School Choice

People For The American Way Teacher Unions

Liberal group trashes National School Choice Week for "robbing our public education system of urgently needed funds."


As my colleagues and I have noted in various education-related posts over the past few days,

This week is National School Choice Week, and Reason will be highlighting the ways in which expanding K-12 educational opportunities for children and parents can make schools better and more innovative. And we'll be documenting various ways in which traditional school districts are imploding despite spending more and more money on a per-pupil basis. 

And of course, National School Choice Week, of which Reason is a media sponsor, means that a variety of so-called progressive groups such as People for the American Way (PFAW) will claim that school choice, including everything from voucher programs to education savings accounts (ESAs) to charter schools, is nothing less than a sinister plot to dismantle that great "equalizer" in American life: K-12 education based on where a student's parents live.

To PFAW, National School Choice Week and the policies it promotes are nothing less than a "movement to undermine public education." 

Well, no. School choice in all its varieties is designed to reform and improve educational opportunities and outcomes for all students, especially those stuck in the lower reaches of the income distribution. Middle- and upper-class kids already have plenty of school choice. Their parents can send them to private schools or decide to move to an area with "great" public schools. What choice programs do is give some level of options to the neediest kids who are otherwise screwed by a system that is clearly not delivering for them.

Here are snippets from PFAW's broadside against National School Choice Week:

National School Choice Week is deliberately designed to blur important differences in educational policies that fall under a broad label like "school choice." It's entirely possible to support some kinds of school choice—like a school district creating magnet schools with curricula designed to emphasize different areas of study—and be opposed to others—like siphoning public education funds into unaccountable religious academies or fly-by-night cyberschools through vouchers or tuition tax credit schemes.

Yeah, not so much. For starters, forget about the dog whistle of religion being injected here: School-choice programs give money directly to parents and students, never directly to religious schools, which is why courts have consistently ruled that such programs don't further the establishment of religion or run afoul of "Blaine Amendment" concerns. Indeed, to follow PFAW's logic, Pell grants and federal student loans for college should be scrapped since the funds get used at religious schools such as Notre Dame as easily as state schools such as Purdue or Indiana University. 

Are schools of choice unaccountable? Any school that only gets money by attracting and keeping students is by definition accountable. The right of exit ensures that rotten schools that don't serve the desires of parents or students will go out of business (as they should). We should also recognize that different people have different ideas about what constitutes quality education (go ask your friends who spring big bucks for a Waldorf school or a Montessori joint and get back to me). But you know what schools tend to persist for decades despite awful results? Public schools whose funding is largely disconnected from the number of students attending on a regular basis much less the performance of those students.

Are charters, the most popular form and fastest-growing form of school choice, effective? PFAW grants that "charter schools, like traditional public schools, are a mixed bag," with some doing great and others not so much. That goes along with a general line that, on average, charters perform neither better nor worse than public schools. As I'll explain in a moment, that's not quite right but even if it were, that would be an argument in favor of charters, which cost less and allow students to leave easily. Charters get about $3,000 less per pupil than traditional schools.

But in fact, when you actually compare outcomes among disproportionately poor and minority students in urban areas using randomized control trials (RCTS), you find again and again and again that charters are nothing short of a godsend. Rather than use broad categories, RCTs match similarly situated students by comparing kids who got into a charter with those who signed up but were wait-listed and instead attended nearby public schools instead.

Arkansas University's Jay P. Greene summarizes the research, which is worth quoting at length:

Students in urban areas do significantly better in school if they attend a charter schools than if they attend a traditional public school.  These academic benefits of urban charter schools are quite large.  In Boston, a team of researchers from MIT, Harvard, Duke, and the University of Michigan, conducted a RCT and found:  "The charter school effects reported here are therefore large enough to reduce the black-white reading gap in middle school by two-thirds."

A RCT of charter schools in New York City by a Stanford researcher found an even larger effect: "On average, a student who attended a charter school for all of grades kindergarten through eight would close about 86 percent of the 'Scarsdale-Harlem achievement gap' in math and 66 percent of the achievement gap in English."

The same Stanford researcher conducted an RCT of charter schools in Chicago and found:  "students in charter schools outperformed a comparable group of lotteried-out students who remained in regular Chicago public schools by 5 to 6 percentile points in math and about 5 percentile points in reading…. To put the gains in perspective, it may help to know that 5 to 6 percentile points is just under half of the gap between the average disadvantaged, minority student in Chicago public schools and the average middle-income, nonminority student in a suburban district."

And the last RCT was a national study conducted by researchers at Mathematica for the US Department of Education.  It found significant gains for disadvantaged students in charter schools but the opposite for wealthy suburban students in charter schools.  They could not determine why the benefits of charters were found only in urban, disadvantaged settings, but their findings are consistent with the three other RCTs that found significant achievement gains for charter students in Boston, Chicago, and New York City.

When you have four RCTs – studies meeting the gold standard of research design – and all four of them agree that charters are of enormous benefit to urban students, you would think everyone would agree that charters should be expanded and supported, at least in urban areas.  If we found the equivalent of halving the black-white test score gap from RCTs from a new cancer drug, everyone would be jumping for joy – even if the benefits were found only for certain types of cancer.

But when we're talking about K-12 education, we're rarely talking about what's actually good for students first and foremost, especially poor kids whose parents have precious little social, economic, or political capital. Suddenly, what we really need to talk about are the various "stakeholders" in the system, ranging from teachers (always portrayed as underpaid and underappreciated) to homeowners (gotta maintain property values tied to public schools) to, well, OK, students too. When you want to change a system that has little to show for massive, inflation-adjusted funding increases over decades, students are just one interest group among many.

You can get a whiff of that sort of thinking in the way PFAW winds up its criticism of National School Choice Week:

Educators and activists are working to identify and implement reforms that support teachers, parents, families, and students in order to give every student a chance at a great education. Some kinds of school choice, like magnet schools and fully accountable public charter schools, can be part of the solution.

But robbing our public education system of urgently needed funds, and sending taxpayer money to unaccountable private and religious schools, or turning management of schools over to profit-maximizing corporations, is not in the public interest. It is in the interest of ideologues who are hostile to teachers unions and the very idea of public education, and to those who seek to profit off the billions of dollars the American people spend on education.

By trying to smooth over crucial distinctions between policies that promote stronger public schools and policies that promote private interests, National School Choice Week distorts a necessary public debate.

Note that in the litany of stakeholders in education, students come last, as they typically do in discussions of reforms. In every state in the country K-12 teachers represent the single-largest professional bloc of voters and most of them are represented either by unions or other collective-bargaining units that make sure their interests are front and center. It's great the PFAW is willing to admit that many public schools are tanking, but in drawing meaningless and invidious distinctions between "accountable" and "unaccountable" schools and tooting the religion dog whistle like nobody's business, PFAW is the one distorting the discussion.

In apples-to-apples comparisons made via RCTs, charters outperform traditional public schools. That fact needs to be better understood and publicized: When you give poor parents and students more options (even ones that cost taxpayers less, as charter schools do on a per-pupil basis), they get better outcomes. That's a success, full stop, and it should be all that matters when talking about education reform.

And giving students a fraction of the amount of per-pupil spending that traditional schools get (whether kids show up or not) isn't "robbing" the system of anything. It's a better use of tax dollars than flushing more money down schools that aren't delivering.

For critics of school choice who persist in thinking that giving poor inner-city kids a better shot at getting an education is some sort of reactionary right-wing update to the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiments, take a couple of minutes to listen to Howard Fuller and Kevin Chavous, two well-regarded African-American reformers who have something to say to you (click below).

These guys understand what every good libertarian and every good Marxist knows to be true: The main function of a state-run education system is to maintain, legitimate, and replicate the existing social order and power structure, not to give the lower orders a way up or out. Once you realize that the function of the traditional school system, whatever the intentions of the individuals comprising it, is to set the status quo in cement, then suddenly it makes sense that spending more money has no positive effect.

School choice, whether through straight-up vouchers (private or public), scholarship programs, or charters, is a proven and increasingly popular way around impediments to social and economic mobility. It is part and parcel of a world whose traditional power centers are rapidly decentralizing and losing control and authority. And it's about goddamn time.

Take it away, Howard Fuller and Kevin Chavous:

NEXT: Chicago Police Deliberately Sabotaging Recording Devices, According to Report

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  1. Go fuck yourselves, edu-crat shitweasels.

