Free State Project Forum

New Hampshire -- The "Live Free or Die" State => Education/ Homeschooling => Topic started by: Sandy Price on March 11, 2004, 04:10:29 pm

Title: Excellent article on American Education
Post by: Sandy Price on March 11, 2004, 04:10:29 pm
HOW TO FIX EDUCATION:
ABOLISH THE ROLE OF GOVERNMENT

By: Murray Sabrin

Public education, or more accurately government education, is one of America's sacred cows. Even among most suburban conservative Republicans who send their children to private schools, public education is considered "untouchable". There is virtually no organized opposition to the double whammy an increasing number of families face--paying for their children's private school tuition and paying property and/or income taxes to support the public school establishment.
 


 
Instead of tinkering with the current public education structure, we should first get the federal government out of local education decision making, and that means abolishing the Department of Education. Unfortunately, President Bush has increased federal involvement in education, a major policy goal of both the Democrats and the National Education Association. Although they have criticized some of the president's education policies, they support unequivocally the federal government's role in paying for local school operations. And we all know, with federal dollars come federal mandates and oversight, and that's why the federal government should not be involved in education--public or private.

At the state and local levels, local school boards, local administrators, principals, and teachers should make education decisions, not state education commissions. This means abolishing state education departments, eliminating another useless bureaucracy, and saving the taxpayers more money.

At the local level, the consumers of public education should pay for the operation of their local schools. This could be in the form of tuition, user fees or other methods--grants, contributions, etc. And of course, these expenses should be tax deductible from federal taxes, just as property taxes are deductible now. In other words, the tax burden on senior citizens, childless couples and single homeowners would be reduced. Finally, the consumers of education would foot the education bill, just as families pay out-of-pocket for municipal pools and recreation facilities.

Americans are used to paying user fees. We have state toll roads. Americans pay out-of-pocket for postal services. No one is suggesting we have a "free" postal office, funded by taxpayers.

The major opposition to education user fees is the age-old question, "What about the poor"? Education is "different". Education is supposed to be the social glue that binds the citizenry in the glorious democracy experiment. Therefore, government funded education brings together children of low income, middle income and upper income families to share a pluralistic learning experience. The historical record challenges the romantic notion that education is primarily about learning. Public education is about controlling youngsters and molding them to become obedient citizens serving the state.

Given the cost of urban education and the dismal performance of students, you would think policymakers would demand a change in the way education is structured in America. For example, in Camden, New Jersey, only 10% of public school students graduate from high school. In other words, the Camden public school system has a 90% failure rate, and yet the New Jersey Supreme Court has mandated that state aid be increased for urban schools so these districts can spend at least or more than the per capita expenditures of the wealthiest suburban districts. In short, suburban taxpayers are paying for their children's education as well as the education of urban families' children. This is unfair.

The failure of urban public education confirms Peter Drucker's observation that "nonprofits spend far less for results than governments spend for failures". The solution for urban education can be summed up as follows: turn over the schools to the teachers, administrators and parents, so they can become independent nonprofits. This would force urban schools to address educational issues without government bureaucrats looking over their shoulder. And if they continue to perform poorly under teacher-administrator-parent governance, parents could then turn to homeschooling, organized around community cooperatives.

The transition to a student-family oriented schooling experience will take several years. If we don't start soon, another generation of urban youngsters will fail to learn the basic skills to become fully integrated into the American mainstream. And taxpayers will be forced to continue to pay for another failed government program.  

 

"Published originally at EtherZone.com : republication allowed with this notice and hyperlink intact."

Mail this article to a friend(s) in two clicks!
 


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Murray Sabrin is a professor of finance at Ramapo
Title: Re: Excellent article on American Education
Post by: dowcet on July 30, 2005, 11:34:15 am
Americans are used to paying user fees. We have state toll roads. Americans pay out-of-pocket for postal services. No one is suggesting we have a "free" postal office, funded by taxpayers.

The major opposition to education user fees is the age-old question, "What about the poor"? Education is "different". Education is supposed to be the social glue that binds the citizenry in the glorious democracy experiment. Therefore, government funded education brings together children of low income, middle income and upper income families to share a pluralistic learning experience. The historical record challenges the romantic notion that education is primarily about learning. Public education is about controlling youngsters and molding them to become obedient citizens serving the state.

Interesting article. I agree with most of it, if not all, but would like to see some discussion.

I'm on the fence about the idea that a society could function just fine if all the basic infrastructure was provided by private enterprise. The first paragraph I quoted glosses over the whole fact that in general, progressive taxation subsidizes services like state roads and postal service to make pay-per-use fees affordable. I think that falsely suggests that we already know with certainty that this kind of system already works well for other forms of basic infrastructure, in the real world. If New Hampshire becomes such an experiment I will watch with interest.  I'm a newby here, so point me to other threads if the issue of real world user fee funded infrastructure has already been discussed.

I'm more concerned about the second paragraph. I agree that centralized control of education is ultimately about authoritarian doctrination. It is equally true though that education has a huge impact on one's access to life, liberty and property. What I'm concerned about is that if poorer people only have access to poor education, the gap between rich and poor could grow exponentially over generations.

