating money towards more teachers. But that's not where the majority of the funds seem to go these days.

    Sinking money into top-heavy administrative bureaucracies and expensive shit like smartboards when a blackboard and chalk would work just as well strikes me as a poor use of resources.

  • califernian||

    That is not true, or at least not clear at all from the available data.

    Spoken of course by someone NOT from california and who doesn't have kids to educate.

  • TheAstorian||

    And there is a deeper principle that should be at work: a child has no choice in who his parents are

    And therefore, parents should have no choice about the school they attend.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Tony,

    School is expensive [sic].


    Ugh. Derider, meet Tony. Your equal.

    WHICH school, Tony? The price of something can only come about by discovery, by market forces. If the market is hampered (as it is when it comes to school) by interventionism, regulations and subsidies, how can you *know* that it is expensive or cheap? You're just guessing it is.

    Either its costs are collectivized or only the rich get to go to school.


    Aww, how cute - a false dilemma. Oh, you snookums!

    The same is not the case for shoes, though it is the case for, say, police and healthcare.


    Aww, another cute thing baby has done! A Special Pleading Fallacy!

    Don't ever change, kid. No, I mean it - we need the warning for future generations.

  • T o n y||

    The only cost in a public school that I can think of that is not subject to market forces is employee pay. The bricks that build the schools, the desks, the supplies, the lunch are all bought in the marketplace. Just because the buyer is "the people" doesn't mean market forces aren't at work. Government does not "distort" the market, it participates in it. Government will always be there, so there will never be a government-free optimal price for anything. It's part of the environment.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Tony,

    The only cost in a public school that I can think of that is not subject to market forces is employee pay.


    Try harder.

    The bricks that build the schools, the desks, the supplies, the lunch are all bought in the marketplace.


    No, they're bought from companies that manufactured the bricks, mortar, desks and such. But bidding them without regard for cost is what governments do, so NO, you cannot know the true original cost of these assets.

    Just because the buyer is "the people" doesn't mean market forces aren't at work.


    The buyer is not "the people," it is some bureaucrat procurement person who will not care less about costs.

    Government does not "distort" the market, it participates in it.


    You're either dishonest or really that dumb. "Participating" means using his or her own property. Government does NOT participate - it TAKES, by force, and then GIVES, by favor.

    Government will always be there, so there will never be a government-free optimal price for anything.


    So much for the argument that the "free market" made such things as Healthcare more expensive. I will take note of the above next time you bring it up again.

  • T o n y||

    Government does NOT participate - it TAKES, by force, and then GIVES, by favor.

    Again, your moral preoccupations do not have anything to do with market or social optimality. Fine, taxation is evil and we all must be forced to live in anarchy. Great. Conversation over.

    Now assuming taxation in a democratic society is legitimate, and people are thus free to pay for certain things collectively, they do not "distort" the market, they participate in it and affect costs every bit as legitimately as individuals do.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Tony,

    Again, your moral preoccupations do not have anything to do with market or social optimality.


    Actually, they have, Tony. Markets depend on morality: Thou shall not steal - remember?

    Or why would you feel a government is necessary to contain us unthinking brutes if you feel morallity ain't necessary?

    Fine, taxation is evil and we all must be forced to live in anarchy. Great. Conversation over.


    Nobody has to be forced to do anything. The problem, Tony, is forcing EVERYBODY, not just you. You simply do not want to feel like such a bnig SCHMUCK ergo you want everybody to be forced out of their productivity: The crab-in-bucket mentality.

    Now assuming taxation in a democratic society is legitimate,


    I don't start from question-begging assumptions, Tony. Just because it's "democratic" does not mean it's "legitimate."

    and people are thus free [sic] to pay for certain things collectively[...]


    Oh, shit. Yeah, up is down. I know, I know....

  • T o n y||

    I meant your specific moral preoccupation. Just because taxation is evil doesn't mean anarchy is good for business.

    And good luck having any productivity under anarchy. But I gather you claim that sans government, the one and only source of all evil, people would naturally treat each other morally, and all outcomes would be optimal. Makes perfect sense.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Tony,

    I meant your specific moral preoccupation.


