A One-Sentence Proposal for Improving America's Public Education System


"Give administrators the power to fire teachers who deserve to be fired, whether or not it's for not showing up for work/committing a felony/sexual abuse/drug use/discrimination, or for failing their students in the classroom."

By (and via) Sonny Bunch. 

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  1. So you want to give the government more power? Interesting.

    I’m sure putting teachers at the mercy of their bosses would only result in those who “deserve” it being fired…because you can always trust those in power.

    1. Hate to agree with a troll, but yeah. Until you let the customer–in this case, the kids and their parents–vote with their pocketbooks and pull kids out of shitty schools, there are no incentives to improve the schools.

    2. You know what? Tough shit. People get fired in the private sector for petty reasons all the time. Hell, people get fired in the public sector all the time for petty reasons even with the so-called “protections”. The smallest violin in the world lets out a mournful dirge for those who don’t think this is fair.

      1. mournful dirge

        oooh. Can it be Ashokan Farewell? Cuz that song is the tits.

        1. It can be, but I can’t listen to that song without picturing in my mind a camera scrolling slowly over a zoomed-in picture of civil war soldiers.

      2. This is a weird view on life…instead of saying we should work towards everybody being treated fairly, many of us seem to think, “hey, I’m a wage slave who is at the mercy of my boss so why shouldn’t everybody else be?”

        1. I don’t pretend to own the money of anyone else, as I don’t want anyone else owns my money. Golden rule and all.

          I’m not entirely sure what “wage slave” even means. If I don’t like my job I’ll quit. I can work for myself, or I’ll work for someone else.

          Contrast this to the government, where you can and will get fucked up by blue-costumed thugs if you even look at them funny. I know which I prefer.

        2. Who’s “we,” motherfucker?

        3. Apparently in Meta_Man’s world being treated fairly doesn’t include the children actually getting a decent education or the taxpayers getting what they are paying for.

          1. The point of the education system (much like, say, defense) is to funnel money from the taxpayers to government workers/contractors who then funnel it back to campaigns to keep politicians in their jobs. It’s the circle of graft. Along the way, some public good is also occasionally accidentally accomplished.

            1. I was with you up to here: “Along the way, some public good is also occasionally accidentally accomplished.”

              I would argue that everything the state does makes us worse off than if that function was left to private parties. Spending $100 to create $120 worth of value is still a raw deal if you could have gotten $500 worth of value elsewhere for that same investment.

      3. its not about fair retard, its about improving the education system

    3. How is this an increase in power? If anything it would be net neutral, taking power from one gov’t actor and giving to another.

    4. How is this an increase in power? If anything it would be net neutral, taking power from one gov’t actor and giving to another.

      1. Currently, the flowchart for firing teachers is usually several pages long. It involves going through meetings, administrators, accusors, and the courts. This gives power to a handfull of individuals, instead of a small town’s worth.

        1. Plus, in some districts, the teacher’s involved in this decades long process get to spend the time isolated from the duties of teaching, sitting around, playing cards, and collecting a paycheck for doing jack shit.

    5. So you want to give the government more power? Interesting.

      Yes, because giving someone the power to fire underperforming public workers is exactly the same as giving the government more power.

      With the corollary that giving people paid via extorted taxes the ability to hang onto their government jobs no matter what they do, making them unfireable, totally lessens government power.

      You must think we’re idiots to think we’d buy that load of crap.

    6. So you want to give the government more power?

      The government already has that power. The proposal at hand is to shift it from the bureaucrats who never see the inside of a classroom to the principal at the school who has first-hand knowledge of which teachers need to be fired.


    7. True. It’s an unavoidable slippery slope for letting people get fired for incompetence, to letting them get fired for petty reasons.

      We can’t have that, so … no firings for incompetence.

  2. Even shorter sentence: End school socialism. Why do we need tax dollars to run school? We don’t have taxes funding our food, housing, cars, or computers yet those things are in great abundance.

    1. Uh, I hate to break it to you but food is subsidized, housing is subsidized, cars drive on public roads and the popualrity of the computer is based to a large degree on the government-created internet.

      Beyond that, great point.

      1. Boring, tedious troll is boring and tedious.

        1. Yes, but clearly getting under your skin…


            1. But it is true that food is subsidized, housing is subsidized, cars drive on public roads and the popualrity of the computer is based to a large degree on the government-created internet.

              1. You do realize rent-seeking whores like farmers and the NAACP push for those subsidies, right?

                Plus, the highway system, like the internet, was created for Cold War defense purposes, its popularity for us consumers was completely the work of capitalists that created cars and ISPs, respectively.