    1. Co-sign from a person becoming a teacher in a year.

      Why so many teachers fail to draw the line between their advocacy for more money, and the growth of the hated bureaucracy above them is a mystery unto me. Honestly, we probably spend enough to make all of our schools palaces- if we didn’t have the bajillion assistant vice superintendents over them.

  2. …siphoning public education funds into unaccountable religious academies or fly-by-night cyberschools through vouchers or tuition tax credit schemes.

    Only one public monies scheme at a time, please.

    1. The funny thing is the people that would fall for those sorts of scams were largely educated in the public school system….

      1. Yeah, one of the thing I want to do as a teacher: Teach as much econ. knowledge as popular in the grades below 12th, when it becomes mandatory. Somehow, this is going to have to be planned around content standards, because the content standards for those grades… you’re supposed to get basic ideas like a very bare-bones conceptualization of supply and demand, not be able to explain the basic insights behind the laffer curve or really get into ideas of inflation and deflation.

        By the way, it is not accidental that Economics isn’t taught until 12th grade, the same year as government. Its a year where if they kid is going to college they are probably slacking by the time you get to econ in the second semester, if they aren’t they are looking for jobs that semester or have already dropped out.

        I mean, that’s Cali, but we have huge influence nationwide. If you want to know why people are retards economically, it’s because the schools are scheduled to teach it only at the very end when you’ve checked out. And Common Core content standards in history are not going to change that.

        So, instead, I get to figure out how, with X minutes in a class period, to take a bit of time away from content standards to focus on a bit of econ because I think that’s important and the content standard designers can fuck themselves.

        I give myself about a decade in the classroom before I’ll be needing to find a new job. It’s already being accounted for.

        1. Econ is required? I have never taken an econ course at any level of education. I’d like to think I’ve done a reasonably good job at learning through other means.

          1. Part of the Cali content standards for 12th grade:


            I didn’t have econ at 12th grade in CT, but I did AP Gov.

            Somehow, Californians are fucktarded economically. To be fair, it is insane how many teachers- even math teachers who look down their noses at us non-calculus doers- will admit an ignorance of economics and an inability to teach it without even a hint of shame.

            1. Yep. I had AP Econ as a senior. I knew after the 1st day that I’d be studying it in college.

              1. I need to crash course myself again through that shit in case I’m asked to teach it in the first year.

                I was Poli Sci/History major and I’ve taken Micro and Macro, plus done the sort of varied economic reading libertarians tend to. Used to read the Economist, that sort of shit.

                Any books you’d recommend for an econ brush-up Playa, other than the obvious Idiot’s Guide and Dummy’s Guide type stuff.

                1. Basic economics by Thomas Sowell. But maybe you wanted something more advanced?

                2. A related book I read in high school that has always stuck with me: How To Lie With Statistics by Darrell Huff. It’s a very entertaining way to teach people how to look at charts, graphs, surveys, etc.

                3. Show them Milton Friedman youtube videos.

                  1. Milton Friedman videos, yes.

                    1. No, not Milton Friedman. David Friedman. Unlike in the Paul family, the son is better than the father. Have them all read The Machinery of Freedom.

                4. While not a text book, a highly entertaining econ. book, and one whose ideas could be put to great use in a high school class, is “The Armchair Economist” by Steven Landsburg. Each chapter is an independent topic. As an example, the chapter “The Iowa Car Crop” is a great explanation of trade, and explains how the U.S. can produce cars either by manufacturing them in Detroit by or growing them in Iowa.

        2. “If you want to know why people are retards economically, it’s because the schools are scheduled to teach it only at the very end when you’ve checked out.”

          I actually want to know why politicians are retards economically. That ordinary people are does not surprise me in the least, but I can’t understand how someone gets to be a senator or even a presidential candidate without having even a basic clue about how economics works.

          1. They’re trying to get the votes of the ordinary people.

        3. What subject do you teach? If you have a strong passion for teaching economics, you should be able to design lessons around economics that meet the standards. Who’s stopping you?

  3. To PFAW, National School Choice Week and the policies it promotes are nothing less than a “movement to undermine public education.”

    Look, if you’re not trying to undermine public education I’m going to waffle on supporting you on this.

    (I mean, choice is better than none.

    But removing the entire wasteful, destructive system – which in addition to its libertarian issues with the fundamental coercive issues, has the Constitutional one of by no means being something the Feds have any right to enforce, and whether or not a State does depends on its constituting documents – is far better.)

    1. That’s all fine and dandy. But until ONE libertarian actually gets elected to a single school board somewhere in the US and actually creates a working model of a ‘libertarian education system’; then you’re just pissing in the wind. No parent anywhere is gonna turn over their kid to an unproven theory

      1. a ‘libertarian education system’

        is a contradiction in terms.

        No parent anywhere is gonna turn over their kid to an unproven theory

        1. An unproven theory if ever there was one.

          1. Goddamn squirrels.

            No parent anywhere is gonna turn over their kid to an unproven theory

            Public education is an unproven theory if ever there was one.

            1. Oh, I’d say it’s proven quite a bit. Not what it’s proponents claim it does, but it’s proven something.

  4. Can we just refer to them as parasites and stop fucking around already?

    1. Only if you consider parasites to be heroes, which I do.

      1. “Stop! We’ll leave, but someday you’ll be eating a fast-food burger, and boom! You’ll be crawling with us again. Ever wonder what makes special sauce so special? Yo.”

        1. “My ancestors came over here on the sandwich!”

      2. The parasite-host eternal battle is one of the in driving forces of evolution.

  5. Is Normal Lear driving this campaign?

  6. crucial distinctions between policies that promote stronger public schools and policies that promote private interests

    Sometimes the mask slips, and sometimes it just ends up in the trash.

  7. Charters are libertarian, because….yay, different flavor of government school!!!

  8. Pubsec unions: government employees using taxpayer money to lobby the government for more taxpayer money. Isn’t this massively corrupt?

  9. School choice motto:

    I choo-choose you!

  10. …with some doing great and others not so much…

    And the Trumpification of America continues apace.

    1. Oh, the picture in the story? That’s one of the smaller encampments. It only has 7 or eight $700 mountain bikes.

    2. Seattle has very walkable neighborhoods and good schools, which is why it is so awesome. That is what I heard on the radio today.

      1. The first half of the statement is correct.

    3. “The witness said Fats is the most established and well-to-do of The Jungle residents, a man known to invite women into his tent to get high. Fats’ tent is two to three times the size of others nearby. Around his tent are a couch, firepit, altar, propane grill, generator, a tent for storage and many bicycles.”

      Wait, these people established a hierarchy? Damn 1 percent…

      1. Damn straight they do. Every culture has its rich man.

    4. Meh, that is just a weird shooting thing that happened one time.

  11. Public school systems, to paraphrase prog-speak, are ‘single payer education.’

    1. I’m not sure they’d retreat from that description.

  12. Monopolies are evil, until they’re government sector monopolies, at which point they suddenly, magically become virtuous.

    1. It’s the magic of democracy, which never actually seems to be, or ever has been, properly realized according to progressives. But they don’t call it magic for nothing!

  13. OT: “We don’t arm up and rebel,” said Ward, urging everyone involved in the occupation to “move on.”

    “We work through the appropriate channels. This can’t happen anymore. This can’t happen in America, and it can’t happen in Harney County,” the sheriff said.

    I have no real sympathy for the occupiers, but actually, Sheriff, arming up and rebelling is how this country came to be in the first place.

    1. Wasn’t Oregon pretty much founded because a bunch of armed white men moved and occupied it when it was dispute territory?

          1. Fuckin’ dipshits need to learn how to say Oregon correctly.

  14. To PFAW, National School Choice Week and the policies it promotes are nothing less than a “movement to undermine public education.”

    Well, no. School choice in all its varieties is designed to reform and improve educational opportunities and outcomes for all students,

    Well, yes. What does “reforming and improving educational opportunities and outcomes for all students” have to do with “public education”? If you had a magic knowledge pill that kids could take and instantly know as much as any college grad, handing out that pill would be undermining public education in the worst way. “Public education”, like most any “public” institution isn’t about the outcomes, it’s about the inputs. It’s about the process, not the results. “Public education” is a wonderful success – look at how many people it employs and how much money it spends! Who cares if our children is learning? We’ve got a magnificently complicated system operating here, isn’t that an accomplishment to be proud of? See how well this machine works? Who are you to come along and try to undermine all this by asking “But what is the point of the machine?” The point of the machine is to be a machine.