    Ah, I see - my morality. Just like "my" logic. Pure Marxism.

    Just because taxation is evil doesn't mean anarchy is good for business.


    You don't have to have total anarchy if you don't want to. That does not make taxation any less destructive, just like any forceful taking. The Laws of Economics cannot be broken no matter how much or how little there is government.

    And good luck having any productivity under anarchy.


    A statement that tells me you have no idea what "production" means, or entails.

    Pretty much during most of this country's history, people worked and produced under very scant or no government, and prospered. What makes people prosper is property rights, division of labor and savings, NONE of which are contingent to the existence of a government.

  • T o n y||

    There is nothing in this post that is remotely coherent. One, you and your fringe anarcho-capitalism do not have a monopoly on the definitions of morality. In fact your system would be considered immoral by almost every school of morality in the world. Two, how do you have property rights without government, again? Three, people in this country never lived with scant or no government. Ever. There may have been scant government in newly-settled wildernesses, but we're not talking about wildernesses, but a society of hundreds of millions of people. No such society exists or has ever existed without some form of government. Instead of appreciating that you happened upon one of the freest forms ever invented, you pine for a nonexistent golden age then try to tell me you are some sort of authority on moral and economic truths.

  • T||

    Your level of ignorance really is stunning sometimes, as is your willingness to accept a shitty status quo at face value and assume nothing better can be created.

  • SKR||

    You mean like the "rich" kids that go to this school?
    http://www.gtglobaltrader.com/.....-education

    Yeah a stick shack with a dirt floor that has the same or better results than the public schools and at a price point even dirt farmers can afford.

  • ant1sthenes||

    School is expensive because the government pays for it, and the government doesn't give a shit about controlling costs. Every bit of spending represents a chain that binds the interests of another person to keeping the status quo going, whether or not the system is actually serving its intended purpose.

  • Sandi||

    I took a shit in a public school once.

  • Alice Bowie||

    The other problem is ESL, kids with needs, etc. These are the kids that cost more. In my district, we spend $12k per child. A blind kids costs around $80k. Do we give them more vouchers?

    Also, conservatives have that (I dont need the government telling me what to do) attitude. Will we require that parents send their kids to school and pay? Or are we giving up the idea that in a civilized society it is a good idea to educate every kid?

    I know almost all of my DINK (dual income no kids) friends whether liberal or conservative hate the fact that they have to pay for schools since they don{t have kids. I believe vouchers only pander to these people.

    I also know that conservatives hate the idea of government setting standards. So I don{t know how this will work.

  • califernian||

    "So I don{t know how this will work."

    Let people live their own lives without big government telling them what to do?

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Alice Bowie,

    The other problem is ESL, kids with needs, etc. These are the kids that cost more.


    You have NO idea how much it costs as the market for special education is so distorted by subsidies and other schemes to socialize costs. As I informed Tony (the economics ignorant) above, prices come about by discovery, through a market exchange. If this market is hampered, the cost of something will only be know througn non-monetary ways, like higher scarcity or lower production, unmet demand, etc.

    I also know that conservatives hate the idea of government setting standards.


    Shocking, since government is sooo good at that, isn't it???

    *cough* Food Pyramid! *cough*

  • SKR||

    Well the blind kid example is pretty terrible. It would be much better to use a non-communicative autistic child. Regardless, it isn't just the personal attention that is the problem. It is my understanding from my friend who is a principal at a special needs HS that the one on one attention is mainly through TAs anyway. There are a lot of other issues that probably could be dealt with a lot better tan they are being dealt with now. There are a shitload of lawsuits by parents that think there kid that has to wear a helmet is being abused because he came home with a few bruises on his arm. Uh he has to wear a helmet. There are also all kinds of review boards and doctors that have to make decisions as to whether the child is special needs enough to be in the special needs school or can be in the regular school. The parents try to game the system all the time in order to get the Cadillac day care that is the special needs school even though little Johnny doesn't need to be there. Basically the reasons behind the cost aren't simply because they are more expensive to teach.