              2. ROADS! Drink!

                1. Somalia! Toke!

              3. Farming is subsidized to make food more expensive.

            2. I still think this guy smells like waffles.

              1. Belgian waffles?

                1. Trolling waffles.

            1. Meta Man, you have a man crush on Epi!

              1. why does Epi get all the troll crushes?

                1. Must be his sexy, sexy typing.

                  Oh, sorry, bit of drool on my keyboard there.

            2. Meta_Man fan club|5.12.11 @ 5:42PM|#
              “wear a condom baby”

              Find a brain cell, bozo.

              1. find a sense of humor, asshole

      2. cars drive on public roads


      3. In the spirit of Lonewhacko, may I be the first….. [clears throat]… “Shut the fuck up Meta_Man.”

        1. Since robc announced his upcoming absence in an earlier thread, I believe the appropriate response to Meta_Man is a hearty,

          “fuck off, slaver”

          1. Thanks from all of us, Jim.

            Wait – this is Thanks from me, and I will not presume to speak on anyone else’s behalf.

            But the troll is a fuckstick.

            That is all.

            1. I give you the permission to speak for me when I’m not hear, Almanian.

              1. How will we know you are not here? Will we not hear you? 😉

      4. meta_man, clearly those subsidies have created incredible students, just like food subsidies in Europe have created cheaper food, just like subsidising GM has created amazing cars, oh wait…

        1. So, what you’re saying is, we need to subsidize all those things harder?

          1. MOAR!

          2. And, if so, someone will have to be shot.

      5. Roads are paid for by user fee gas taxes. And the drivers are being ripped off because about a quarter of highway trust fund money is diverted to finance mass transit boondoggles, bike paths, greenways and other assorted non-road purposes.

        And the version of the internet that we actually use – the world wide web was built out by the private sector after a private sector company invented the web browser.

  3. If you did all of those things, why would a person become a teacher in the first place?

    1. Well people would still become teachers, but it would be a completely different subset of people as it moved to become a profession populated by those who value rewards based on their own achievement, and less populated by those who put job security as a primary (even when sub-conscious) motivator.

      1. Lots of teachers talk about how they “love the students” (in a totally noncreepy way). How would that be affected? I suspect that it would be a more motivated and honest group that goes to work there. If a labor shortage occured then, in a free market setting, salaries would increase, meaning more would be willing to go to work there.

        The free market really does solve everything, one way or another.

    2. I know I won’t take any job where I can get fired for incompetence. That’s for sure!

      1. I actually work for one of those groups that doesn’t fire people for incompetance. It is really very depressing. Anyone hiring?

  4. How much longer are we going to pile all of our education problems on the backs of teachers…

    Pleasantly surprised that the one sentence wasn’t, “make education a for-profit venture.”

    1. Pleasantly surprised that the one sentence wasn’t, “make education a for-profit venture.”

      That would be an improvement; for profit ventures are generally much more successful then not for profit ventures.

      How much longer are we going to pile all of our education problems on the backs of teachers…

      I’m continually amazed at how teachers themselves argue that they have little influence over the lives of their students. I guess they have to argue that, though, or else it wouldn’t look so good that they are completely failing them.

      1. Because for-profit universities have done wonders for education and are definitely not a huge racket that sucks money from gullible people, placing them in crushing debt for a worthless piece of paper.

        1. WTF? If all post-high school education was government run and everyone got a degree, degrees would be worthless pieces of paper dipshit.

          Maybe those schools are expensive because they are CHALLENGING and only take the exceptional, hence why people that go there have great success.

          1. No, those schools are as expensive as they are because that’s how much subsidized financial aid is available.

        2. Because for-profit universities have done wonders for education and are definitely not a huge racket that sucks money from gullible people, placing them in crushing debt for a worthless piece of paper.

          Wait…are we talking about NFP education or FP education? I’m getting lost here.

          1. Just to clarify, there is no such thing as Not-For-Profit education.

            1. Public versus private, I think he means to say.

        3. Pouring more and more money into public schools hasn’t done much good either.

        4. Yet Sylvan Learning can do in 72 hours and $3000 what public schools can’t do in 12 years with $100,000. Explain to me how private schooling doesn’t work, again?

        5. For-profit universities were a very different kind of business before government decided to get into the student loan game.


      2. it is amazing how they try to have it both ways.

        One one hand teachers cant be held accountable at all for their students.

        But on the other, the key to making betetr students is pay us more so their will be better teachers.

        Both can’t be true.

        1. That is an excellent observation, that I never put together before. My wife’s best friend is a middle school teacher; I literally can’t wait to throw that in her face the next time we argue.

          1. Better one Jim, and I got this off of reason (can’t remember who): If the effect of teachers on a student’s performance is impossible to quantify or qualify, why do we pay them any better than babysitters?

        2. Sure they can.

          It’s difficult to isolate a teacher’s contribution to student performance just from performance data.