  15. I’m a big fan of Public School. Especially the schools my girls go to which are Blue-Ribbon Suburban schools that rank withing the top 5% in NY State. We really don’t need school-choice in my District. I made the “school-choice” when I moved in. They cater to the gifted-and-talented as well as ESL and Special Education. We have special ed kids that run over $100k per year. The average kid cost about $14k per year.

    My School Taxes are pretty high ($10k/year) and that doesn’t include town/villiage tax.

    Many school districts in NY, NJ, and I’m sure in other parts of America are similar to where I am at. There are several private elite schools that cost in the magnitude of $30k-$40k as well.

    But people who live in school districts with lousy schools or dangerous schools or schools that don’t cater to the specific special needs of children should have school choice. Success Academy schools in NYC have a lottery to admission since charter schools can’t have admission policy or entrance exams. So to get around this, Success Academy throws a wide net, takes in whatever kids win the lottery, and weeds out ALL OF THE KIDS with behavior problems and learning disabilities.

    Just get rid of the policy that Charter Schools can’t have an entrance examination or admission policy.

    There’s nothing worst for an inner-city family than Winning the Education Lottery for their kids just to have it stripped away.

    1. There’s nothing worst for an inner-city family than Winning the Education Lottery for their kids just to have it stripped away.

      There is nothing worse than that.

    2. My School Taxes are pretty high ($10k/year) and that doesn’t include town/villiage tax.

      You mean “property taxes”, and guess what, parasite? The public school you love so much is being subsidized by people without kids and people with kids no longer in the system, who pay for it even though they get nothing out of it.

      So enjoy being a “big fan” of public school. I guess you’re a “big fan” of being a piece of shit parasite too.

      1. 10k a year for New York property taxes is not a lot, either.

        1. That is JUST SCHOOL TAX, Property tax is another $6k

          1. It isn’t just one price?

            1. It is. The moronic sockpuppet is making shit up, because it’s a moronic sockpuppet.

        2. I am aware of that. I had a house in Orange County.

          1. First, stop bragging.
            Second, I know you know, but maybe the kids out there reading these comments, those innocent, little nubile youngsters who have a thirst for knowledge, maybe they did not know.

            1. I didn’t give you permission to address me, sockpuppet.

      2. Oh what a stupid twit. The value of your property is mostly a consequence of the school infrastructure nearby. Tear down the local school – and you’ve just eliminated most future buyers of your property because they will have kids. I swear libertarians are fucking clueless.

        1. Who said tear it down?

          Sell it.

        2. The value of your property is mostly a consequence of the school infrastructure nearby.

          Holy Science you are an imbecile. Clearly a product of public “education”.

          Dipshit: “If there were no public schools people wouldn’t live in houses

    3. I’m a big fan of Public School

      Well, that was really hard to figure out.

  16. What libertarians really want is for the parents of children to pay the entire costs of private schools and that there be absolutely no publicly funded schools.

    Practically every libertarian I come across has the attitude of
    “The School Tax is THEFT. I don’t have kids. Why the fuck am I paying to educate other people’s fucking kids?”

    I don’t believe libertarians truly support charter schools.

    I believe that accepting publicly funded private schools is a compromise.

    1. What libertarians really want is for the parents of children to pay the entire costs of private schools and that there be absolutely no publicly funded schools.

      No shit, moron. Is this somehow a revelation to you?

      1. The dirty secret of libertarians: they want you to pay for the goods and services you use.

        1. There’s always a catch.

        2. Bro. My bar tab tonight. Can you spot me?

    2. Well…no duh. I work for the damn public school system, and can’t stand it and want to see it privatized.

    3. Hi Alice. I’m a libertarian. I understand the “taxation is theft” argument. I agree with it. I’d prefer a world without coercive taxation. But I can live with it if I think those tax dollars are at least being put to good use. I would much rather have a system of school vouchers. I’d be mostly satisfied with that. I’d be even happier with a system that doesn’t require a school to get a government stamp of approval for accepting vouchers, but I know that is an even longer shot. Mostly, though, I want kids to get a better education. Charter schools can help do that, so I support them. “Support” doesn’t have to imply “absolute”.

      But I’d like to clarify one thing. “No publicly funded schools” does not necessarily imply “parents of children pay the entire costs of private schools”. In the total absence of taxpayer funding of education, I would hope that philanthropy would step up to fill the void. I don’t have kids but I’d contribute to something like that. I already volunteer a lot of time to education.

      1. I would hope that philanthropy would step up to fill the void. I don’t have kids but I’d contribute to something like that.

        Just like Liberals like myself hope and wish for the goodness of other people, Libertarians are guilty of the same.

        PEOPLE in general (Liberals and Libertarians and Conservatives) will give NOTHING to charity. Especially for people that they don’t like. I wouldn’t want to give money towards Texan schools because I think Texans are a bunch of armed stupid conservative religious bigots. I can imagine Texans and libertarians and conservatives not wanting to give money towards Schools in Bronx, NY because they are a bunch of illegal non-English speaking GOD-LESS Democrat Voting Liberals.

        So, charity won’t work.

        1. So your imagined evil greedy people seems to be just you. You won’t give to charity. You don’t like people. You need the state to force you to pay, and can’t imagine anyone who could be different.

        2. That says more about you than it does about Texans, libertarians, or conservatives.

          1. And it sure as hell says more about you than it does me.

        3. Any school relying on charity is already failing.

          Charitable organizations would happily fund needy children’s private school education – and promptly cancel it for any fuckups that abuse it. Just like any private school would expel suck fuckups. Like you, for example.

        4. I go with that BIG LIBERAL Warren Buffet: “We never want to count on the kindness of strangers…”

          You all assume that I don’t give to charity. Well you are all wrong.

          1. All I assumed was that you’re a bigot, since you don’t care about the children of people that are different than you.

            1. But even that doesn’t prove your point, because if liberals only donated to other liberals, and conservatives only donated to other conservatives, and libertarians didn’t donate to other libertarians, then everyone would still be taken care of by their own, except the libertarians who, in your world view, would rather die than accept charity anyway.

              1. I wouldn’t be so charitable as to label his consistent lack of principle a worldview.

          2. No, Buffet wants to rely on his cronies in government instead.

        5. You’re a self-admitted social leech, an authoritarian collectivist, and you also haven’t the slightest shred of knowledge regarding human nature, or of the malign policies you support.

          You have no right to enchain your compatriots to service your preferences financially. Fuck off.

        6. Eat shit, Alice, the cost of grades 1-6 is really pretty small, equipment wise. You can do it without stealing from you neighbors, like I have my children’s entire lives. I am not rich. I make fucking sacrifices for my own children. People who will not are shit and need to fuck themselves sideways.with a rusty chainsaw.

      2. Private schools would cost less if that’s all there were, sans the idiotic compulsory attendance laws.

        For starters, you wouldn’t be stuck with this K-12, 8a-3p, M-F model. The child would likely learn personal responsibility by age 6 and most kids would be done by age 13 and could then start apprenticeship programs.

    4. Charters are better than public due to their lack of ties to the traditional establishment and system. They are developing their own system which will probably become bloated, but its slimmer right now.

      My ranking goes


      1. ah, fuck, mispost

        PublicCharterVoucherFull Private

      2. Dude, it really is not to late. You haven’t worked as a thief, yet. Don’t. Don’t rationalize evil actions, which is what you are doing. Can you not do something that doesn’t require theft from your fellows? Something where no government guns are implied? All this time here and you are going to get down on your knees and suck government cock for a few bucks? Have some pride.

        1. Dude, we are a libertarian website where some of us have owned up to being government workers. So climb down off your high horse a bit and grow a goddamn pair of humility, because unfortunately the reach of the state is such that we all must compromise somewhat with evil. The state is like sin; it’s hard to go through life without getting some of it on you.

          Look, ideally I’ll go private pretty quickly, but if the only jobs available are gov’t funded? Given the way gov’t spending crowds out private education? Yeah, I’ll make a deal with the devil for a few years, which I wish wasn’t the case.

          On the other hand, there is a legitimate and real market for education, and has been since at least the Ancient Greeks (It does disappoint me that one of my job benefits isn’t to bugger my younger male students like Socrates got to). That the state has gotten so heavily involved is unfortunate, but I think to look at all teachers, including private ones, as parasites is just shitty.