  • califernian||

    A blind kids costs around $80k.

    That's public school pricing. REAL WORLD pricing is way lower.

  • Alice Bowie||

    you are wrong about this. You are also free o givew a citation on this.

    I{ll ust give u simple math.

    I used blind kids as an example. There are many different needs where the kid needs one' on one help. That is, you can{t have kids with needs sit in a class with 25 other kids. The salary of the TEACHER.

  • RG||

    Calling Anne Sullivan.....

  • RG||

    Calling Anne Sullivan.....

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    The other problem is ESL, kids with needs, etc. These are the kids that cost more. In my district, we spend $12k per child. A blind kids costs around $80k. Do we give them more vouchers?

    The first thing I'd do is look into why it costs nearly seven times as much to educate a blind kid, and figure out who is trying to soak my district for gubmint cheddah in the name of "helping the poor and disadvantaged."

  • T||

    I'm guessing, and it's totally a guess, that the price differential is due to regulatory requirements.

  • Alice Bowie||

    No, with the absence of regulation, children with needs require one on one as oppose the usuall kid that can sit in a class with 25 to 30 other kids.

    The salary of the individual attention.

    Special needs teachers cost more just as an oncologist cost more than a General Practice Doctor.

  • T||

    Uh huh. Regulatory requirements about pupil-teacher ratios and every thing else didn't drive the per pupil number up in a public school? I'll accept, arguendo, that blind kids cost more to educate than sighted ones. But you have to accept that regulatory inefficiency is driving up the cost as well, because if you're honest, you know damn well it is.

  • Alice Bowie||

    I know that making regulations requiring public schools in poor neighborhoods raises cost.

    This is where us progressives differ from libertarians. I am ok with the cost because I see the value in educating the poor. I come from poor and I{m glad that there were regulations that protected me from libertarians and DINKs

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    This is where us progressives differ from libertarians. I am ok with the cost because I see the value in educating the poor.

    That which is unsustainable will go away.

  • T||

    Sigh. You're thick as a brick, aren't you, Alice? We're not talking about the public school system as a whole, we're talking about why it costs 80K per blind kid as opposed to 12K per normal one.

    The cost differential between what it costs the public schools to educate one normal child and what it costs to educate one special needs child is not solely, or even largely, driven by the difference in actually providing the education. All special needs programs are burdened with multiple extra layers of regulation specifying not only desired outcomes but acceptable methods, often in painful micromanaging detail. This also ignores the additional administrative overhead required to ensure compliance with the multiple layers. You can't sit there with a straight face and tell me this shit doesn't drive up the per pupil cost.

  • SKR||

    This is absolutely accurate. The special needs schools end up having to have the same BS compliance course be taught to staff almost every time a parent complains about for instance abuse. And that is even if they just went through the whole thing recently in order to cover their asses.

  • SKR||

    They use TAs.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    The salary of the individual attention.

    Sorry--the average special ed teacher doesn't get paid $80K a year.

  • Sandi||

    “Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all. We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain.”

    ― Frédéric Bastiat, The Law

    And with that, I am out of here.

  • T o n y||

    That well-worn quote is absurd. I want a unicorn, but wanting is not the same thing as getting. If you oppose state education, then you, in practice, oppose universal access to education, no matter how much you may claim to like the idea.

  • Pip||

    That well-worn quote is absurd, said the guy blinded by socialist ideology.

  • T o n y||

    So explain, preferably with some data, how to achieve universal education without public subsidy of education.

  • Alice Bowie||

    Libertarians don{t believe in universal education. They don{t want government telling them how to raise their kids.

    Remember, tax is theft. And they don{t want laws telling people what to do except for laws that protect economic freedom and laws stopping people from robbing them.

  • T o n y||

    Right so it is correct to accuse Bastiat of not "wanting" universal education.

    He likes education just fine. And if you can afford it, you should go get it. If you can't, fuck you. He's not arguing against socialism, he's arguing for a spot in the pantheon of failed philosophers.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Alice Bowie,

    Libertarians don't believe in universal [sic] education.