          But it’s almost certainly true that better teachers will produce better performance than worse teachers.

          Sort of like it’s nearly impossible to calculate one’s probability of being in a collision while driving, taking into account all the factors at play…but it’s still clear that the probability will be higher if you’re reading a newspaper while driving.

          1. Insurance companies have a pretty good idea what the probability of you getting into a car accident is, and they charge you accordingly for it.

        3. —“it is amazing how they try to have it both ways.”—

          Much the same way as when test scores go up (occasionally) and the teachers unions say it is because of dedidcated teachers, and when the scores stay the same or go down (very often), the teachers unions say it is because the parents aren’t involved enough.

    2. How much longer are we going to pile all of our education problems on the backs of teachers…

      Apparently the influence of teachers is greatly affected by whether they are trying to accrue benefits or avoid culpability.

      1. How could teachers possibly have any influence over our education system?

        Stop holding them responsible for soemthing they have no control over!!

    3. Why is it that when it comes to “public education” individuals like yourself seem 100% behind the concept of monopoly, yet when a private sector enterprise gets a little too close for comfort on the issue you go apeshit?

      Little consistency, please.

      1. because government it “the people” and corporations are the evil

        1. Yeah, I’m still pissed off about the actions of Aryan Genocide Solutions, Llc.

          1. The People’s Expropriation Company is on my nerves, too.

    4. Tony|5.12.11 @ 5:21PM|#
      “How much longer are we going to pile all of our education problems on the backs of teachers…”

      As long as the teachers’ unions are a major cause of those problems?

    5. How are our educations problem not ALREADY on the backs of teachers?

      Isn’t it the teacher’s responsibility to, like, teach?

  5. …I mean other than the free pussy the girls offer you for the A in geography.

  6. Empower bureaucrats more?

    Give administrators the power to fire teachers who deserve to be fired, whether or not it’s for not belonging to the union/belonging to the wrong union/dissenting to union policy/discrimination, or for failing their students in the classroom.

  7. The reason staff has a lot of trust in educational administrators. I can only assume they don’t come into a lot of contact with them.

    1. I guess the real question is who can we trust in the equation. Parents are off the board, libs hate choice too much. So its either trust in teachers to be benevolent or in their bosses to be benevolent. i guess i will vote for the bosses…

      1. Bullshit. False dilemma. I will choose neither, and ride their soulless carcases to the gates of Hell.

      2. Better yet, why not just leave me out of it? I don’t have kids, don’t want to pay attention to others’ kids’ educations, and certainly don’t want to pay for them. End public education and let parents who give a crap take out a goddamn mortgage to pay for it.

        1. Seriously, how much cheaper would *all* schooling be if the parents of the kids held the full responsibility for paying for it. If you can’t make that childless majority of property owners subsidize a cool building and a bunch of baby sitters for your kids, you’re gonna want it a lot cheaper.

  8. While I appreciate the basic sentiment of the sentence, here’s the thing: perhaps the biggest reason I’m a 19-year old libertarian instead of a 19-year old liberal/Marxioid punk is because two of my AP English teachers in high school were libertarians and actually called out the California Teachers’ Union on their rent-seeking bullshit. Seriously, they really opened my eyes to how unions like those really to screw up the education system.

    I get the sinking feeling that excellent teachers like them will be purged if we give administrators that kind of arbitrary power.

    1. This ^ is an insightful comment

    2. Why did you have more than 1 AP English teacher?

      1. Because there’s more than one AP English course?

      2. AP English Language and Composition junior year, AP Literature senior year. My AP Lit teacher also taught philosophy.

        1. This is eerie. I had libertarian AP teachers (not in lit/comp) but took AP Lit junior year and Comp senior year. My AP Lit teacher also taught philosophy.

          Almost sounds like Signature School in Indiana.

    3. They are run off eventually anyway. One of the better teachers I had tended to always push limits with the administration. The admins simply put her in a mold infested classroom, stripped her budget, started telling students outright not to take her classes (German, so it was elective) and finally ran her off by having her teach three different subjects. Good teachers have limits to the amount of bullshit they are willing to take.

    4. Pretty much. On the other hand, the union probably isn’t going to go out of its way for either libertarian or good teachers. May as well remove that roadblock, as it pretty well only protects the LCD anyway.

    5. You have no idea, Serious Man. Libertarian teachers should hide their politics unless they want to end up fired and disgraced in the eyes of the profession.

    6. A 19-year old that can use “rent-seeking bullshit” in a sentence? I’m impressed. But then, at 19 I was pretty much a liberal/Marxoid punk.

  9. “”or for failing their students in the classroom.”””

    Teachers fail themselves more than teachers fail their students.