          Also, “have some pride”? Marshall, take a rusty screwdriver, bend over, and shove it up your ass till it comes out your forehead, por favor.

    5. “publicly funded private schools”


    6. Is your position that parents should not be responsible for the costs of raising their kids? If so, can you explain why? If not, can you explain why education is not a parental responsibility?

      1. ^^^This times a thousand. I don’t have children and I get tired of people with kids complaining about how much they “cost”. I don’t like being taxed for schools that I don’t use. I’m also reminded this time of year that by virtue of producing offspring, babymakers get thousands of bucks in taxes back (depending upon the number of kids). How about giving me the money back because I use less of the system?

        1. Common mistakes.

          You’re not paying for schools you don’t use. You’re paying now for the schools you used when you were young.

          Baby makers don’t get thousands back for their kids, the kids get the standard exemption just like you do–it just goes to their parents because they’re minors.

          You use more of the system because you’re not creating future taxpayers to take up the burden/ maintain civilization after the current crop hits it’s dotage.

  17. I love being a teacher in Texas. It’s a right-to-work state, so while there is technically a teacher union, they’re feeble and do nothing except pay for lawyers sometimes if you get caught doing something you shouldn’t. It’s almost more of an insurance pool type of thing. They claim to do a lot, but they really don’t, and their political influence is nil.

    According to THIS CHART, Texas teacher unions (there’s a few different ones) are 44th weakest in the country, as they should be. Not sure what we need to do to get them to 50.

    Needless to say, my attitude does not go over much with my “colleagues”, so I tend not to discuss such things.

    But oh, the nefarious thoughts I’m planting in the yoots in gov’t and econ class…!

    1. “That’s right. They think they have a good union but they don’t. They’re basically slaves

      1. “Tell them I hate them.”

        1. “Grunka-lunk dunka-de darmedguards…”

          1. “Shut the hell up!”

          2. “Hey look! The disgusting little men are starting to sing!”

      2. The best part is when I point out that in general, our salaries and benefits are well within the norms of other, heavily unionized states (when adjusted for regional cost of living). The only difference is, we get to keep more of our money.

    2. Gojira, are you a history teacher?

      Because I start student teaching next year, and if you wouldn’t mind, I would love to contact you for some advice.

      1. I’m certified in social studies 7-12, so that encompasses history, geography, econ, gov’t, etc. The “soft” stuff.

        I’m just subbing right now, trying to get my foot in the door so to speak, but I do only sub in my area. It’s quite fun to fuck up a teacher’s entire semester of “how to be a good student and love Keynesian and Democracy” with only a few days of my specifically designed de-programming lessons. “Hello kids, I’m Mr. (Insert Name), and I’m here to tell you that the government is full of doo-doo and you shouldn’t trust anything they say.” I’ve not gotten a bad report yet, but I fully expect to at some point.

        Anyway, feel free to contact me at the email address in the handle. I’ll forward it on to my real, super-secret email address and reply from there.

        1. I’ll forward it on to my real, super-secret email address and reply from there.

          1. :hovers over link:
            Hey! That’s a real email address!!

        2. scratch “good student” and replace with “good citizen”.

          Which really was/is a stated goal of public schools. They still say the pledge, no kidding. I want to throw up every time, and make a point to stay seated while it’s broadcast.

        3. Will do.

          If I ever perfect a lesson plan on the laffer curve centered around the song “Tax Man” and student’s (hopefully) intuitive understanding that they would do everything in THEIR power to not pay 95% of THEIR income in tax… so the optimal tax rate MUST sit somewhere lower than that…

          well, I’ll let you know.

        4. “I’m just subbing right now, trying to get my foot in the door”

          My new mommie taught in TX for ten years. I like you JJ so I am just gonna throw this out there…dont do it.

          She quit and started selling cookies, makes practically nothing but loves it. You couldn’t make her go back to teaching at gun point.

      2. I would love to contact you for some advice.

        1st day, send one the little fuckers to the office. Sets the tone.

        1. Or you can just watch the entire catalog of The Substitute movies, but only the ones starring Treat Williams.

    3. If you are happy with your pay and your work conditions and your benefits, why would you need a union?

      1. They want more. A shocking number of them never worked in the private sector, as I did my entire life up until a month ago, and have no idea how good they have it.

        1. In my opinion, Unions are for market failures. That is, workers are unable to leave crappy jobs because all of the jobs pay shit, have no benefits, and treat people bad.

          If you came from the private sector, then you must (or should have a nest egg). These other people don’t have that. And, if you don’t have a nest egg after spending your entire life in the private sector (the free market and all), you failed at capitalism.

          1. I do have a nest egg, having made less than these jackasses start at. Because I follow the radical right-wing philosophy of “don’t buy shit you can’t afford”.

            I save up and pay at least half down on all vehicles, bought a house $90k cheaper than the max we were “pre-approved” for, and the wife and I refuse to have children. And guess what? We live pretty high on the hog on the much-maligned teacher’s salary.

            You want to have kids, and be a teacher, and live the good life? FUCK…YOU. Pick your priorities in life and make it happen.

            1. and the wife and I refuse to have children

              Who washes the car?

              1. Mexicans.

                I already said I lived in Texas, so I thought that would be self-evident.

          2. Google “average income teacher” and I get this

            The BLS reports the median annual salary for high school teachers was $55,360 in 2013. The best-paid 10 percent in the field made approximately $86,720, while the bottom 10 percent made $37,230. Compensation is typically based on years of experience and educational level.

            If you can’t build a nest egg when your retirement-level income is $86,000 (and you probably get a pension) then I’m not so sure you will make the best role model for young people…

          3. And, if you don’t have a nest egg after spending your entire life in the private sector (the free market and all), you failed at capitalism

            Finances, you stupid fuck, not “capitalism”. They were bad with how they spent their money/resources, not in their participation in a economic system of trade.

            If you came from the private sector, then you must (or should have a nest egg). These other people don’t have that

            Who are “these other people”? Government employees? If they don’t have a nest egg, as you claim, then either they failed at finance, which doesn’t make them very smart, and not someone who should be educating children. Or, the government failed them by not providing for its employees, which makes your support of it all that much more idiotic.

          4. Voluntary unions, ones not empowered immorally by the power of government, or buttressed eternally by its favors? Sure. Otherwise, no.

        2. Seriously, it is insane to me that in education, the best comped jobs are in the PUBLIC sector.

          In terms of compensation + amount of work/effort you’re actually expected to put in + job bennies, public school teachers have it made.

          People get jobs at public schools when they have kids for two reasons: Pay bump and job security increase. Seriously, you have good teachers who leave Catholic or charter schools to go to bog-standard, over-managed public schools because their wife has just had a baby and they want the money and they can be more active in the kid’s life because they work fewer hours.

          It’s nucking futs.

            1. I’m really glad I’m getting my Masters+credential at a Catholic school, because I feel it is a bit of a different perspective there than it would be at many places. My teacher’s haven’t been anti-union (one even encouraged us to join the union if it’s at our school on the basis that the only way to change it is to work through it. Before anyone here shits on the guy, the class was actually really interesting, the guy was super honest about the classroom experience and dealing with everything, and I only expect so much from the educational field- especially given that the guy’s brother worked in the Obama White House for a time as some mid-level chief of staff office dude) but aren’t exactly pushing it or pro-Union. They are also pretty honest about the fact that not all teachers are good teachers or should be teaching; that not all parents or kids are saints.

              The do push social justice as a thing, but it’s a Catholic university so that comes with the territory.

              1. I need to get my masters, but that’s going to wait until I’ve been “in the field” for a few years and are sure it’s right for me, and more importantly, right for the kids that I’m teaching. Who gives a damn if I’m happy, if I’m fucking up the kids’ education by not being any good at what I do.

                1. The fact that it comes with a full credential is what makes it really nice.

                  I… sadly, to an extent, did the opposite. I had always wanted to teach, so I finally went into it in my later 20s, but in some way I do also see it as a useful day job that will let me do things like writing on the side.

                  I’m also somewhat interested in the policy side- mostly using actual classroom experience to back it up when I try to shoot down dumb mandates and regs imposed from on high.

        3. One of my favorites: At a public school, if it is over you’re contract hours, you are allowed to jet from an IEP meeting!

