Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

March 7, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

VOUCHERS....I can't read John Tierney's latest piece of duplicitous spin in the New York Times, but I can read Greg Anrig's comprehensive dismantling of it. And so can you.

Kevin Drum 3:16 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (156)

Bookmark and Share
 
Comments

impossible. conservative social engineering projects are always perfect.

Posted by: cleek on March 7, 2006 at 3:24 PM | PERMALINK

Vouchers!? Them's fightin' words.

Posted by: craigie on March 7, 2006 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

Tierney just makes shit up. Seriously, it's inexcusable that the NY Times continues to give him quite possibly the most valuable real estate in opinion making.

He's worse than Maureen Dowd! At least with Maureen's stuff, she's not trying to hide the fact that she's just shooting from the hip. Tierney deliberately gives all the appearance of rigor, but none of the substance.

Posted by: theorajones on March 7, 2006 at 3:31 PM | PERMALINK

The NYT, of which I used to be an avid reader, totally blew it with Times Select. Before TS, everyone used to talk about Tierney, Dowd, Friedman, and Krugman. Now almost nobody does. I see a reference to them like once a month.

Posted by: steve s on March 7, 2006 at 3:33 PM | PERMALINK

Repeat after me:

Students are not sausages.
Schools are not factories.

All this ranting about schools drives me crazy. It's not like conservatives have a sterling track record on stuff. Iraq? whoops. Medicare? sorry. Security? not so much. Military transformation? damn. Job creation? hey, this is hard work!

Why don't they stick what they know. Um, what is that, again?

Posted by: craigie on March 7, 2006 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

Greg Anrig is a LIAR. The Milwakee voucher program HAS worked. As John Tierney pointed out.

Two studies by Harvard researchers, one by Caroline Hoxby and another by Rajashri Chakrabarti, have shown that as the voucher program expanded in Milwaukee, there was a marked improvement in test scores at the public schools most threatened by the program (the ones with large numbers of low-income students eligible for the vouchers).

Why are liberals like Greg Anrig and Kevin Drum always lying?

Posted by: Al on March 7, 2006 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK

The Drum spin is always the same. "We must mobilize to save this or that government program"

You would think he was a defense contractor.

Posted by: Matt on March 7, 2006 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

Strikes me that you're all mistaken. I'd bet that adjusting for student ability, as determined by incoming test scores, results are very much the same either way. When kids leave 'bad' public schools under NCLB and go to 'good' public schools, their test scores do not change. Same is true for college: SAT scores predict GRE scores, college attended has no effect. Same over time: national NAEP scores have changed little in 35 years, Iowa scores have changed little in 65 years.

Costs vary, though.

Posted by: gcochran on March 7, 2006 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

Hey Al.

Did you actually read this piece? turns out that the kids most likely to leave a public school under the charter program had lower test scores to begin with. Take out 5,000 underperforming students and VOILA scores go up.

Posted by: northzax on March 7, 2006 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin -- why don't you ever turn your attention to the duplicitous spin offered by voucher opponents? I.e., that vouchers go to rich white students (emphatically not the case in Milwaukee), that voucher schools "cream" the best public school students (which isn't true and doesn't even make sense, because parents whose kids are doing great are usually happy to stay put), that vouchers somehow harm or undermine public schools (not true in any way)?

That is, Kevin, why are you so concerned about refuting the people who are on the side of helping poor minority kids?

Posted by: Niels Jackson on March 7, 2006 at 3:51 PM | PERMALINK

Did you actually read this piece? turns out that the kids most likely to leave a public school under the charter program had lower test scores to begin with. Take out 5,000 underperforming students and VOILA scores go up.
Posted by: northzax on March 7, 2006 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

Sounds like how Repubs want healthcare to be run as well.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on March 7, 2006 at 3:53 PM | PERMALINK

"Hey, none of us actually paid to read the article, but by all means, we'll take someone else's spin on the spin as enough to go on."