    I am largely against using kids’ grades as a judgment on the teacher. Grades often get reduced becuase homework wasn’t turned in on time or assignments not done. None of that is the teacher’s responsiblity. If the teachers were graded by such, I could see teachers giving full credit for late work and many chances to redo work not done. Why should a teacher take a hit for a lazy ass student that don’t really care.

    1. Ooops
      “Teachers fail themselves more than teachers fail their students.”

      Students fail themselves more than…

    2. Which is the reason for the standardized testing that is so abhorred, so an unscrupolus teacher cannot game the results.

      1. I know several NYC area teachers, and that’s not one of the reasons I’ve heard. The reaon I hear is that it forces them to teach toward the test. It’s more of a territorial thing.

        Not making a judgement, just saying what I’ve heard from teachers I know.

        1. The reaon I hear is that it forces them to teach toward the test.

          If the subject matter is covered on the test, what difference does it make if they “teach toward the test”? If you will dig a little deeper you would find that they don’t mean teaching all of the subject matter that the test might cover, it means explicitly telling students what the questions on a test will be in advance. When we went to school they simply called it “cheating”.

          My sister is a public school teacher. When we had this discussion she mentioned another teacher at her school who had a grandchild in my sister’s class. The woman wanted to know which vocabulary words, out of 50, would make up the ten words on the test. An honest person would think that telling which vocabulary words out of 50 are on a test “cheating”. A public school leach calls it “teaching to the test”.

          1. If the subject matter is covered on the test, what difference does it make if they “teach toward the test”?

            Its the difference between “ok kids, this is how algebra works” and “ok, kids, A, B, B, D, A, A, C, B….”.

            1. Funny, to me that looks like grade inflation…

            2. Its the difference between “ok kids, this is how algebra works” and “ok, kids, A, B, B, D, A, A, C, B….”.

              Yes, that is the point of the rest of the post. “Teaching to the test” is a euphemism for “cheating”.

          2. If the subject matter is covered on the test, what difference does it make if they “teach toward the test”?

            Usually only a subset of the subject matter is covered. So rather than introducing the students to more advanced or fun topics they might find more interesting at the end of the year, it’s back to drilling on the basic stuff you did back in October.

            And of course, taking a multiple choice test is largely an exercise in game theory, whose strategy has little to do with whatever subject it’s purportedly covering.

            Now, if the tests contained actual problems that required showing work, thoughtful responses, etc, that might work. But that would be impossible to standardize.

            1. When I took a bunch of social studies assessments, I wouldn’t have known nearly as many answers if all I knew was what they taught me in class. A good percentage of that stuff has to be self-taught, anyway. Teaching to the test fail, I guess.

            2. It a teacher is so incompetent that he has to cheat to get his students to pass the test, then he should be fired.

              This is sort of like arguing that if you give college kids exams, they will be compelled to cheat. Because they CAN’T POSSIBLY learn the material well enough to pass the test on the merits, could they?

              1. My own experience, at elementary schools in Florida, was that it was a school-wide practice. A month or more before the particular test (the district had two, one state and one federally mandated) pretty much all regular classroom subjects were shoved aside for “teaching the test,” practice after practice. Not surprisingly the test scores still sucked.

            3. Do you really think kids need to know most of that crap anyway? Game theory is a large part of the point of lower education. It’s about identifying which kids are most suited for higher education and which should just enter the workforce at the lowest level.

          3. Public education has not yet run across the concept of “double-blind testing”,

        2. Remember the last week of high school chemistry class in June when you were making bubble gum in the lab and learning to enjoy science?

          Now that time is spent drilling test taking strategy.

          1. You old sweatpants wearing fuck.

            My last week of HS chem was spent studying for the final.

            1. Yes, but you went to high school in the NCLB era. If I had spent all the time studying rather than jamming dead moles into Erlenmeyer flasks to show off on 10/23, who knows if I would have become the man I am today.

          2. And they had to drill you on test taking strategy because … ?

            They thought they’d get fired for incompetence cause your scores would be so low otherwise?

        3. The reaon I hear is that it forces them to teach toward the test.

          That happens in colleges with departmental standardized final exams.

          1. I’ve wondered before if profs can get into trouble if their students perform oddly on a departmental final, i.e., the grades aren’t even close to a gaussian distribution.

            1. Right. Shouldn’t there be obvious ways to tell if a teacher is, effectively, cheating, and ya know, fire them, for doing that?

              1. I don’t know about obvious, but there are indications. There’s a whole chapter about it in Freakonomics.

          2. my old man is a professor and he said one of the cc’s around was complaining about transfer credits. he proposed giving them the same finals as the university. they backed down after that.

      2. so an unscrupolus teacher cannot game the results.

        Not really. This happened at the administrative level in Phila. where the schools were privatized, and in a Camden, NJ charter school.