          You shouldn’t do that until you have tenure, but yeah, once you have tenure, you can fuck over a student with special needs+ their parents and do something that would normally get the school into HUGE legal trouble. Because eff staying 5 extra minutes, you didn’t go into teaching for students.

          1. And by shouldn’t, I don’t mean you will lose your job. They just may not keep you long enough to get tenure and you’ll have to start with a new district. You can still fuck the kid over.

    4. Not sure what we need to do to get them to 50

      Eliminate them.

  18. Also I’m happy to report that, after a few months of my poop being inexplicably green, over the last few days it has returned to a healthy brown color.

    I know everyone was worried about that.

    1. So you finally stopped drinking that particular flavor of Gatorade, JJ. Way to go, we knew you could do it.

        1. I forgot about that.

          One summer after working in the heat all day I got an irresistible craving for grape juice. I went to the store and bought a half gallon of purple grape juice, a big cup, and a bag of ice. I guzzled down one huge glass after another until it was gone.
          God, that was good.

          I then spent the next three days shitting green and farting incessantly. I don’t mean little farts either. And by incessantly I don’t mean one every five minutes. God, that was awful.

    2. And no photographic evidence has been presented? I am disappointed.

      1. Crusty, I know Google has what you’re looking for. Ctrl-T!

  19. I’ve never understood the argument that taking a kid out of a public school (and the concurrent funding for same) short changes public school budgets. If you don’t have x number of students sitting at their desks, then you don’t need the money.

    1. Charter school kids get vouchers from the state. So by extension, when you take one kid out of school, his money goes with him.

      I’ve argued for years that the pub school system screwed itself when it said it costs “x dollars per student” as a justification for all the money they get. The reality is it doesn’t. If you pull one kid out of school, then the school system loses ‘x’ dollars, but no administrators are fired, retasked, schools closed etc. So technically, every time a kid gets a voucher and leaves the school, you actually raised the cost per student, because the school system doesn’t change anything to reflect that loss of students and or $.

      1. Well, there are fixed costs and variable costs. I understand that if a charter school takes two kids out of each of ten schools, then the schools aren’t going to shutter a school or a classroom or fire a teacher. However, with hundreds of new kids being added and subtracted every school year due to families moving in and out of a school district, I don’t see anything wrong with basing funding on the number of students.

        1. There’s your error. There are fixed costs and fixed costs.

          1. Boom. Watch a blue city try to close a school because class sizes are “too small”. Just watch. Go ahead, watch.

  20. Just get rid of the policy that Charter Schools (Publicly funded for-profit Private Schools) can’t have an entrance examination or admission policy.


    I can’t wait to see the “Free Market” step and cater to lower-income families with physically disabled kids and the kids with behavior problems. The Free Market probably won’t.

    So here is a solution, create Charter Schools (Publicly funded for-profit Private Schools) for physically disabled kids and the kids with behavior problems.

    There you have it guys. SCHOOL CHOICE. HA ! HA ! HA!

    1. Easy: education isn’t a right. If you have a kid with problems, and can’t afford to get him special education, well…sorry ’bout your luck. The universe issues no guarantees. Maybe you shouldn’t have had kids.

      1. Unfortunately, the CA constitution would beg to differ.

        1. Every state begs to differ. Don’t make it right.

      2. The thing about that attitude is that it cuts both ways. The universe issues no guarantees. You have no actual tangible “rights” (guarantees) so if the government successfully threatens you into paying for some kid and 10 administrators to “teach” him, then sorry ’bout your luck.

    2. The RCTs Nick cites undermine your claims.

    3. Hitler’s mein kampf has an entire chapter on the disabled and even offers a (final) solution.

      The people with disabled kids no longer have the “Maybe you shouldn’t have kids’ options.

      I can see you are true libertarian with no empathy for people with disabled kids.

      reply to this

      1. Of course I have empathy for them. I’ve taught SPED kids. I have so much empathy, both for them AND for the rest of society, that I’m willing to donate my time and money to private solutions for them, while simultaneously NOT advocating for everybody else to pay for their misfortune.

          1. Is Tulpad a new type of feminine hygiene product?

      2. Funny that your version of “empathy” has to come from the barrel of a gun. Because, Zod forbid if someone–anyone–refuses to go along with your version.

        1. U make it sound like it is “My version”.

          1. Well, when the shoe fits…

            It’s what you ARE advocating-“charity” that’s legislated, and, therefore, enforced at the barrel of a gun.

    4. You’d be surprised at how many things become extremely affordable when the state isn’t fucking it up into expensiveness.

        1. Fun little example a lot of us can relate to, but magnified tenfold, because it’s Britain:


          British drivers pay a higher rate of tax on fuel than any other motorists in the European Union, according to a new study.
          For every litre of unleaded petrol bought in the UK, 61 per cent of the pump price goes to the government as fuel duty and VAT along with 59 per cent of every litre of diesel.

    5. Yes, because most people only give charity to those who don’t need it. They would never stoop to help children with disabilities and people who are poor. St. Jude’s, Habitat for Humanity, and a thousand other groups would like to have a word with you…

  21. “urgently needed funds”

    Those vacations aren’t going to take themselves.

  22. Hitler’s mein kampf has an entire chapter on the disabled and even offers a (final) solution.

    The people with disabled kids no longer have the “Maybe you shouldn’t have kids’ options.

    I can see you are true libertarian with no empathy for people with disabled kids.

    1. You oughtta read some Joseph Goebbels. Dude sounds like a soft Bernie Sanders!

    2. You seem super intelligent. How does one become such a deep thinker like yourself?

      1. How much did you have to drink today, Playa?

    3. Re: David Bowie (RIP),

      I can see you are true libertarian with no empathy for people with disabled kids.

      Because one shows empathy by…. Paying taxes?

      Marxians are funny.

    4. Hitler
      Social Contract
      I have won an argument

  23. I heard that there’s a lot of internet hooliganism going on in this blog. Some blonde chick by the name of Postrel told me that, said I’d fit right in around here.

  24. How about abolishing all public education? How about that?

    Here’s a funny story: For some sick reason I attended some Democrat Party-party on election night with my buddy, whose friend just won an election. Woop-dee-fucking-do. So after getting a little sauced I decided to stop hiding my libertarian-ness and just started telling people what I actually believe with no filter. I told this one lady who was going on and on about education that I didn’t think the government should be involved in education at all, and that all public education should be abolished. She thought I was joking. Even when my friend chimed in and said, “No, this is what he actually believes, no shit” she just could not take the idea seriously. She thought I was pulling her leg all night. “Do the crazy libertarian impression!”

    1. “Help stop school shootings, abolish school!” See, you can get the progs attention with that, you libertarians gotta start thinking out your strategies.

      1. “Reduce pollution, end socialism!”

      2. If it saves just one child’s life, shouldn’t we try?

  25. There’s a saying: “It takes a village to raise a child”.

    It won’t work with the occasional bleeding heart. You’ll need everyone’s participation.

    But we can come to a compromise. We can have it so that funding public schools and paying taxes or health insurance or even Social Security is Optional.

    However, people with no health insurance should be left for dead on the street.
    People that didn’t pay Social Security should receive no public assistance.

    This would be the ideal libertarian world.

    1. You’ll need everyone’s participation.

      [Citation needed]

    2. However, people with no health insurance should be left for dead on the street.

      We’ve tried that, but they keep getting back up because most of them are healthy or, if they’re sick, others will voluntarily help them out without being forced to by government. What do you suggest? Camps?

    3. There’s a saying: “It takes a village to raise a child”

      That was Melissa Harris Perry who said that, Alice. She’s stupid, mmkay?

    4. Re: David Bowie (RIP),

      There’s a saying: “It takes a village to raise a child”.

      Since it took the whole village to make the child.

      Booyaa! See how I put there a “You momma such a ho” joke?

  26. As someone who has spent far too much time around public school teachers, my favorite repeated lament of theirs was that “until they have stood up in front of a classroom, to gain control of a classroom, until they know what it is like, they should not have the right to say anything.”

    And this is in middle-class, upstate New York school districts where the average pay is between 70-80k.

    1. I get the frustration. If an electrician comes over to your house, and you spend 10 minutes telling him the technical details of what YOU think is wrong, if you haven’t ever been an electrician before and have no knowledge of how those systems work, the guy will probably just roll his eyes and get on with checking what he was going to check anyway given the nature of the problem.