I could see things moving in two possible directions, one profoundly beautiful, the other disastrous.
IF wealthier communities agree that their schools should provide need-based scholarships, consider some kind of sliding-scale tuition, do whatever else it takes to make sure that they don't close their doors to worthy students of modest means or other communities on any significant scale without coercion THEN the kind of system described in the above article would have my full support.

Given the realities of classism, racism, and economic inequality, I'm afraid that centralized re-distribution of funds (in a fixed form, not the mess we have today) might be a necessary evil. What I'm putting up for discussion in this thread is the question of to what extent there are natural forces that would prevent free market education as described in the article from simply becoming a road to extreme inequality. If you want to try and convince me that authority should never be used to limit economic inequality in any way, I'd be interested to have that discussion but it should probably be moved to a different thread.
Title: Re: Excellent article on American Education
Post by: 5thconcerto on July 30, 2005, 11:48:27 am
Just a few thoughts:

Let the free marklet work.

Yes the poor will be provided for through voluntary associations providing scholarships.

Schools do a poor job of educating, if the school is larger than a one room schoolhouse.

Education does not require schools.

Study the past, particularly the American colonial period, to find the answers to education.

Education cannot be forced upon an unwilling student.

Think outside the box.

There will always be some people who will not be educated. High school graduates who can't read? Hmmmm...
Title: Re: Excellent article on American Education
Post by: Sandy Price on July 30, 2005, 01:30:06 pm
If you are talking about equality as far as academic standards are concerned, I will debate the need but if you are talking about a redistribution of wealth, this has nothing to do with education standards.

I lived in two very high-end neighborhoods where the schools were terrible and ended up locating a small private school that had all the right moves as far as academic curriculum.

In Arizona we are having good reading scores by opening over a hundred charter schools throughout the state.  It takes parental involvement to keep the scores high and it is working.

Title: Re: Excellent article on American Education
Post by: 5thconcerto on July 30, 2005, 02:05:03 pm
I encourage everyone to read John Taylor Gatto's book "The Underground History of American Education". It is available to read online at his website:
http://www.johntaylorgatto.com
Here was a teacher who was recognized New York State Teacher of the Year, who came to an inescapable fact, public education CANNOT be fixed. Withdraw your children from public schools immediately.
Belive me, it is an incredible book.  :)
Title: Re: Excellent article on American Education
Post by: Sandy Price on July 30, 2005, 02:16:35 pm
I have read Gatto's book and have another book to recommend.  "Public Schools, Public Menace" by Joel Turtel.
Title: Re: Excellent article on American Education
Post by: 5thconcerto on July 30, 2005, 02:18:47 pm
I have read Gatto's book and have another book to recommend.  "Public Schools, Public Menace" by Joel Turtel.

Thanks for the info.  ;)
Title: Re: Excellent article on American Education
Post by: Sandy Price on July 30, 2005, 02:20:59 pm
Okay, I have to ask, whose 5th Concerto???
Title: Re: Excellent article on American Education
Post by: 5thconcerto on July 30, 2005, 02:23:59 pm
Okay, I have to ask, whose 5th Concerto???

Ever read Atlas Shrugged?
Title: Re: Excellent article on American Education
Post by: Sandy Price on July 30, 2005, 02:27:05 pm
Absoslutely!  I'm with you now.  I read it first in 1963 and then got to meet Rand when she toured in California.  I've been a rabid fan ever since.  I have worn a gold dollar sign ($) around my neck since that time. 
Title: Re: Excellent article on American Education
Post by: 5thconcerto on July 30, 2005, 02:31:36 pm
I am an actor/director so the closest thing to a direct relationship of my craft was to the composer who with-held the 5th concerto from the public.
Title: Re: Excellent article on American Education
Post by: Sandy Price on July 30, 2005, 02:38:18 pm
Are you into Shakespeare?  I worked for Will Geer's Shakespeare theater for 12 years as a designer costumer.  He got me many actors to work for during those years.  I've travelled all over England hitting every theater production I could find.

Did you make it to New Hampshire?  I can't take the weather in that state.  I'm out here in the Arizona desert where the hot sun is like a tonic to me. 

I am also involved in the promotion of Classical Music here and have spent many years wondering what that concerto sounded like.  I will never know because I would refuse to see what Hollywood would do to that masterpiece of a book. 

www.rightpov.com
Title: Re: Excellent article on American Education
Post by: 5thconcerto on July 30, 2005, 02:56:57 pm
I have been working with the New England Shakespeare Festival for the past 8 years. I took this summer of, though.
I am a native of NH. I hate the exterem heat!  8)
Would you consider doing costuming for Shakespeare in the Park here in NH?  ;) Just summertimes, of course.
Title: Re: Excellent article on American Education
Post by: Sandy Price on July 30, 2005, 04:09:43 pm
What a temptation!! I have costumed Cal State Northridge and Valley College in the Los Angeles Area but I retired completely in 1982 when I moved from the Los Angeles area half way up the coastline to a village called Cambria just 6 miles south of the Hearst Castle/Big Sur area.  My kids were at Berkeley and I loved the coastline of California. 