    3. There is an obvious conflict of interest on having teachers getting fired if the grades those teachers hand out are too low.

      Much the same conflict of interest occurs if the kids get to grade the teacher … “Aaaaand, today everyone gets ice cream! And no homework!”

      “EVERYONE gets an A! YOU get an A! You …”

      /Ophrah voice

      1. Hence the standardized testing.

    4. Isn’t part of a teachers job supposed to be working to motivate their students? If they are unable to motivate the kids to learn why would we give them the job of teaching those kids?

  10. While I think this is way short of anything resembling a solution, it wouldn’t hurt.

    The biggest problem in the government school system is accounatability. Teachers whine about no child left behind, and administration, administration moans about unions and no authority.

    Nobody at the school is responsible for educating the kids. Give the administrators both the authority AND responsibility to manage the school according to the parent’s wishes.

    You still leave a huge gap here, because it won’t take long until the administrators also figure out that the parents are not the real consumer – the government is.

    Need to demolish the whole public school system though

    1. Lack of responsibility is one reason why all collectivism fails.

  11. IF nothing else, this blog post is a good example of libertarian thinking…that being that large, complex problems can be solved with simple, vague theoretical solutions.

    1. “Large complex problems”, that is the standard polticianspeak, for saying only they can solve the problem. And how do they solve it, by making the problem ever more large and complex.

      Stop cowering behind the “large and complex” excuse, if it was your own child being taught by a useless teacher, I doubt you would buy the “large and complex” argument but would want them fired – SIMPLE !

      1. My kid had one of those unfireable teachers. She wouldn’t show up at all for weeks on end, and when she did, little to no actual teaching occurred. She was going off the deep end, mentally. Took them a whole fucking year to get her to agree to a buyout and retire, despite the uproar from all the parents, despite parents pulling their kids out of the school entirely … a year of kids getting by with a string of substitutes or this crazy lady.

        So, fuck you, statists defending the practice of having de facto unfireable teachers.

    2. as opposed to ‘progressive thinking that large, complex problems can be solved with simple, vague theoretical solutions?

    3. Because large and complex problems must be met with correspondingly large and complex rules or institutions.


    4. Meta_Man|5.12.11 @ 5:54PM|#
      “IF nothing else, this blog post is a good example of libertarian thinking…that being that large, complex problems can be solved with simple, vague theoretical solutions.”

      The smug self-righteousness of the left has a certain………

    5. You’re right. To some people firing underperforming teachers might seem like a ‘vague theoretical solution’.

    6. As opposed to your idea of “my team is getting power and money, so where’s the problem?”

    7. Unlike progressives, who think every simple problem can be solved with a complex, intricately designed, bureaucratic solution.

  12. Looks like they might be onto something dude.

  13. Too simple. Needs more dollar signs.

    1. You forgot about the additional zeros.

  14. I think the best way for the federal government to handle education is for the federal government to not handle education. Let the states make all the decisions. Also, the best decision at the state level would be to decentralize it further and let the individual school boards and PTAs handle the policymaking. This would also apply to issues like evolution/creation, sex-ed, prayer, and other issues. Decentralize it all.

    1. Well, if one were to start nitpicking the Constitution, we would certainly include a ‘separation of State and education’ clause.

      1. Well, given that those powers not specifically assigned to the federal government are the domain of the states it would seem that federal involvement in education is unconstitutional – except for that commerce clause idiocy.

        1. The FF’s thought that it was important to separate religion from government for some historical reason.

          1. The FF’s abhored concentrations of power, hence the checks and balances among the three branches of government, the prohibition against establishment of religion, and the Federal system in general.

            I wonder what sorts of concentrations of power they would abhor now?

            1. But as we have discovered, a mere written document cannot prevent those concentrations of power.

              1. It did for a long time – not perfectly but better than anything before or since.

                Again I will ask: I wonder what sorts of concentrations of power they would abhor now?

                1. If you are referring to the separation of powers between the traditional three branches, I would say, all three. Each has accumulated its own kind of power, but the executive branch is obviously the most over-reaching.

                  I am no historian so it I can’t say where it started to go wrong – perhaps from the beginning. The Articles of Confederation were certainly a greater deterrent to concentrated power.

                  At this point I can only believe that the concept of nullification, at the state and jury level might equalize things a bit – but I am not holding my breath.

                  1. Yes, the truth is that the constitutional convention, the drafting of the constitution and its ratification were, in and of themselves, violations of the Articles of Organization as the latter did not have any provisions for convening a constitutional convention with the intent of mothballing the Articles.

                    The constitution was urged on by those who held war bonds or by those who represented those who held war bonds.

      2. But the 1st Amendment says “Congress shall make no law… respecting an establishment of religion…” If it’s decentralized, the establishment clause is irrelevant.