      However, the sanctimoniousness that teachers do it with is unbearable. Of course everybody has their right to an opinion. You know how to shut them up? Use your experience to engage in debate and present a better argument than your opponent. It should be easy, if they’re really as out-of-touch with it as you claim, and you’re such a great teacher.

      And note that I said the electrician would just roll his eyes, maybe not even that, and get on with the job. He wouldn’t berate you or tell you you have no right to an opinion, because you can fire his ass at any time if you’re not satisfied with the service. Key distinction with pubsec employees.

      1. And the electrician might teach you something.

    2. “Wow. Yeah I’m sure if I had to walk a day in your shoes I’d realize how much your jobs suck. We should totally get rid of all of them, so no one else has to endure it”

      1. “You people don’t know what it is like. I get my ass out of bed every morning, one-hundred and eighty days out of the year, that’s one-eight-zero days, and stand up in front of a group of adolescents where my main concern is keeping them off of their cell phones, and by god am I almost halfway decent at doing it. You have no idea what it is like!”

        1. “Once, a kid asked me a question I hadn’t prepared for the previous night between episodes of ‘Keeping Up With the Kardashians’. It was traumatic. I was off of work with depression for a month. But I marched right back into that battlezone, and I kept fighting the good fight!”

        2. 180 days??? That sounds like a part time job to me.

    3. I have no doubt that teaching a class of students can be very difficult, based on some one-one-one tutoring I’ve done of less-than-stellar students. But until those teachers to whom you refer stop getting paid by my tax dollars, I have every right to complain.

  27. Hi, I’m Tracy, i had my friend help me hack my ex’s email cause i suspected he was cheating. all he asked for was his phone number. Contact him now, his email is u need help tell him Tracy referred you to him and he’ll help. at first i did not give much thought, but my mind was still bothered .so i decided to contact the to help catch my cheating spouse,he delivered as was promised he is really a genius,he also does P.I jobs, clears your record, passwords,I love him and his work. you should try it. Good luck

    1. Was your friend a member of Naval Intelligence during Vietnam? Does he live in Hawaii with his pals Rick, T.C, and Higgins? Does he have an impressive mustache?

    2. Pics or it didn’t happen

    3. You cared if your ex was cheating? You’re like weird, Tracy.

    4. Hi Tracey! Are you bad at sexy time?

  28. They could not determine why the benefits of charters were found only in urban, disadvantaged settings, but their findings are consistent with the three other RCTs that found significant achievement gains for charter students in Boston, Chicago, and New York City.

    It’s actually not that difficult to determine. Public schools in wealthy, suburban districts are effectively private schools. Yes, the teachers are unionized. And they get really good pay. But, the teachers union isn’t anywhere near as powerful a voting block as the parents who expect a good education for their kids. If there’s a crappy teacher or a lousy policy, there will be pressure to make adjustments.

    It isn’t like that in crappy urban schools. The schools are there as much for the teachers as the kids. The unions have a lot more power and the parents have relatively little. And given the parents we’re talking about are mostly poor, the bureaucracy is going to be indifferent to much of anything they can bring to the table in terms of pushing for any changes.

    1. It’s not that the union is inherently more powerful, it is that the inner-city parents (as a collective) aren’t strong enough in influence and in numbers to control the school district and the unions.

      In the inner-city, you have children born to parents that were not properly educated themselves. They aren’t as sophisticated as the suburban parents so the school board along with the unions that fleece the public budget. These people in the inner-city are under-represented.

      1. Did you bother to read the article? The same kids do great under school choice. If their parents were so dumb and unsophisticated, how is it that, when they send their kids to charter schools they all of a sudden become experts?

        1. A poor child with no learning disabilities and no behavioral problems do great under school choice. These kids are the majority of kids and will do great in any school setting.

          1. So, no you obviously didn’t read the article. The results show kids do better under school choice than under a public school monopoly. Read the article and come back if you want to talk.

          2. My understanding was that the selection process was random. It was by lottery. So there was no filtering for under- or over-performing children. This was obviously designed to test the “kids that go to charter schools only do better because they don’t let in the retards” argument. And from those various random samples, the children going to charter schools consistently did better. Correlation ain’t causation, but I’m hard pressed to think of another cause.

            1. Look at the attrition rates. By lottery rules, they have to take everyone who applies (which is already selective, because a kid has to have parents who care enough to apply), but they don’t have to keep everyone. Expel or “counsel out” the kids who aren’t going to test well and your scores climb, like magic. This has been demonstrated over and over again in high success charters.

              There’s nothing better, or in many cases even different, about these schools. If the public schools could dump the low performers, they’d do just as well. Granted, it’s great for those students who succeed in the charters to get away from the kids who are dragging down the public system. But no honest person should pretend that this can scale by just building more charters. At some point, when everyone ends up in a charter, charters will, on average, be exactly the same as the schools they replaced.

      2. I’d also argue that there is a human side to all of this: rich, suburban parents show up on Parent’s night, for PTA meetings, and they create funds that buy computers and shit for the schools. Now, that last bit does change the dynamics a little in finances, but all three of those that I named are just face-to-face, human interaction between parents and teachers a lot of the time.

        And I think all of that creates an environment where teachers are more a part of the community than they are in the inner city, where the lack of parental involvement and the higher education level of teachers makes them more of an elite.

        1. To bring my point full circle: charters require parental involvement a lot of the time, and I think there is something huge about the expectations at home and the expectations at school being congruent.

          1. True. But, the studies in question focused on, really, the same sorts of parents. The sorts of parents who send their kids to charter schools. And what it says is it helps the poor urban kids and doesn’t do so much for the rich suburban kids (or actually hurts them). So, I don’t entirely buy the “different kinds of parents” argument.

            Really, it all comes down to incentives. Rich, suburban schools have an incentive to succeed. Their teachers have an incentive to succeed. Schools in shitty urban areas? Not really. What’s going to happen if they don’t do a good job? They aren’t going to close or get fired. They’re going to get more money. If a teacher in a shitty urban school does a lousy job, are tthey gone? Not if they’re in with the union.

            1. “…So, I don’t entirely buy the “different kinds of parents” argument….”

              If it were true, why are we paying teachers at all?
              “The students study the same lessons. They are often on the same chapter of the same book.
              Yet year after year, one fifth-grade class learns far more than the other down the hall. The difference has almost nothing to do with the size of the class, the students or their parents.
              It’s their teachers.”

      3. “These people in the inner-city are under-represented.”

        That’s FUNNY!

  29. I can’t even read all of Alice’s posts anymore. Is it like normally retarded today, or full on retarded?

    1. It’s worse than usual.

  30. Serious question: Why is it that whenever some moron leftist shows to to spout horseshit, it’s claimed that it’s Tulpa using a sockpuppet? Is there actual evidence of this, or is it just an inside joke?

    1. AFAIK the “evidence” consists of stylistic/ideological similarities. I’m not sure I’d call Tulpa a leftist, exactly. His views seemed to me to be rather mixed. But there was often a trollish aspect to his comments: saying things to get a reaction, shifting positions as needed, etc.

      I still wonder if the identification of Palin’s Buttplug/Shrike as ex-Reason contributor Dave Weigel is correct….

      1. The Weigel thing is a joke. At least to me.

        The real Dave Weigel sucks. But he’s not stupid enough to do what he’s accused of here. Shitting up your former employer’s website is career suicide.

        1. I don’t recall the details, but there was supposedly some “slip-up” that “proved” the connection.

          1. He’s not weigel.

            he just has a family resemblance in his style of “speaking authoritatively about things he knows little about”

            1. The Special Needs Family?

              1. It’s more of an Olympics.

          2. I was reading over that and noticed the link to the Friedman generator. I had to click that.

            From the first result of the Thomas Friedman generator: “The first rule of holes is that when you’re in one, stop digging. When you’re in three, bring a lot of shovels.”

            Yes, I spit on my computer…again.

      2. I distinctly recall seeing a persona here a few months ago which struck me instantly and undeniably as Tulpa, but many of the others the regulars often proclaim a product of his machinations seem to me to be generic progressives, frankly. Maybe I’m missing something.

        And wasn’t Weigel that guy who turned out to be a true, dyed-in-the-wool leftist?

    2. The person behind Tulpa, a disgruntled high school math teacher allegedy in Cincinnati, goes in phases where he can’t contain himself. He poses as both a lefty and a righty in order to manufacture arguments. Very recently, he has gone through 8 socks in a single weekend.