I'm old, 5th C, and have completely retired from work.  I had a book store for many years and that did me in.  I've worked all my life and need to settle down in the desert. 

Send me your summer schedules and who knows, I may visit one of your productions.  My youngest daughter lives in Bethesda MD and I fly in and out of there a lot.  We love the D.C. Shakespeare group! 
Title: Re: Excellent article on American Education
Post by: BrianMcCandliss on July 31, 2005, 11:03:14 am
The problem with the article, is that it's all theory and no proof. My proposal, is to hire commercial private accounting-firms to calculate the cost to the average voter in a private-vs-public school system, figuring for an education of equal quality to that provided by the current public school-system.

If these firms can prove that it would cost less, then people will vote the current system out of existence very quickly-- otherwise, they won't. Simple as that; all the theory and claims in the world otherwise, won't make a damn bit of difference in the real world.
Title: Re: Excellent article on American Education
Post by: Sandy Price on July 31, 2005, 11:21:50 am
Equal quality to the public schools?  I don't think that would sell to anyone.  If you are planning a change in the academic curriculum of any school program why not shoot for the best of the private schools?  I do not mean religious schools because they are not nearly up to par as the secular schools. 

In 2000 I attended the RNC Platform meeting who were discussing improvements in the public schools across America.  Several teachers showed up to explain how they took schools in the lowest reading scores in areas of Los Angeles that the Board of Education had given up on.  One of the teachers was a tiny elderly Japanese woman who simply wrote up her own curriculum and took 7th grade of this school and brought them from last place on the list in California to first!  She jumped in with many of the old fashioned teaching methods that had been successful and got those kids ready for a chance at highschool and college.  Another teacher made a similar presentation and again used her own agenda and brought an all black school class from Oakland CA with the same results.

The Platform writers of the RNC yawned and explained that they were going to test the children instead of teaching them and the meeting was over. 

Is the purpose to put all children in the same level of education or extend that education to increase their interests in their own futures?  Every child learns at their own capabilities and to force them to be sheep and wait for others will not do a single thing for a single student. 

Think Charter Schools where the parents set the curriculum, or think private schools or even better think group home schools where parents gather as a group to teach their specialities to the kids. 
Title: Re: Excellent article on American Education
Post by: SteveA on July 31, 2005, 01:07:03 pm
To be fair, private schools enjoy part of their success from the fact that inactive parents, uninvolved in their childrens education, just flow with the system and end up with their children being taught under the public system.  Though that also seems to indicate that parents would become more active in education if this wasn't the case and even in public schools you can see that the family influence is what really differentiates most students.  I remember in California, at a large math contest from 100 schools, the two winners were both brothers ;D.  Pure coincidence?  I think not.  So if the current system breeds apathy in one of the major factors in education, it's an uphill battle from that alone.  And the other large flaw in education, at least when it comes to creativity which is an important part of technological growth, you can't create original and creative students using tools designed for mass production.  (And of course, our social safety nets teach people that it doesn't matter whether you work and get an education or not ... you'll be taken care of ... at the expense of people who did work and get an education).
Title: Re: Excellent article on American Education
Post by: Sandy Price on July 31, 2005, 01:28:29 pm
Steve, we aren't talking about mass  students as we find in California but smaller select schools to be set up in New Hampshire by the FSP.  I chose small private schools in t he Los Angeles area just to see that my kids got more one-on-one attention. 

My youngest was slow!  I knew that in public school she would be left way behind.  My oldest was a bright sharp active pain in the ass and would probably take over any public school she attended.  I faced a choice to find a school that could handle both.  I found the system and enrolled the older girl and she immediately found herself academically challenged and threw herself into a learning mode that calmed her down.  She had been bored. A few years later the younger one woke up and I believe it was the oral reading that I and my older girl were doing with the little one listening in.  I had no television and our books became our whole entertainment.  The day I found the little one picking up a book and pretending to read aloud while making up a wonderful story was the day I celebrated my choice of schools.  She sailed through with a breeze. 

The older girl has  PhD in Psychology and the little one has degrees all over the place including a membership in the N.Y. Bar Association.  Once they were introduced to education there was no stopping them.  They aren't that bright but the schools motivated them far beyond their friends in public school. 

The question is how will the parents of the children in the FSP choose the schools they want and do they even know what they want?  Social studies?  Science, Math, Art and Music?????  Are parents motivated towards the Universities for the kids or simple training classes for their skills?