        1. Sorry, I misread your “separation of state and education” as “seperation of church and state”, still, I think my point about the 1st Amendment is an important one.


      Chapter 1: The Origin of Life

      Our ancestors, Adam and Eve….

      1. And the people who want their kids to learn creation can move to that state, while people who don’t can either fight the law by the power of the vote or move to another state.

        1. Sorry, I misread your “separation of state and education” as “seperation of church and state”, still, I think my point about the 1st Amendment is an important one.

          1. And that last comment was meant for Oso, not you Tulpa.

  15. Empower bureaucrats more?

    I’d like to get the bureaucrats out of education completely. Require every principal, superintendent, etc., to teach one class a day in addition to each of his/her other duties, and education would get better.

    Fire all the useless middle management types with job titles like “Deputy Associate Vice Superintendent for Curriculum Development in the Northwest Quadrant,” and education would get even better still.

  16. I have been trying to reform education for a few years – the problem is not just dismissal laws and collective bargaining agreements, the real, underlying problem is the monopoly structure. Without school choice, there is no compelling reason for teachers AND administrators to do a good job. only a small minority of folks are intrinsically motivated. Others need something from outside of them (parents’ threat to leave/loss of their tuition dollars) to do a good job.

    the libertarian position should not be local control. The libertarian position should not be parent and teacher control. the libertarian position should be parent control.

    I have not scene a single libertarian position articulate this. They are just anti-fed and in favor of local control, when local control was what got us into the problems we had before the 60s. the feds really have had no impact. Local control is not the solution. Parent control is the solution.

    1. And yet it seems an inordinate number of libertarians homeschool….so what was that about The Libertarian Position?

      1. I find the idea that the government would coerce my neighbors to provide for my children’s education abhorrent. I am also not one to rationalize accepting government “benefits” because “I paid in”. I see nothing Libertarian about public schools.

    2. I have not scene a single libertarian position articulate this.

      You haven’t looked very hard.

      You might search for “public funding/private provision” and similar phrases for one “soft” libertarian position.

      A “hard”er position is to just get the government out of the education business entirely. Though it seems to me that this is a non-starter in the foreseeable future.

      ‘Course the former option is fiercely opposed by Team SomeColor, so it may be nearly as dead in the water as the latter.

    3. So, what you’re saying is that libertarians don’t prefer school choice or vouchers or those sort of things to the status quo.


  17. ps. local control is just another form of central planning. it is where the local union, teachers, and politicians are doing the planning. libertarians should stop saying “get the feds out…” and “local control” and start saying “put the parents in charge” of which school they choose. The invisible hand will then kick in and the poor performers will be out of business.

  18. I got a one sentence education reform: Sell off public schools to the highest bidder and have the state, at all levels, get out of the education business.

    1. That would be a drastic improvement rather than the marginal one proposed in the thread’s subject.

    2. Of course, What (S)He Said. But I’m gonna go even simpler. Parents want their kids taught, teachers want to get paid, the parents pay the teachers for their services.

      I have this one doctor I go to who does cash only. Sees more patients, charges less, better quality than other MDs, no waiting…all the bullshit, simply…gone. I want to go with him to Congress and “testify” regarding all the legislation that’s being bandied about regarding “health care.” CongressCritter would ask, “So, what is this idea you’re proposing?” We’d say, “The doctor provides medical service and the patient pays for it.” Friggin radical, eh? I’m hoping the doc can keep me alive long enough for people generally to understand our idea is the ONLY acceptable way. Ahh, well, just a dream. But in my little corner of the world, at least, dreams came true.

  19. Everytine I see one of these band-aid solution proposals it just reinforces my belief that nothing can solve the problem except complete privatization and there is no problem that compose privatization cannot solve. Seriously, however you want your school run or your child taught will be your choice as you decide what school to send your child to. If you think that private schooling will price out the poor then, aside from you having no idea about demand and supply, you could just start or contribute to scholarship funds or start a cheaper school.

  20. Anyone see “Battle Royale”? There’s your solution.

    Brutally massacre everyone in a certain grade class, as an object lesson to the rest of the little shits. See how fast those grades go up.

  21. Give administrators the power to…

    …create a gigantic new bureaucracy geared towards “scoring” the teachers on some insane sabermetrics system requiring large staff and IT commitments to protect privacy, aka HUGE jobs/patronage program for college grads with worthless degrees

    sorry, I trust our “administrative” class the least.

    1. Sabermetrics? You must be hating the start to the Red Sox season or something…

  22. Finally, an ed post to kvetch on.

    13yo DD took the OAA (Ohio Achievement Assessment) science test a week ago. I asked her what they tested her on:

    Me: Any questions about protons, electrons, neutrons?