      When you see something so stupid that it can’t possibly be true, it’s Tulpa. Especially when it comes in waves.

      1. I love it when he posts here while clearly inebriated. He gets very messy with the handles.

    3. Tulpa comes to threads to masturbate while engaging in intellectually dishonest discussion, and he changes handles to do it. Therefore, when anyone “new” joins a discussion in a similar fashion, they are called Tulpa, because they are most likely Tulpa.

    4. “Serious question: Why is it that whenever some moron leftist shows to to spout horseshit, it’s claimed that it’s Tulpa using a sockpuppet? Is there actual evidence of this, or is it just an inside joke?”

      He’s used at least 10 puppets and one (‘bubba jones’, I think) was here yesterday. But the random moron gets mistakenly accused often enough.

      1. Another serious question: Is Cytotoxic an actual user or another sock puppet/troll? I think I already know the answer to this.

        1. I think he’s an actual user. His arguments, and the bases upon which they’re constructed, are often ludicrous and self-contradictory, but he’s not lucid and coherent, and I’ve met several people in reality with the same viewpoints. They exist.

          1. *He IS lucid…

          2. “are often ludicrous and self-contradictory”

            Stop lying.

        2. He’s absolutely real. Even with the prickish adolescent behavior, you can still see the humanity behind it.

          1. You can? My eyesight must be worse than I thought.

            1. Even with the dipshittery, you can still see the human behavior, if only occasionally.

              Bronwyn posted some stuff that her lab was doing, and he begged for a job. I don’t see a sock doing that.

              I mean, I could tell you were real before I “knew” you were real, not that there was any doubt.

              1. Oh yes. I had forgotten about the job begging. I don’t remember what it was but there was something wildly inappropriate about it for someone with his credentials.

                So he is a real person, just not a sane one. Got it.

                1. And yeah, I never saw the point of sock puppetry. There is something about that and trolling that seems a bit sadistic. Pissing people off for the sake of pissing them off? That is just tormenting people, so maybe more than a bit sadistic.

                  1. It’s spite. Some people don’t know how to deal with being told they’re wrong.

                    1. I demonstrate that I’m not wrong and that it’s actually the other person that’s wrong.

                      “That is just tormenting people, so maybe more than a bit sadistic.”

                      Wait sadism is bad?

                    2. Cytotoxic, I will never give you shit for commenting here. You do it in good faith. You’re wrong a lot , and that’s fair game.

                      But when you’re right, I’ll give you credit. Or not not mock you. Whatever.

                    3. I LUV U 2 PM SMOOCHES (no homo – NTTAWWT)

                2. Why is it so damn ‘inappropriate’? Also, I never ‘begged’ per se that is just more misleading BS.

            2. He’s an objectivist, so human but emotionally dysfunctional.

              1. “Emotionally dysfunctional” is a weird way of saying “has a sensible integrated view of the world.”

                1. Don’t worry, like Playa I find you endearing in a weird sort of way. And you often make cogent points, just so long as it doesn’t require an intuitive understanding of other people. It takes all types.

                  1. Perhaps what you consider your ‘intuitive understanding’ of other people is just an illusion to cover up the ugly truth, to make interaction easier. But maybe not.

                2. I love how you integrate your view that we should murder the shit out of all foreigners with your view that there can never be a downside to letting millions of people (who are apparently so horrible as to be worthy of extrajudicial killing) into your own country as neighbors.

                  “Yes, they’re evil psychotic cannibal hill-folk, and the only way to deal with people like that is either to blow them into tiny meaty chunks, or to rent out your basement to them.”

                  1. I had the best corned beef hash of my life on Monday morning. Where can I hear more about these tiny meaty chunks?

                  2. If you’re actually at war with a country, then it may make sense to temporarily restrict movement from there. Otherwise, it does not. The benefits of immigration vastly outweigh the dangers, and Muslim immigration basically proves that.

                    The point of blowing the shit out of people is (or should be) to defend our rights. Freedom of association-which covers free movement across borders-is one of those rights.

        3. He’s probably the closest thing to Tulpa ever, without maybe and I am saying mabye not being an actual troll. But he’s getting worse all the time. He’s either a troll or suffering from sort of psychological disorder that makes him think he outwits everyone here all of the time no matter how stupid his posts are. And now he’s saying Bloomberg if the best choice for POTUS? He’s deranged for sure.

          1. ‘is’

            Hey, I’m new here, aren’t we supposed to get an edit feature? That Postrel woman who sent me here said we’re getting one soon.

              1. What are talking about, Playa? Ok, I’m not new, I admit it. I was lurking. That’s what they call hanging around and reading posts but not posting. I was too shy to post until that nice Postrel woman told me it’s ok to post because everyone here is an internet hooligan just like me.

          2. At this point, I’m somewhat convinced that he’s autistic. There was a thread a week or so back where an article on autism came up, something to do with some of the “upsides” to being autistic or something, and he was talking up the superiority of people with autism without quite saying he had it himself…

            1. I was joking cripes.

        4. I’m real and right.

          1. You’re like the Trump of Canada

            1. Jeez. You’re pretty loose with the compliments tonight.

              1. Geez you guys are mean.

    5. Some people here are obsessed with associating any unrecognized commenter with one of 2 or 3 trolls. It borders on being unhealthy. I worry about some of you guys, as much as a libertarian can.

  31. This isn’t really news. Liberals dream of a communist world where they are the vanguard and control the workers. They see unions as step 1 of the “workers” revolution. It’s CWA all the way down.

  32. OT: Libertarian Moment In The North is real!

    Edmonton legalizes Uber – first city in Canada to do so.

    Uber will be allowed to legally operate in the city starting March 1, provided the company’s drivers are able to get legal commercial insurance approved by the province. That process is still underway.

    1. Commercial insurance is a big impediment, though.

      1. And approved by the NDP…

    2. So Alberta’s libertarian moment is real…

    3. Ugh Edmonton. Of all the cities to end up in…

      1. I’ve never been, but given its proximity to Jasper I think I could survive.

        1. There’s a reason it’s called ‘Deadmonton’ and it’s actually not to do with the high rate of crime. It’s also called ‘Redmonton’ for the politics. It’s the Isengard of Alberta. Oh and there’s not as much Chinook so the winters are worse. Somehow there are more tornadoes and other weird weather events. There’s nothing good there except the U of A. Just stay in Jasper.

          1. True story: my previous adviser (at a prestigious Canadian institution) was once scheduled to give a talk at U of A. She flew in, got in a taxi, and asked the driver to taker her there. He was confused, and explained to her that he didn’t know how to get to U of A. She was really getting annoyed until she finally realized that U of A is in Edmonton, not Calgary, which is where she actually flew into.

            Also a true story: not only would I support a war of conquest against Canada solely to capture Banff and Jasper, but I’d volunteer for the front lines.

            1. Oh that is hilarious! The funny part is that she landed in the superior city with the inferior university. Seriously, fuck the U of C.

              Banff is nice but I honestly find it a wee bit overrated. Maybe I need to stay there overnight and engage in ‘partying’ or some such. Never been to Jasper.

              1. Dude, if you go to Banff, climb a mountain or go backpacking, or at least go camping.

                1. Sure, if you want to get dire AIDS.

                  1. It would be great if I could tell which statement ant1sthenes is responding to. Thanks Reason. Your shitty commenting system is going to get someone AIDS.

  33. Some of Americas most famous rappers are public school dropouts… Support the hip hop industry!

    1. “Just this week, rapper B.o.B. ranted on Twitter about believing the Earth is flat.”…..787123.php

  34. Around the Freddy Gray event, I got into a long discussion about public schools on Facebook. A meme was going around about how Baltimore was building a new youth detention facility, but why wasn’t this money being spent on schools?!?, accompanied with a picture of an abandoned classroom with old and dusty desks.

    I pointed out that maybe Baltimore really needed a new youth detention facility, because maybe the old one was crowded or dangerous or substandard in some way. I also showed that Baltimore spent more per pupil than almost any other school district in the country. Also, the city has been run exclusively by Democrats for generations. So, clearly lack of money or evil Republicans weren’t the problem.

    There was much flailing and gnashing of teeth, and lots of absurd arguments. (“It’s the fault of Bush because of the 2008 crash!” “But Baltimore schools were bad before then, right? And the city got $1 billion in stimulus money.” *Crickets*) Eventually the consensus was that the problems of Baltimore schools were caused by people like me. *SIGH*

    1. You should just try to drill down into the specifics of how they intended to turn $$$ into outcomes, because most of them have an underpants-gnome-level conception of things.