Government schools should not be an option for these free-thinking people but if they need the public schools, extra tutoring should be planned too. 
Title: Re: Excellent article on American Education
Post by: GT on July 31, 2005, 01:47:43 pm
There is a group in southern New Hampshire organizing to sue the state to fully fund education. Nashua NH announced Friday they will sue the state too.

http://www.nhcafe.com
http://www.nhcafe.com/blog/

Of course NHCafe is not interested in anything but increasing the size of government and taxing the citizens to pay for education.
Title: Re: Excellent article on American Education
Post by: Sandy Price on July 31, 2005, 02:01:24 pm
I shudder at the thought but if that is what the people want, that is what they will get.  All t he more reason to open your own schools.
Title: Re: Excellent article on American Education
Post by: GT on July 31, 2005, 02:20:18 pm
The Founders of NHCafe are School Board and officials, a NH member of the house and a superintendaant. The $150,000 in "donations" that the group is funded by is monies pledged by school boards and Town Councils of the 15-18 towns involved with the group. NHCafe share little information other than an occasional press release yet they are funded with public money. The people seem to have little say.
Title: Re: Excellent article on American Education
Post by: Sandy Price on July 31, 2005, 02:28:26 pm
Are the in control of the private schools?  Do they control the curriculum of home schools?

The Board of Education in each district is elected!  No?
Title: Re: Excellent article on American Education
Post by: 5thconcerto on July 31, 2005, 10:50:07 pm
Sandy,
 I agree whole-heartedly with what you are saying.
 Children want to learn. Public schools smother that desire. A childs education cannot be forced, but can, and must, be encouraged. When a spark of interest appears, run with it. Do not worry about a regimented system. The childs interest will roam far, and everything needed will eventually learned. We need to start thinking outside the box. The goal is not a college degree, it is an education that will serve the child well for a lifetime.
Alan
Title: Re: Excellent article on American Education
Post by: BrianMcCandliss on August 01, 2005, 10:32:25 am
Equal quality to the public schools?  I don't think that would sell to anyone. 

Actually it's ESSENTIAL under the basic precept of "Ceteris Paribus," basically meaning "all other things being equal--" which is essential to ALL comparisons. If you showed them that a $30,000/year elite prep-school is better, they'll just say "no duh-- but I don't have $30,000/year for each of my kids, and public school only costs me $300/year in property taxes; so it's a much better deal for the money, AND I can afford it."

So basically, they're already buying it, by voting for-- and USING-- public schools; they just don't realize the full price, and think they're getting a bargain. Show them a LOWER price on the same quality in the private sector, and it's impossible NOT to sell it.
For example, the above parent voter thinks they're getting a great bargain at $300/year for 2 kids in school; however they DON'T see all the"hidden" costs via increased prices, income taxes, mortgage-payments, interest-income etc. that they're paying. If they did, they'd realize that they're giving an averge of more than $400,000 over their own lifetime from their personal wealth, and that likewise an equal or better education could be purchased for less.


Consider the voter's rationale:
Voters spend money on the public school system, on the assumption that an equal education would cost more in the private sector-- otherwise, there'd be no point in spending ANYTHING on public schools.  By exposing this assumption as false, voters will naturally stop spending. Simple as that.

THIS is the beauty of capitalism-- it allows for QUANTITATIVE comparisons between products by each individual consumer, rather than the soft-sell politcs of state resource-allocation. There's no greater form of freedom.

For example,  if you see Cheerio's for $5/box, and generic "Oat Rings" cereal for $6, which do you buy? Obviously the better AND cheaper product.
However if the more-expensive Oat Rings are marked at $1/box, many people might be more likely to purchase the inferior product, if they don't find out that it's ACTUALLY equally or more expensive at the scanner check-out. Tell them that the Oat Rings-purchase will be credited toward the rest of their purchases (i.e. they're paying for it anyway), and MOST people will probably purchase it-- unless they REALLY like Cheerio's, they REALLY hate Oat Rings, and they got money to burn.

The key, then, is to SHOW people the actual figures, and expose how they're being ripped-off compared to the better product.
Once this is made clear how much the average voter is paying-- and the DOLLAR COST of an equal-quality education in the private sector, for comparison-- then public schools will end YESTERDAY.

The problem with current activists, is that they attempt to use QUALITATIVE arguments to sway voters; this is a mistake, since the public-school lobby has a MUCH more effective version-- i.e. pure shameless emotional rhetoric about "your child's right to an education" and  "the nation's future" etc.-- and a LOT more money to spend selling it thanks to the DoE, NEA and teacher's unions etc.
However, money talks louder than anything-- it only requires the ability to COUNT; so if you can PROVE that public schools cost voters more than private ones of equal quality, then they're history; it really IS just that simple.

So if we were to get a fund to hire private accounting-firms to compare the costs between public and private schools of equal quality (again "Ceteris Paribus"), and show voters that privates schools are just as inexpensive-- and just as good, or better-- than public schools, then the voter would naturally vote to abolish them immediately.
Title: Re: Excellent article on American Education
Post by: Sandy Price on August 01, 2005, 12:34:14 pm
Charter schools have no tuitions!  Some are superior to government schools and some are not.  It is up to the parents to make that judgment.  Many parents who are just making do with their incomes tend to hire tutors for afterschool subjects.  I have tutored as have both my daughters.