The important thing is that parents are given more choices. There are often more reasons for parents changing schools than just academic results.

The choice itself is a good thing. Don't know why this is one area where liberals don't like "choice."

The articles linked in the post looks like good reading.

Posted by: tbrosz on March 7, 2006 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, I understand why you don't cite anything behind the Times Select wall, but most people who have a library card & want to at least read the columns can do so through their local library website, although logging in as a patron might be necessary.

Posted by: latts on March 7, 2006 at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK

Hell Far, dat boy Anrig be on Tyrannies ass like ah Duk onna' Junebug

WOoOoOo!!
KablaMMMmmMmM

Fore!

Posted by: one eye buck tooth [X^B on March 7, 2006 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

We've been around this bend before. There is very little evidence that vouchers affect performance very much...which you'd see documented if you, as our buddy Al would say, just clicked the link.

Vouchers are just religion for market fundamentalists - since they define government as always being bad, any competing private effort must be better. Parent involvement in education is a far, far better predictor of success than private vs. public schools.

Posted by: Marc on March 7, 2006 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

Don't know why this is one area where liberals don't like "choice."

i won't presume to speak for all 'liberals', but as i see it, the right's undisguised hatred of the public school system gives me reason to suspect their motives for spending public money on private schools are not honorable. especially given that the supply of money is finite - GOP fiscal policy aside - and that any dollars spent on private schools are dollars withheld from public schools.

and, as a supporter of public schools, for many reasons, any attempt to starve them in order to satitate this latest wingnut bete noir is simply rejected.

Posted by: cleek on March 7, 2006 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK

The most important thing to remember about vouchers is that they're not a federal issue. They are, or at least should be, a purely state and local issue.

Anybody remember federalism?

Posted by: alex on March 7, 2006 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

craigie: It's not like conservatives have a sterling track record on stuff. Iraq? whoops. Medicare? sorry. Security? not so much. Military transformation? damn. Job creation? hey, this is hard work!

Why don't they stick what they know. Um, what is that, again?

Lies, spin, bribes, corporate power, and the use of same to get elected.

Sadly, that's why the rest of it matters.

Posted by: S Ra on March 7, 2006 at 4:08 PM | PERMALINK

The one good point I got was that private schools offer a way for underperforming students to go someplace where they would not be hassled for the rest of their lives by the "Most Children Left Behind" act.

Escaping destruction by government should be every child's right.

Posted by: Matt on March 7, 2006 at 4:10 PM | PERMALINK

I was going to respond to tbrosz' bullshit, but cleek has already done so most elegantly. Bravo.

I'd simply add that parents already have choices. Those choices just don't involve spending public money on religious education. Why a self-professed "libertarian" defends subsidizing religion with tax dollars is puzzling indeed.

By the by, my daughter attends a magnet public school, and I think it's simply terrific.

Posted by: Gregory on March 7, 2006 at 4:12 PM | PERMALINK

My Probashun Officer Sayd My IQ wuz ober 160 sumthin then shee sayd iffun yewd been a busch yewd gott off da hook, rehabitattion like Noele Busch did....

Sheet Far I drunk Plenty O' Busch Beer, ah says, so yew can lemme go..

but no Yew Aint no 'Busch Bush' so tha laws different shee says.

Sheet Far dat aint far

Posted by: one eye buck tooth [X^B on March 7, 2006 at 4:21 PM | PERMALINK

Why a self-professed "libertarian" defends subsidizing religion with tax dollars is puzzling indeed.

IMO, that's just a shallow inconsistency masking a deeper consistency: they want to kill the public school system. vouchers are a means to that end, not an end in themselves.

OT: i wonder if the number of self-professed 'libertarians' has moved in relation to W's un-popularity.

Posted by: cleek on March 7, 2006 at 4:25 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe everyone should consider the John Conyers educational program. Send your kids to private school and get goverment employees to tutor them. Interesting that Conyers doesn't send his kids to public school. He just sends them to public employees.