    That's code word for "compulsory."

    Remember, tax is theft.


    And for you, it's love. Right?

  • T||

    Explain why education is an economic public good. Since it isn't and you can't, explain what leads you to believe it's a problem requiring government intervention.

  • T o n y||

    Because without education we'd all be bartering with rocks, sticks, and vaginas?

    Do you suppose entrepreneurship comes ex nihilo? You must be in favor of a social safety net then to make life fair for all those not magically endowed with the ability to create wealth all by themselves.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Tony,

    Because without education we'd all be bartering with rocks, sticks, and vaginas?


    You didn't answer - no, you didn't even bother to read his question. He asked What makes YOU think that education is a public good?

    Education, by the way, is NOT an economic good. Education is a PERSONAL CHOICE - ONE, oneself, the person that steps on the Earth, has to CHOOSE to educate him or herself.

    What everybody thinks when saying "education" is actually "Tutoring," or "Teaching" and THAT cannot be a PUBLIC good unless you pretend to ENSLAVE educators or teachers. More likely, you have NO idea what "economic good" means, or "economics" for that matter.

  • T o n y||

    Education is technically a quasi-public good, since it can be excludable. As for why I think it should be collectively paid for: same reason police and firefighting should be. It makes for a better and more productive society.

  • T||

    And without food we'd fucking starve, educated or no. Somehow, education, just like health care, is so magical and special it can't be provided without the government unlike every other good and service in fucking existence.

  • ant1sthenes||

    True. Most of us, even those that support food stamps, want the poor to starve, since we don't support nationalizing farms and grocery stores.

  • Paleo-ConAvenger||

    What about online k-12 schools?

  • Alice Bowie||

    I have sacastically sugguested this before.

    What we can do is fire all of the public school teachers in the USA and just have 12 teachers broadcast each grade on PBS...and call that Public School.

    With this solution, you don{t even need vouchers.

  • Alice Bowie||

    Tell me what libertarian would not support this idea?

  • Paleo-ConAvenger||

    But what about the kids that need that extra help? All the laid off teachers can become tutors?

  • Paleo-ConAvenger||

    Wow, I just made a point.

    *pats back*

  • Alice Bowie||

    As far as conservatives and those with no kids are concerned, they would say fuck the laid off teachers.

    Parents can hire a big black lady from the Projects called Burtha to make sure their kids are watching PBS and slap them around if they act up.

    Parents that prefer to pay less can always tie their kids to a chair in front of the TV, clip their eyelids open like they did to that guy in (A clockwork Orange), and pay $3 per hour to a Mexican woman to put eye drops in their kids while they watch 4th grade on PBS being taught by that one teacher.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Parents can hire a big black lady from the Projects called Burtha to make sure their kids are watching PBS and slap them around if they act up.

    They pretty much do this in inner-city schools, so what's your point?

  • T||

    Well, in Burtha's defense, those kids are dumb as hell, according to some.

  • ant1sthenes||

    Yes, a pre-recorded TV show and internet-based education technology are basically the same thing. That was sarcasm, by the way.

  • Marshall Gill||

    What about online k-12 schools?

    They already have them. Khan Academy has over 3,000 video lessons, IIRC, all free. There are other sites that provide an entire year of curricula for a few hundred dollars.

  • Pip||

    Where the fuck are the P.M. Links? Why so late these days?

  • SugarFree||

    It's because of that time you watched your sister take a bath. You dirty fucker.

  • Paleo-ConAvenger||

    *snare roooooooll, cymbal crash*

  • The Rantin Arkansan||

    T o n y| 8.30.12 @ 4:58PM |#

    School is expensive. Either its costs are collectivized or only the rich get to go to school. That's the way it is.

    Schools and education are not the same thing.

    I really can't wait for the day when I get to prove these asinine statists wrong about the market capability of educating the poor and handicapped as well as everyone else.

    Someone has to. The state is doing a horrible job.

  • T o n y||

    I can wait. I don't care to go to hell, or be cold.

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