My husband refused to pick up tuition for the girls because they were only girls!  I decided to try out a "Carden Academy" private school on my own to see if the older girl would do well.  She loved it!  I made the commitment for both girls but it meant my working 2 jobs, driving an old 17 year old chevy and putting the girls on the public bus.  They thrived and always wanted to return. 

My feelings were that they only go through 12 years of school once and if they wanted to go on to the University it would essential as the Los Angeles Public schools were horrible.   We lived in a run down cabin without heat for 18 years and the girls would have to locate firewood after school in order to survive.  I soon began to make good money and managed some luxuries but always set aside college tuition because my husband would never pick up that tab.  We went through braces, broken bones but I always kept my credit good and could  borrow money on the old cabin that continued to grow in worth.  We took no vacations, the girls had no bikes and going camping was out of the question.  The girls worked after school at various jobs and bought their own goodies that little girls like.

We had no television and certainly no cable connection and I drove the same old car for all those years.  One can get what they want if they want to pay for it.  Oh, yes I paid for public school through my property taxes and it was a lot more than $300 per year. 

Both girls were accepted in the University of California and immediately got jobs to pay for their extras.  They were well prepared for this difficult school and never made less than a 3.8 grade average.  It took team work which many parents and kids aren't willing to do but in my case it was all they knew.  My kids are tri-lingual and have traveled all over the world.  They are well read in most subjects and are at home anywhere on the planet.  They have been introduced to the Art world and both are collectors.  They know symphonic music as well as pop and are always in an audience somewhere.  They were raised on Shakespeare as that is what I did for a living.  I costumed several small Shakespearean theaters and worked for several private colleges who did Shakespear summer sessions.  The girls were always involved in everything.

They are in their 40s at this time, married, professional women raising their families with all the best education possible.  They are both printed authors with many books under their belts including text books. 

I can only share my experiences with a good academic school for the kids and hope others can find the way to do it too.  Nothing I could have done would have compared with the education my kids got from these schools.

I can't imagine doing it any other way.

I think we are discussing equality education or the possibility of ideal education.  I chose ideal.
Title: Re: Excellent article on American Education
Post by: SteveA on August 01, 2005, 12:48:48 pm
Many people believe that because someone else is footing the bill at least they personally are still getting a good deal but it's only a short run gain and long term losses.  In the long run, it's not the military, our political strength overseas, the number of teachers we publicly employ or how many hours a day we can manage to keep our children in school that matter, it's the quality of life for people that counts most.  This is just like a bank account where improvements occur over time and multiply as we invest more into it.  It's not only economic of course but most social realms depend on a stable and abundant physical foundation to flourish.  Whether or not it's called theft, it we decide it's ok to sacrifice the interests of people who become successful in favor of those who aren't, we create a scenario where success is limited for everyone.  I forget the exact quote but Thomas Jefferson said something like government should not take bread from the person that grew it and it's easy to see why this can create a large problem - if bread were taken from people that grew it and given to those who had none, then anyone hungry who tried to grow bread would find this taken and given to others.  People would be denied an ability to feed themselves and would be at the mercy of everyone elses good intentions (somehow lacking in the governmental realm).  If it were truly redistributed equally, then whether or not you worked would make virtually no difference in your quality of life, so since noone would find little of any personal benefit to work (except possibly personal satisfaction in completing a job) people would either starve or be forced to work - look at any socialistic government around the world to see that generally both occur - you're forced to work, given rations of what everyone produces, and the quality of life stil sucks.

So receving a few bucks grant from government might give a short term gain to someone, it only creates long term problems for everyone.  (Besides the money is given back only after strings are attached anyway, so a dollar given by the federal/state government is worth less than keeping it out of federal/states hands altogether).  If there really are benefits to large scale planning, people can do so voluntarily and demonstrate the benefits to others and attrach more followers in a voluntary and peaceful manner with much fewer bad side effects.
Title: Re: Excellent article on American Education
Post by: Sandy Price on August 01, 2005, 02:09:25 pm
Bravo!  Well stated Steve!
Title: Re: Excellent article on American Education
Post by: dowcet on August 01, 2005, 10:51:13 pm
So basically, they're already buying it, by voting for-- and USING-- public schools; they just don't realize the full price, and think they're getting a bargain. Show them a LOWER price on the same quality in the private sector, and it's impossible NOT to sell it.

In many communities, no one is "voting for [...] public schools" in any meaningful way. The schools have existed for generations and the structure of politics make it extremely difficult to do anything about it. Of course many communities are exploring charter schools and other alternatives, but in many places where people have tried to pursue those ideas and not been able to politically, it probably wasn't because of an informed popular consensus against them, it was because of bureaucratic control. Maybe there are a ton of places where vouchers and/or charter schools have been posed as referenda, or at least made into campaign issues, but not in most of the places I've lived.