Posted by: Orwell on March 7, 2006 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK

"Escaping destruction by government should be every child's right."

Yeah, but not getting government to pay for it.

If conservatives like "vouchers" so much, how about they give me a Defense voucher. I can spend it on the Army, Navy, etc., or I can spend it on private security.

Posted by: Cal Gal on March 7, 2006 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK

Tbrosz,
Should parents have the choice to have their children taught that Joe Stalin was the greatest humanitarian in history, and that Mao was the inventor of the cotton gin, creating a revolution that propelled China into the 19th century decades ahead of the rest of the world?
Of course, you say, because choice is a primary virtue. Right?

Posted by: marky on March 7, 2006 at 4:34 PM | PERMALINK


**The important thing is that parents are given more choices. **

that's what consumers in california were told....when competition for eletricity was being sold...

look how good that worked...

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on March 7, 2006 at 4:36 PM | PERMALINK

Parents have choices? Um, no. Not the kind of choices we should have in a civilized society. So you like (don't like) phonics. Doesn't matter. If the public school monopoly likes it, your opinion, and what's best for your student, doesn't matter. You like, art, music, recess, etc... as part of the kindergarten curriculum? Doesn't matter. Etc.... Ad nauseum.

I can afford to send my kids to private school, but even choices there are much more limited than they should be. And this is so, largely because spending on the public school monopoly crowds out the dollars that could be used on innovative curriculums that offer a choice.

And it's not like we get stellar, or even acceptable results from the segregated oligarchy that is our education system.

Posted by: decon on March 7, 2006 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

Tbroz-- you are right the linked article are worth reading. They give a very mixed story that is very differenct from the NYT times article and in line with the story our host presents.

Posted by: spencer on March 7, 2006 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

If the public school monopoly likes it, your opinion, and what's best for your student, doesn't matter.

ummm... run for a seat on the school board ? look how well it worked in Dover! a group of idjits wanted to put the Bible into science class, and voila! next election, they got themselves replaced.

Posted by: cleek on March 7, 2006 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

Jeffrey Dahmer is a product of parochial schools in Milwaukee.

No further comment is necessary.

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on March 7, 2006 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

A million years ago, in the 1950s and early 60s, our parents and others like ours, paid double to send us to Catholic parochial schools where we prayed and went to Mass and wore dorky uniforms. Our parents griped about the lack of help for things like busses but the parents of public school kids wouldn't dream of sharing the wealth.

Fast forward: no mandatory prayer in public schools and (most of all) desegregation.

Suddenly, sharing the education dollar became all the rage. Moan. Moan. Moan.

What a bunch of whiners conservatives are.

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on March 7, 2006 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not against public education by the way. I'm just very much pro-deal-with-reality.

The reality is that our public schools suck. And they suck the most, longest, and loudest for the poorest and must vulnerable children. The favored solution here seems to be to clap longer and louder for the public education monopoly.

The best solution is a voucher program, with the value of the voucher inversely proportional to family income.

Posted by: decon on March 7, 2006 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

Tierney deliberately gives all the appearance of rigor, but none of the substance..

tbrosz in a nutshell.

Posted by: nut on March 7, 2006 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

Harry Reid is a product of the public school system in Nevada.

No further comment necessary.

Posted by: Jay on March 7, 2006 at 4:52 PM | PERMALINK

The Drum spin is always the same. "We must mobilize to save this or that government program"
You would think he was a defense contractor.
Posted by: Matt on March 7, 2006 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

Or else he watched the trailer on that new DeLay movie...

Where Delay can be heard saying something about abolishing the Education Department...

[Aside: I guess DeLay somehow thinks having stupidier people will somehow increase America's hegemony... lol... Tommy: You don't build a tech-economy on Jesus prayers..lol]

Posted by: koreyel on March 7, 2006 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

The best solution is a voucher program, with the value of the voucher inversely proportional to family income.