    DD: No

    Me: Did they ask you any balance of forces questions?

    DD: No

    Me: Any questions about Newtons or Joules?

    DD: No

    Me: Did they ask any questions about potential energy or kinetic energy?

    DD: One, I think.

    Me: Any genetics questions?

    DD: No

    Me: any questions about plate tectonics?

    DD: One, maybe two. There was a questions about tides and the moon.

    Me: Any weather questions?

    DD: A couple.

    and so on, for three or four more questions

    After I was done quizzing her she said, unprompted:

    “There were, like, a dozen questions about whether certain kinds of energy were renewable or not.

    1. Oh yeah, it was a 40 question test

    2. Unfortunately, lefty political activists seem to be attracted to K-12 education as an excellent place to prosyletize.

    3. This is the way all education is heading. There is a large and growing body of educators who think drilling kids on objective facts about history, science, grammar, and mathematics is just old-fashioned and useless. It’s more about the experience of learning and how to keep kids stimulated to keep learning. I appreciate aspects of this viewpoint, but absent certain objective knowledge, learning and debate and ideas go nowhere.

      One Gary Stager told me to re-read my Paiget and his observations that children learn best alone and organically, that they self-correct and don’t require strict structures in order to learn. OK then, so wherefore teachers? (his comment was in response to my comment that children should be introduced to logic and economics at early ages in order to understand cause and effect and how to form cogent arguments – he thought I was misguided to suggest that we force young minds into such patterns of thought)

  23. I am no longer allowed to talk to my wife’s friends about education…after the last time when I guess what came out of my mouth was something to the effect of “if you don’t send your kids to private/home school you basically hate your children.”
    yeah…didnt go over well.

    The latest meme from the Most Interesting Clich? Bandit, just for Meta_man
    I don’t always herp, but when I do I derp

  24. Is Meta_Man Riggs? Reason editors usually have much better troll personas.

  25. So I just got this email:

    Dear [Warty],

    Tomorrow morning at 7:00 a.m. EST I will be appearing live from New Hampshire on ABC’s Good Morning America.

    I just wanted to write you a quick note to ask you, if at all possible, to tune in to Good Morning America for an exciting announcement.

    And after the show I will be heading to historic Exeter, NH for a Liberty Rally. It should be an exciting morning!

    The rally will take place at the Exeter Town Hall at 10:00 a.m. EST. And I am told there may be one or two media outlets covering this live.

    Thank you for all your support and I hope you will tune in tomorrow for what I believe will be an historic and exciting day.

    For Liberty,

    Ron Paul

    What could it ever be?

    1. Probably some kind of Nigerian scam.

    2. Goddamnit Ron! You ruined yet another surprise birthday party!

    3. He’s dropping out and endorsing Mitt Romney.

  26. Three-word proposal for inproving Libertarians’ image:Drop Ron Paul.

    1. Max, who are you supporting in 2012?

    2. Inproving? Your hilarious typos are the only good thing about you, idiot.

  27. I’d be for this, with one caveat. Schools by and large aren’t run as independent entities or franchises that are loosely affiliated with a district. They’re a subsidiary of that district, so if you’re going to implement this, you need to make sure the district office can’t force lower performing teachers to other schools. Principals must be able to make decisions for themselves, and if they fuck up, they are fired. Which does happen today.

    One of the benefits of this is that it’ll allow principals to retain younger, more engaged and passionate teachers who are in it because they think teaching as a career instead of a paycheck.

    One last thing, have none of you even seen a successful public district or school? They are out there, you know.

    1. This is a bit like what happened to my daughter. Because of the way school choice was done in my city parents were competing to get their kids into the best ones. Thanks to luck of the draw, my daughter got stuck in the bottom ranked school in the city. Pretty much all of the good teachers were placed in two of the eleven elementary schools in the city. She spent K-4 in that school before the city decided to save money on busing and made kids go to the school nearest their home. Thankfully this turned out to be the top ranked school in the city. My daughter had a tough time of grade 5 because up until then she hadn’t really been taught anything.

      That one grade she spent in that school was enough to get her turned around. She’s just finishing up 10th grade now and has been on the honors roll every semester since starting and is in 3 honors level classes.

  28. Curious why it’s always the teachers and not the administrators that need firing. District offices are full of over priced, make-work do-nothings.

    Gee, that’s no different than corporate life is it?

  29. Aside from normal bureaucratic silliness and many overpaid teachers and administrators, I haven’t ever heard anyone explain what exactly is wrong with the education system.

    1. Sidd Finch|5.12.11 @ 9:16PM|#
      “Aside from normal bureaucratic silliness and many overpaid teachers and administrators, I haven’t ever heard anyone explain what exactly is wrong with the education system.”

      It lacks competition and responsibility for results.