So in many cases, people use public schools simply because they don't have the money to take advantage of what private options happen to be available. I guess in many other cases, people use public schools because they just don't care or don't realize that there could easily be a better way. Either way, I don't buy your idea that you just need to show the numbers and everyone will agree to close down the public schools, because the numbers are already out there, like in the Cato Institute report I linked to earlier in the thread.
Title: Re: Excellent article on American Education
Post by: BrianMcCandliss on August 02, 2005, 07:08:47 am
So basically, they're already buying it, by voting for-- and USING-- public schools; they just don't realize the full price, and think they're getting a bargain. Show them a LOWER price on the same quality in the private sector, and it's impossible NOT to sell it.

In many communities, no one is "voting for [...] public schools" in any meaningful way. The schools have existed for generations and the structure of politics make it extremely difficult to do anything about it. Of course many communities are exploring charter schools and other alternatives, but in many places where people have tried to pursue those ideas and not been able to politically, it probably wasn't because of an informed popular consensus against them, it was because of bureaucratic control. Maybe there are a ton of places where vouchers and/or charter schools have been posed as referenda, or at least made into campaign issues, but not in most of the places I've lived.

So in many cases, people use public schools simply because they don't have the money to take advantage of what private options happen to be available. I guess in many other cases, people use public schools because they just don't care or don't realize that there could easily be a better way. Either way, I don't buy your idea that you just need to show the numbers and everyone will agree to close down the public schools, because the numbers are already out there, like in the Cato Institute report I linked to earlier in the thread.

This is simply not true: the will of the people wins out in any democracy. If you ran for office on the position of privatizing schools-- or petitioned a referendum for same-- your success would be determined by the strength of the will of the voters in that direction.

And you didn't link to ANYTHING, ANYWHERE in this thread.

People don't have the money to go to private school, because they're ALREADY spending all their money on PUBLIC shools-- they simply don't REALIZE it because no one's done an accounting-study to prove it. You think they're not PAYING that money, just because it comes from the GOVERNMENT? Where do you think the GOVERNMENT gets its money?

Once they DID realize privatization was cheaper, they'd vote for it tomorrow.

Also, private schools are over-priced because they usually cater to the rich, and there's not much competition; only 12% of the population uses private schools, and they ALREADY pay for public schools. Obviously, they've got money to burn-- or REALLY high priorities.

However, in a free market, private schools could not cost ANY more than public schools of equal quality, once all costs are tabulated-- it's simply impossible.

It's so simple that no one wants to believe it-- however if you want me to believe that something is in my best interest, you gotta SHOW ME THE MONEY. Once you show people how much they'll save-- TO THE PENNY-- then they'll DO something about it.

Otherwise, it's just some vague notion, and they'll never change it.

So the choice is simple-- you can fill volumes with your rhetoric, or you can charter a simple cost-comparison study and get RESULTS. I see a lot of talk here, but not ONE POST other than mine which actually talks about why voters would choose a privatized system of education over the current one.
The answer is, only ONE REASON: if you can PROVE it's cheaper and better. ONLY an independent cost-comparison study will do that.
Otherwise, you're just jumping up and down saying "PICK ME! PICK MY SYSTEM!" with no quantitative proof or evidence. It WON'T WORK.
Of course some people don't WANT it to work-- it's easier and more neurotically-gratifying to do it THEIR way, and then complain when it fails.
Title: Re: Excellent article on American Education
Post by: Sandy Price on August 02, 2005, 07:40:58 am
Brian, in a Democracy the voters can change any or all members of the Board of Education to improve the schools.  People do have the money for private education because private schools are opening up all over America.  Where there is heavy poverty, many corporations are funding these private schools or helping out funding of Charter schools.  Those schools will work if the parents work at it.

Sadly most Americans are not educated well enough to understand the situation and will always insist that the government make the improvements to the system.  NO!! That is absolutely the worst thing to ask. 

The problem Brian, is that the Federal Government  sets mandates for all public schools and these mandates never improve the academics but develop administtrations.  Private schools put the tuition into the students themselves and many of these schools start in somebody's garage or basement. 

We must focus on the purpose of these schools.  Are they done for the social development of the children or are they done for academic training?  If you go back to the early days of American schools and read some of the books we have mentioned here, you will see that those one room schools focused on academics and survival skills.  The kids only attended school about 3 to 4 hours a day because they had work to do at home or on the ranch or even in a manufacturing plant.  These kids knew their future depended on their academic training because if they didn't work, they didn't eat.

The FSP is based on libertarian ideas of individuality.  You seem to want a collectivist attitude within their schools.  Their whole purpose of the FSP is to train the next generation to live away from government programs and develop their own.  Is it that you don't understand this?

If the parents want to prioritize their money to pay for private education, what is it to you?  Millions of Americans are working 2 jobs to do this and their kids understand the sacrifice and work with them with eagerness. 

When we lived in Encino California, our tuition for our daughter was $2K per year.  My property taxes in our home showed $2K taken out of our taxes for public school.  Now that was a shock to me because the quality of the education between the two systems was great.  The kids coming out of public school did not qualify for the Universities without 2 years of junior college.  That is the time most kids drop out of education.  Berkeley took students from many foreign lands and private schools because that is how they kept their high standards up.  My husband was a college professor and checked out all the universities to see where they got their freshmen.  I found some really good prep schools and worked my way down to the best academic 1st through 12th schools I could find. 