Best solution ? Based on what ?

Posted by: Stephen on March 7, 2006 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK

Here's my frustration with the big name papers and magazines. Why the heck are they still hiring conservative hacks such Tierney, Jonah Goldberg, and Andrew Sullivan.

The web more or less shows the free market for eye balls at work. And these guys just got slaughtered out there. Kos, Atrois, Kevin, Josh Marshall just out-hit these idiots massively. But somehow these publications still thing these guys are "extreme" and the conservative hacks "mainstream".

Posted by: Samuel Knight on March 7, 2006 at 4:57 PM | PERMALINK

IMO, that's just a shallow inconsistency masking a deeper consistency: they want to kill the public school system. vouchers are a means to that end, not an end in themselves.

Oh, of course, cleek; I was just mocking tbrosz. For all his libertarian pose, this only consistent principle seems to be a pathological aversion to paying taxes, and he's shown himself willing to carry any amount of GOP water because he knows they're the party of tax cuts forever and all else be damned. A means to an end indeed.

Posted by: Gregory on March 7, 2006 at 4:57 PM | PERMALINK

I can afford to send my kids to private school

Precisely my point, decon. You have choice. QED.

Posted by: Gregory on March 7, 2006 at 4:59 PM | PERMALINK

Where would this world be without the powerful intellect of those on the left? Where public money to help finance a better education for our children is opposed yet public money to abort the pregnancies of the teens in those public schools is accepted.

Let's not blame the millions of parents who are negligent in getting their kids prepared for school, let's blame the government for not giving them more money. Let's be pro-choice on issues regarding abortion and marriage but dictate to parents where and when their children will go to school and what they will study. How have we survived all of these years without this vision?

Posted by: Jay on March 7, 2006 at 5:00 PM | PERMALINK


There are a lot of fairly prosperous integrated schools in which the standard minorities do poorly while the Anglos do fine.
So much so that a group of such schools has formed a research consortium to investigate this puzzle: the Minority Student Achievement Network.
It includes school districts such as Shaker Heights, Ohio; Ann Arbor, Mich.; Amherst, Mass.; Montclair, N.J.; White Plains, N.Y.; Berkeley, Calif.; and Evanston, Ill.
No answers yet.

Posted by: gcochran on March 7, 2006 at 5:00 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not against public education by the way.

decon, your repeated use of the Rushism "monopoly" to describe public schools leads one to doubt that assertion.

Posted by: Gregory on March 7, 2006 at 5:01 PM | PERMALINK

The best solution is a voucher program, with the value of the voucher inversely proportional to family income.

Wouldn't that force everyone to sit on their lazy butt all day, since zero income will entitle them to vouchers worth unbounded (inifinit) number of dollars?

Posted by: lib on March 7, 2006 at 5:02 PM | PERMALINK

You're exactly right Samuel, that's clearly demonstrated in the unbridled success of Air America radio and MSNBC and........oh wait, nevermind.

Posted by: Jay on March 7, 2006 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

Jay is the product of Our Lady of the Eternal Asskiss parochial school system.

I rest my case.

Posted by: nut on March 7, 2006 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

nut, you sat next to me right? Awesome school.

Posted by: Jay on March 7, 2006 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

Jay, shush. the grown-ups are talking now.

Posted by: cleek on March 7, 2006 at 5:07 PM | PERMALINK

Killing public education might be a good idea. The mean education of an american student will not prepare them for the 21st century. The democrats don't have a solution for this. The republicans have presented thiers. It has flaws but is there no sense of urgency amoung democrats? Do they feel that they can just critisize and allow the system to continue? As voters we have two options: the democrats who do nothing and republicans who do a little. Who do you got with?

Posted by: exclab on March 7, 2006 at 5:07 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not against public education by the way. I'm just very much pro-deal-with-reality.