      1. I phrased that horribly. What are the problems with the results? We rank very well by PISA, and I assume everyone knows 100% proficiency (NCLB goal) is theoretically impossible and, practically, totally fucking retarded.

  30. It would be great if teachers could be fired for sucking. But fat chance of that ever happening. There was a middle school teacher in Ames, IA, who was riding his bike one evening when he encountered two female students of his. He promptly dismounted and pulled out his dick. Firing was out of the question, apparently, so they promoted him to something like curriculum director, where he wouldn’t be exposed, so to speak, to children.

    1. Ouch, talk about draconian.

      1. For some reason I read that as “Catholic Crunch”.

        1. It’s a miracle in every bowl.

        2. On South Park this week …

          “And the audience is gently tossing captain crunch into the aisle… as is traditional.”

  31. Wow, this ought to be interesting:

    Rand Paul says people who support universal healthcare ‘believe in slavery’

    The Paul boys are a couple of provocative mofos, eh?

    1. Rand is Right.
      Much better than his Daddy saying we should’ve asked the Pakis to “arrest” bin Laden.Holy Christ, I’m gonna have to hold my nose to vote for him.

      1. Let Ventura give a troofer speech and follow up in the next election with an unbelievably incoherent hypothetical about the Brits wrt the Pakis … I’m fine with the “unserious” label. What else could one label a libertarian Republican who insists on alienating a huge chunk of his small base.

  32. I’ve noticed, regardless of the school or teacher, the kids who do well are the ones with supportive parents that help with homework and make sure their kids are actually studying and learning. Of course, you can’t really standardize or mandate that. Jus’ sayin’.

    1. Make parents pay the bills and they magically become more interested.

  33. ok people, here is an example of a silly but typical libertarian position on education: http://www.lawsonforcongress.c…..-education

    This policy would only enable dysfunctional localized central planning and union/local politician monopoly power. The real solution is parent control.

    1. Oh, so you mean like allowing the local voters to determine by whom and how their children should be educated?
      That really is a silly libertarian position! ROFLMAOLOL


  34. Remember when they had the power to do that? But then most states were strong-armed in to recognizing and employing unionized drones?

  35. I’ve got a much better and shorter proposal for improving America’s public education system. I can state it in two words:

    “Abolish it.”

    1. Ya, that’s what the South needs

  36. sy – libertarians should not be in favor of any form of central planning – whether it be from at the fed, state, or local level. If anything, they should be pushing for parent control.

    local control is not consistent with libertarian principles.

    1. Yes, but if control is local, it’s a lot easier to find a locale you like than if everyone in the country has the same rules.

  37. A one word response to a one-sentence[sic] proposal for improving america’s public education system: sophistry.

  38. I guess I’ll add one more thing to this.

    In northeast Mississippi, there is a large, widespread, group of parents who pitch in to hire teachers to “homeschool” their kids. I’ve met a few of theses students (most in their mid-teens) and their parents. They are like family to each other and they are probably the most well-behaved and responsible people I know. I don’t know about y’all, but that’s the kind of education I’ll want for my kids.

  39. Wow, OK that makes a lot of sense dude I like it.

  40. Here is another one sentence proposal. Fire 90% of the administrators and let teachers run the classrooms.

  41. It wouldn’t work. Nothing can make public schools “better” until government has nothing to do with schooling

  42. Here’s my one-sentence proposal:

    End the public subsidy, make parents pay for their own children’s education, and watch them suddenly become more interested in how their kids are doing.

  43. And another one:

    End school taxes and compulsory attendance, make the schools compete for students, and watch the system improve dramatically.

  44. It looks like they took a step in this direction in IL:…..tem#Reform


  45. Bad teachers are part of the problem, but testing is not helping either. My brothers and sisters and I grew up on welfare, with a mentally ill mother and an absentee father. When we were teens and my mother was committed again and again to mental institutions, we had to steal food, clothing and toiletries to survive. Yet, today, we have all broken the cycle of poverty and abuse for ourselves and our children. How? We had exceptional teachers. They didn’t just dispense facts. Instead, they provided opportunities for us to confirm our self worth. Money is not what is needed to improve education. Making it possible for caring, competent teachers to make a meaningful connection with EVERY child in the classroom makes all the difference. A high school teacher’s few positive comments scribbled in my weekly journal were enough to sustain me for a week. Soon, one week led to another and before I knew it, I was graduating from college. This magical connection in the classroom can never be measured by a standardized test. Read more at

  46. Get rid of administrators (they serve no purpose since reasonable discipline has been removed from pub. ed.) and let the money follow the student wherever he/she goes — good schools will be rewarded. Also, get rid of compulsory schooling. As a veteran teacher, I see that some people are just better off pursuing other options such as apprenticeships in a variety of fields.

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