      1. Levy tax
      2. Give money to school system
      3. ????
      4. Kids get smarter

      Or, just ask them how much more their cable company needs to charge them before it gives them better service.

      1. Oh, I love your last sentence!

  35. Apt. buildings on the edge of a sea-side cliff, sandy soil. Obviously the owner can’t get insurance, is suing a contractor he hoped could fix it, contractor counter suing for fees. Fairly typical sad story, but here comes Jackie Speier to the rescue! With YOUR money:

    “Touring Pacifica’s crumbling cliffs, congresswoman seeks aid”
    “”I’m firmly convinced that the federal government now has to recognize that an El Ni?o is just like a Superstorm Sandy, except it happens over a greater portion of time….”

    Yep, she said that. It’s my understanding that she an Boxer are pretty much tied in the low-IQ competition.

    1. California breeds some truly remarkable specimens of retard progressive, doesn’t it?

    2. Are you telling that rain can just was away sandy soil?

        1. I can’t imagine why anybody would refuse to insure that.

          1. Well, Jackie says you do (and me, and him, and her, and…)

      1. Oops, link:…..story.html

        Is there a Poe’s law for links? That one was aimed about an hour up-thread.

  36. “siphoning public education funds”

    Most public schools are paid for via property taxes, no?

    1. Yep. In 3 years, I’ll no longer be in the red. 3 kids in the system. GIMME GIMME GIMME BITCHES!!!

      1. This “siphoning” thing is funny.

        I always find it hilarious when people describe their “School Funds” as some magical well of money that just comes out of thin air.

    2. Which is why we can rid of ourselves of two great evils in one fell swoop, eliminating public schools and the funding source. BUT WHAT ABOUT ROADZ AND BRIDGEZ!!! Shut up, statist sheep.

      1. Did you get tired of being David Bowie?

        1. It’s weird. Almost like a shitty math teacher is taking offense to this post. Almost.

          1. Did you ever find out why Tulpa was disgruntled?

            1. It predates me.

              He has been here a very long time, during which he said some very stupid things, wasn’t prepared to back them up, and got destroyed.

              It wasn’t any one thing, just a lot of little things. His ideas weren’t particularly bad; he just handled “rejection” very poorly, and the grudge continues to this day.

              1. He’s said he’s been sockpuppeting this site for years and years. He only got outed what, two years ago? He failed to switch handles and replied to an argument with the wrong one. He argues for the sake of arguing; some of his sock puppets had completely contrary values to what he said he actually holds. He seems to think its his duty to kick over anthills, and then wonders why he gets stung.

                1. There’s a pathology. I just don’t have time to give a fuck.

                  My paint is drying, and I need to see it with my own eyes. You know, important things.

              2. It wasn’t just that. He had a particular argument ‘style’ best described as ‘quarter-assed’.

        2. That’s Alice, GILMORE, you haz a confuse.

      2. This emanates the scent of faintly masked sarcasm.

  37. The abolitionist Gerrit Smith concluded that the public schools ought to be abolished: “A properly constituted education, he argued, was one firmly established on a meaningful and thorough program of moral education. This could not happen in a public school any more than meaningful worship could occur in a government church.”

    So people for the American Way should be called People for the Theocratic Way!

  38. “To PFAW, National School Choice Week and the policies it promotes are nothing less than a “movement to undermine public education.”

    “Well, no.”

    I suppose you meant to say “sadly and unfortunately, no.”

    Supporting alternatives to government schools isn’t going to undermine public education if you continue to shovel bucketfuls of money into the government schools.

  39. Increased funding =\= Improved education

  40. I just noticed your alt-text – it’s from in New Orleans, where as you note all schools are schools of choice.

    It took a hurricane to do it, but now: “About 84% of [New Orleans’] 42,000 public school students attend charters, the largest share of any district in the U.S.”

    1. Have you checked in on the performance of NOLA lately? The tough kids moved back home and the miracle is over.

      Sorry, education is just hard. Market magic hasn’t fixed it anywhere yet.

  41. For the love of God and all that is holy, a statement written by a teachers union said “BASED OFF taxpaper money…”

    “BASED ON” you fucking nitwits. Correct grammatical use of prepositions is a dying art apparently.

    Another point in favor of dismantling public education…

  42. Virtual reality upside: we can use it to render PubEd as we know it obsolete. Downside: might end up with virtual public education!

  43. “Unaccountable” is my current favorite progressive buzzword, because they constantly use it straight-faced and completely unironically when pushing to squash profit motive in favor of more federal bureaucracy.

    1. What word would you use for an organization that takes public funds, but does not open either its books or its results to the public? If you have a better one, this progressive will be happy to adopt it.

  44. Teachers salaries have skyrocketed because they were horrifyimg low through the early 80s. Teaching was considered “women’s work” and was paid accordingly. The cost of education has blossomed because we now pay wages that can actually feed a family. That’s why men can be afford to teach. The second cause of the increased cost is special ed. 12% of all students are special ed. Schools used to be allowed to say to parents “we can’t help your child, take them home”. Should we go back to a time when only married women can afford to teach and we don’t even try to help disabled kids?

    1. Nope. Since 1970, inflation adjusted average teacher’s salaries have gone up only about $5,000, roughly a 10% increase. And while special education spending more than doubled in that time, from $17 billion to about $40 billion, but that is only about 6% of the $600 billion spent in total on pre-primary through secondary education across the US.

    2. Should we go back to a time when only married women can afford to teach and we don’t even try to help disabled kids?

      You mean, when a high school diploma was worth something? Yeah, that would be terrible.

      /important caveat: correlation is not causation

  45. there are education reformers who believe that we should provide the best education possible to every student.

    then there are the “reformers” who think we should give each child the best possible public education.

    only one of them actually gives a damn about education. the other cares about making sure a system survives despite the cost to the very people it’s supposed to help. public education folks are right about one thing though. real reformers don’t care if the public system survives, so long as it means we’ve accomplished the goal of giving the best education possible to every student.

  46. a “movement to undermine public education.”

    Exactly what needs to done.
    Government schooling will always suck.

  47. uh education starts in the home anyways, not some shit bag public school run by liberals in congress that send their own children to private schools…clarence thomas was raised in a shitty orphanage by nuns……

  48. unaccountable private and religious schools

    They are very accountable to their customers.

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  52. I only skimmed the article, because I’ve heard all these arguments before and also heard them soundly refuted. Anybody who thinks this argument is a slam-dunk on either the pro- or anti- choice side is not listening.

    Some choice schools do remarkably well. Some are pathetic. Same for traditional public schools. TPS spend more public money per pupil, but they also teach more expensive students, on average. And many charters spend more total money per pupil when you add in the non-public funding.

    School choice has been studied by people on both sides of the debate who want to show that their side is right, but the only thing that’s really clear at this point is that nothing’s really clear.

    There is an assumption, heard loud and clear in these comments, that people who caution against expanding choice must have a vested interest in the status quo. Probably true for some, but not for all. While it often does, the market doesn’t always produce better goods and services. However, the market always produces better marketing, so choice advocates erroneously believe choice schools are naturally “accountable”. Even though TPS have much room for improvement in providing the educational equivalent of lean meats and fresh produce, we have seen how easy it has been for the fast food industry to make people think that what they really need is junk.

  53. The first graphic shows costs are rising while performance is steady–pretty much what you’d expect in a personal services industry like education or medicine. MOOCs and online charters initially held some promise for improving economies of scale, but pretty much everybody realizes by now that those options are not effective. About the only way we’re going to reduce educational spending is by educating fewer students or easier students. Based on the attrition rates in high-success charters, that appears to be their strategy.

    The second graphic shows how one group of students who were educated in NOLA performed better than a mostly different group of students who were also educated in NOLA. I think I know where the author got the data for this graph and that study had a huge caveat buried in the text that pointed out that most of the lowest performing kids did not return to NOLA after Katrina, which accounts for most of the gains during the time frame shown on the graph. I didn’t read carefully, but I saw no mention of the disaster that is Louisiana’s voucher program. That story does not fit the author’s narrative of choice good/traditional bad. Of course, the neoliberal response is that the market will eventually result in the best schools surviving, but that experiment has been running for quite a while in Milwaukee, Cleveland and DC and the results are underwhelming.

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