The reality is that our public schools suck. And they suck the most, longest, and loudest for the poorest and must vulnerable children. The favored solution here seems to be to clap longer and louder for the public education monopoly.

The best solution is a voucher program, with the value of the voucher inversely proportional to family income.

Yes, the answer is always: throw money at the problem. Yep, take those poor, disadvantaged youngsters and send them to rich schools and they'll become little Einsteins.

Don't worry about the students themselves, who may not be interested in school at all. Bus them to a rich school and they'll be learning Latin and calculus in no time.

Don't worry that those poor darlings probably don't have a great home environment, which is the most important foundation for educational success.

Don't worry that most private schools will just jack up their prices, thereby negating the effect of the voucher.

Yep, just throw money at the problem.

Posted by: NSA Mole on March 7, 2006 at 5:07 PM | PERMALINK

Killing public education might be a good idea. The mean education of an american student will not prepare them for the 21st century. The democrats don't have a solution for this. The republicans have presented thiers.

If the Republicans' solution is indeed "Killing public education," one marvels at the party's failure to come right out and say so. And people say the Democrats are cowards!

Posted by: Gregory on March 7, 2006 at 5:09 PM | PERMALINK

Is that what that is again cleek, and here I thought it was just the loser liberals on this blog who, according to last months zogby poll represents 6% of the minority party, putting in their two cents. One cent of which they will not give towards vouchers.

Posted by: Jay on March 7, 2006 at 5:10 PM | PERMALINK

As I said: not much of a choice, and not the kind of choice we are accustomed to in the civilized world. I have more choice about the kind of lettuce I buy at the grocery store than the curriculum my kids will be exposed to -- even including the private school choices.

By your definition everyone has a choice. Women in Iran, for example, can choose to wear a burkha or not. They have a choice. Not a good one, but a choice none the less. Why don't we discuss relevant points, deal with reality, and dispense with the spurious arguments.

Posted by: decon on March 7, 2006 at 5:11 PM | PERMALINK

Jay, shush.

Posted by: cleek on March 7, 2006 at 5:13 PM | PERMALINK

NSA I am proud of you. Give those disadvantaged youth to parents who actually give a shit and it wouldn't matter which school they go to. But let's not talk about that, might offend someone and wouldn't be politically correct.

Posted by: Jay on March 7, 2006 at 5:13 PM | PERMALINK

are you trying to stymie free speech cleek, that's not very liberal of you. Bad, bad liberal.

Posted by: Jay on March 7, 2006 at 5:14 PM | PERMALINK

I have more choice about the kind of lettuce I buy at the grocery store than the curriculum my kids will be exposed to -- even including the private school choices

again, run for a seat on the school board and/or attend school board meetings to fight to get the curriculum you prefer. or, home school your kids and teach them whatever you want.

Posted by: cleek on March 7, 2006 at 5:15 PM | PERMALINK

I think I have an idea on how the liberals could support vouchers. Let's think of all of these kids as a bunch of pregnant teens in South Dakota who now would like to go to another state to fulfill their ambition. There, much more palatable isn't it?

Posted by: Jay on March 7, 2006 at 5:17 PM | PERMALINK

Gregory -- What Orwellian phrase would you use to characterize the public education monopoly as anything other than a monopoly? I can assure you that publicly funded education in my part of the world is provided only by the local school board.

Posted by: decon on March 7, 2006 at 5:17 PM | PERMALINK

are you trying to stymie free speech cleek

no, just your's. now shush.

Posted by: cleek on March 7, 2006 at 5:18 PM | PERMALINK

Parent involvement in education is a far, far better predictor of success than private vs. public schools. Posted by: Marc on March 7, 2006 at 4:05 PM

I'd like to reiterate Marc's point. A public school fails only because the public fails it. "Voting with your feet" only means your walking away from the problem and doing nothing to solve it.

Libertarians would rather flee from the hard work of transforming a school system, and prefer the lazy solution of "shopping somewhere else". Leaving the problem for someone else to fix.