From day one my kids were motivated academically and every May I would sit them down and ask if they wanted to return to their private school or go with their neighorhood friends to the school down the street.  Both girls requested to return to the private school as they loved it.  That was my incentive to work 8 hours a day for a company and weekends designing costumes for a bunch of actors.  It was a team effort with the kids and it was a success.

Many of my neighbors in the Santa Monica mountains worked full time and we managed to cover the kids when they were home.  I was  home on weekends and would take all the kids with me to the theater where they could watch rehearsals and somtimes become walk ons for the productions on Sunday.  My evening were spent with fittings and designing with help from my kids.  Our entire daily lives were a team thing.  But remember we had no television and certainly no computer.  Many times in the evening my girls would read to us and we got through many good books this way.  Show me the reading lists from your government schools and we can talk about quality education.

I can't believe you are a part of FSP thinking as you do about individual education for the kids.  I can only hope you attend all the Board of  Education meetings and become familiar with how your local schools are allocating the tax money into the education of the kids. 
Title: Re: Excellent article on American Education
Post by: BrianMcCandliss on August 02, 2005, 08:30:42 am
Brian, in a Democracy the voters can change any or all members of the Board of Education to improve the schools. 
Or to abolish it entirely-- why settle for mediocrity when they can KEEP their money and purchase excellence for less?
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People do have the money for private education because private schools are opening up all over America. 

This is HARDLY the point of what I'm saying; the mainstream public is only continuing to PAY for public schools, because they think it's a better deal for the money than private schools. And they think this, again, because it's a horrible LIE created by the system. In reality, they're paying MORE for public schools than they would for private, out of their personal incomes.

If they want to spend more money for private schools than before, great-- they can afford even BETTER private schools once they're no longer paying for public schools as well.

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Where there is heavy poverty, many corporations are funding these private schools or helping out funding of Charter schools.  Those schools will work if the parents work at it.

Great-- but we're talking Riverdale High, not the Bronx Zoo. Why put the MAINSTREAM on the public dole? Makes no sense-- unless there's the perception that it's a better deal.
Therefore again, the solution is to EXPOSE this perception as an illusion.

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Sadly most Americans are not educated well enough to understand the situation and will always insist that the government make the improvements to the system.  NO!! That is absolutely the worst thing to ask. 


"Improving" the public school system, is like re-arranging deck-chairs on the Titanic-- you have to ABANDON SHIP! There's NO way to save it-- there never WAS! IT CAN'T WORK!

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The problem Brian, is that the Federal Government  sets mandates for all public schools and these mandates never improve the academics but develop administtrations.  Private schools put the tuition into the students themselves and many of these schools start in somebody's garage or basement. 


The problem, is that you're placing blame on individuals rather than economics. Private schools get paid to produce RESULTS- public ones get paid to produce good intentions. Ergo, if you want results, you must abolish public schools in favor of private.

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We must focus on the purpose of these schools.  Are they done for the social development of the children or are they done for academic training?  If you go back to the early days of American schools and read some of the books we have mentioned here, you will see that those one room schools focused on academics and survival skills.  The kids only attended school about 3 to 4 hours a day because they had work to do at home or on the ranch or even in a manufacturing plant.  These kids knew their future depended on their academic training because if they didn't work, they didn't eat.

"WE" mustn't do ANYTHING. It should be left up to the parents-- and I think they'd agree in most cases. However public schools are wasteful,  but present the illusion of efficiency from the parent's perspective.
The solution, then, is to expose this myth based on hard facts and figures.

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The FSP is based on libertarian ideas of individuality.  You seem to want a collectivist attitude within their schools.  Their whole purpose of the FSP is to train the next generation to live away from government programs and develop their own.  Is it that you don't understand this?
Where on EARTH do you get that notion? The purpose of the FSP is to get the government OUT of the brainwashing business-- not USURP its role in such!
I want an END to ALL government schools-- PERIOD, NOW AND FOREVER.

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If the parents want to prioritize their money to pay for private education, what is it to you?  Millions of Americans are working 2 jobs to do this and their kids understand the sacrifice and work with them with eagerness. 

Millions? As in one million, and another million?
Houston, you have a problem: there are THREE HUNDRED MILLION Americans, and 86% of them use PUBLIC schools; obviously they seem to think there's a benefit to keeping the system-- or at least they see no ADVANTAGE to changing it. The key, then, is to SHOW them the advantage.
And to do this, you gotta SHOW THEM THE MONEY.

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When we lived in Encino California, our tuition for our daughter was $2K per year.  My property taxes in our home showed $2K taken out of our taxes for public school.    Now that was a shock to me because the quality of the education between the two systems was great. 


HERE YE, GENTLE READERS: PAY ATTENTION TO THE BOLDFACED STATEMENTS ABOVE.
THIS is what I'm TALKING about, regarding parents living under the ILLUSION that public schools are "less expensive than private."