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on March 7, 2006 at 5:22 PM | PERMALINK

Or we could think of them as "undocumented workers" who are trying to relocate to help support their families. That should help the liberals embrace them.

Posted by: Jay on March 7, 2006 at 5:22 PM | PERMALINK

Dr., let's tell that to the "undocumented workers" that they're just lazy and trying to run from their problems and leaving their country for someone else to fix. Brilliant.

Posted by: Jay on March 7, 2006 at 5:24 PM | PERMALINK

Ok. So I run for school board, and win, and get to have everything my way. That's good for me.

How is it good for all the other parents, and students, and teachers, and administrators who don't like my way of doing things?

It's not all about me and what I want. It's about giving people choices. Different students have different needs. And different parents have different choices. And a one size fits all approach, which is what the public education monopoly gives us, is asinine. You need to step outside the good school/bad school paradigm. Vouchers will improve the ratio of good to bad schools, but it's a far more complicated problem than that.

Suppose we ran our grocery stores that way, and you had to eat nothing but iceburg lettuce because that is what the lettuce bureaucracy decided?

Posted by: decon on March 7, 2006 at 5:24 PM | PERMALINK

So now Dr., if a pregnant teen in South Dakota wanted to go to another state to get an abortion, would we tell her that she is just lazy and is avoiding the problem at home?

Posted by: Jay on March 7, 2006 at 5:31 PM | PERMALINK

It's not all about me and what I want. It's about giving people choices.

uh... you have choices.

* you can send them to PS as-is.
* you can send them to PS, and try to change the cirriculum in a number of ways.
* you can send them to a private school of your choice.
* you can home-school and teach them whatever you want.
* you can start your own private school and teach other people's kids what you want.

how many choices do you want? enough with the "monopoly" nonsense. any system where you have multiple options for opting-out is not a monopoly.

Posted by: cleek on March 7, 2006 at 5:31 PM | PERMALINK

Cheney, go fuck yourself.

Posted by: cleek on March 7, 2006 at 5:35 PM | PERMALINK

uh.... cleek, stay with me here. It's the money choice. Whether or not they home school or private school they can not "opt out" from paying their taxes to the PS system. If you want I can slow down next time.

Posted by: Jay on March 7, 2006 at 5:36 PM | PERMALINK

As I said: not much of a choice, and not the kind of choice we are accustomed to in the civilized world.

You may not be happy with your options, but that doesn't entitle you to deny you have a choice.

By your definition everyone has a choice.

By my definition, everyone has a choice in where they send their kids to school, yes.

Why don't we discuss relevant points, deal with reality, and dispense with the spurious arguments.

Whenever you're ready, we'll be here waiting.

Posted by: Gregory on March 7, 2006 at 5:36 PM | PERMALINK

That liberal tolerance is showing again cleek.

Posted by: Jay on March 7, 2006 at 5:37 PM | PERMALINK

Gregory -- What Orwellian phrase would you use to characterize the public education monopoly as anything other than a monopoly?

Obvious you grave difficulties distinguishing between democracies and totalitarian dictatorships. You can, in a democracy, organise with like minded others to change the cirriculum at your local schools. To hire competent and effective teacher.

However you would rather just sit on your ass and complain about it rather than doing something about it.

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on March 7, 2006 at 5:41 PM | PERMALINK

What Orwellian phrase would you use to characterize the public education monopoly as anything other than a monopoly?

I simply pointed out that your use -- and now strenous defense -- of the Rushism "monopoly" tends to undercut your claims of supporting public education.

And since you've already admitted parents have choices of public, private, and parochial schools, you've undercut your own claim of "monopoly" rather badly.

I can assure you that publicly funded education in my part of the world is provided only by the local school board.