Sandy, I don't know if you've ever studied economics, but is that ALL you think REALLY came out of your pocket to pay for "tuition" for that school--  your PROPERTY TAXES ALONE? And ONLY while your kid(s) were in school-- not before they attended, or after graduation?

Think again: those schools didn't cost any paltry 2k total/year for all the kids you had in them (or one-- your payment would be the same). Likewise, you don't pay property-taxes only while your kids are in school! You pay them till you DIE!

If you cared to add up EVERYTHING you spent that went towards that "tuition--" from all your other taxes, higher prices you paid on your purchases due to tax-expenses on business, your higher mortgage, higher rent, higher whatever-- taken over your LIFETIME and accounting for interest-expenses-- it would come to a good deal MORE than an equal-quality education purchased in a system of ONLY private schools.

Reality-check here:  Do you REALLY think that all costs spent on your kids, in excess of a measly $2k/year for ALL the kids you had in the system,  was a GIFT from the good "government-fairy?" The first rule of economics is something called TANSTAAFL: "There ain't no such thing as a free lunch." And that goes for SCHOOL lunches as well. YOU paid for all of that-- or at least will continue doing so for the rest of your days. Yeah, it's true-- and it's certainly MORE than you would have paid in an entirely private system where no public schools existed.

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I can't believe you are a part of FSP thinking as you do about individual education for the kids.  I can only hope you attend all the Board of  Education meetings and become familiar with how your local schools are allocating the tax money into the education of the kids. 


If that's how you think, I don't have ANY hope-- you want a public solution to a private problem. They're YOUR kids- YOU had them, so it's YOUR job to provide for them, education and all-- NO ONE ELSE's. That's responsibility.
However on the other side, it's your right to CHOOSE that education-- NO ONE ELSE'S; that's called FREEDOM.
And freedom and responsibility go hand-in-hand.

I don't CARE how public schools are "allocating the tax money into the education of the kids--" because I don't WANT public schools allocating ANY tax money into ANY education of kids! They have NO BUSINESS doing that-- not one penny, not one child. Government should be in the business of securing rights, not educating children as it sees fit. That's a PARENT'S job-- ALONE.
You might think "it takes a village to raise a child--" but that's just a saying; in reality, the other villagers are busy with their own lives. And the more kids that are raised by villages, the more village idiots you get.

And THAT is a true FSP perspective; I don't know what you think the FSP is all about, but it's NOT about finding better ways for the government to spend the people's money. Government is best, that governs the least.
And in an all-private school system, you don't NEED to attend board-meetings, due to ANOTHER rule of economics: the customer is always right.
Title: Re: Excellent article on American Education
Post by: BrianMcCandliss on August 02, 2005, 12:28:29 pm
Many people believe that because someone else is footing the bill at least they personally are still getting a good deal but it's only a short run gain and long term losses.
Actually there is NO short-term gain! That's what I'm trying to GET ACROSS.
Consider the following: John and Mary have an average income, and the average number of kids.
They send their kids to public school, which costs X number of dollars.
John and Mary might think that they're only paying Y dollars as shown by their school-property taxes; but they DON'T notice the following:

1.Increased income and sales-taxes: Local, state and federal taxes all go to subsidize schools, and these each are increased accordingly.
2.  Increased prices on purchases of goods and services: every business must also pay school-taxes, in addition to increased taxes above-- and these likewise are increased accordingly.
3. Various other increases: other various bills are all increased to pay for public schools.

When these and other various school-subsidies are added up over their lifetimes, John and Mary would realize that they're paying for EVERY PENNY of the government money spent on behalf of their children.

Now consider a privatized alternative, in which no public schools exist:

John and Mary enroll their children in a private school of their choice; for the sake of this example, the school is of equal quality to the public school. They arrange private long-term financing for it, just as they would for a car or mortgage etc.; for the sake of this argument, they roll it over to be repaid over the course of their lifetime.

As a result, they end up with LOWER monthly payments, than their total monthly payments would have been for a public school education. As a result, they end up with more money, AND more satisifed of getting a quality education for their children.

Thus we see that, in reality, public schools are MORE expensive than private schools for the average parent in the short AND long-term-- in fact, it's impossible to be otherwise, since the public sector is inherently inefficient.

I want to make a point here, that when I say "average," I don't just mean if you added up everyone; this could very well mean that the top 10% are paying for the bottom 90, who get a net benefit.
No, I mean that the MAJORITY of taxpayers are being ripped off by public schools, as compared to a system of all-private ones.

Once this is shown to them, there will be no reason NOT to vote to abolish all public schools.

For this reason, the best strategy would be to compare the SHORT-term costs of public vs. equal-quality private schools, for the majority of parents.
This simply needs an official study and report by reputable cost-study firms. It could be done for a good deal less than what anti-public schoolers are currently spending on useless endeavors; however this is one that CAN'T fail, since facts argue, but MONEY TALKS.
Perhaps they're hung up on the "principle" of the issue; however a moral victory, is simply pride bringing a fall.