And surprisingly enough, national defense is provided only by the US military. As it should be. So what? You still, as you acknowledged, have other choices, so there's no monopoly. I notice you skated right past the suggestions that you, you know, join the school board if you want to see your preferences (which wouldn't include teaching so-called "intelligent design," would they?) enacted. Look at the bright side -- many people have done so specifically to the Republican agenda.

Posted by: Gregory on March 7, 2006 at 5:41 PM | PERMALINK

Jay, go fuck Cheney.

Posted by: cleek on March 7, 2006 at 5:44 PM | PERMALINK

Ok. So I run for school board, and win, and get to have everything my way. That's good for me. How is it good for all the other parents, and students, and teachers, and administrators who don't like my way of doing things?

So it's utterly impossible for your needs and other people's needs to be met? Or you absolutely refuse to compromise on any issues?

Frankly its sounds like your problem might be more about misanthrope than the "public school monopoly".

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on March 7, 2006 at 5:44 PM | PERMALINK

Gregory, since I have soooo many choices, can I then elect not to fund the failing school in my area? Awesome. Thank you so much.

Posted by: Jay on March 7, 2006 at 5:45 PM | PERMALINK

Jay, the Dukes of Hazard is on it's the one where Daisy is in her bikini.Don't bore yourself with this thinking stuff.

Posted by: Neo on March 7, 2006 at 5:47 PM | PERMALINK

I stand corrected: decon does later address the school board issue:

And a one size fits all approach, which is what the public education monopoly gives us, is asinine.

But your assertion is false. As I noted, my daughter attends a magnet public school. Thus, there is not the "one size fits all" approach you claim.

Moreover, "choice" by itself is far from an absolute good. The "choice" to teach so-called Intelligent Design in science class should not be avalable, as ID is not science. The "choice" to have mandatory prayer in public school, likewise, should not be countenanced.

I'm afraid all you're succeeding at is demonstrating your enmity for, rather than support of, the public school system.

Posted by: Gregory on March 7, 2006 at 5:47 PM | PERMALINK

Where would this world be without the powerful intellect of those on the left? Where public money to help finance a better education for our children is opposed yet public money to abort the pregnancies of the teens in those public schools is accepted.

I'm sorry. Did you say something? I was just staring out the window.

Posted by: craigie on March 7, 2006 at 5:48 PM | PERMALINK

Let me put this in terms everyone might understand. The liberals feel that the public should have no choice in blindly funding public education even though it is failing miserably, in the same way they feel that African Americans should blindly support the Democratic Party even though their policies have failed miserably. See how that works.

Posted by: Jay on March 7, 2006 at 5:50 PM | PERMALINK

Whether or not they home school or private school they can not "opt out" from paying their taxes to the PS system.

Ahhhhhh, there we go! I knew it all came down to the loony libertarian aversion to taxes.

Quite right, Jay, and rightly so. A city as a whole benefits from an educated populace. Since everyone has an opportunity to benefit, even if they have no children of their own, everyone ought to pay for public education. It's called the "social contract," and it's been part of political philosophy since the 17th Century. I'm just waiting for you loony libertarians to catch up.

Posted by: Gregory on March 7, 2006 at 5:51 PM | PERMALINK

"Choice by itself is far from an absolute good" - Gregory.

Are we still talking about education? Or abortion.

Posted by: Jay on March 7, 2006 at 5:53 PM | PERMALINK

I agree gregory, everyone does benefit from an educated populace. But an educated populace is currently not the result of a public education. Unless of course you consider listening to Ludacris during social studies enlightening.

Posted by: Jay on March 7, 2006 at 5:56 PM | PERMALINK

Neo, I've seen it. She's hot.

Craggie, ADD is a bitch.

Posted by: Jay on March 7, 2006 at 5:58 PM | PERMALINK

But an educated populace is currently not the result of a public education.

So far, Jay, you're pretty much the only evidence of this assertion.

Posted by: Gregory on March 7, 2006 at 5:58 PM | PERMALINK

I would think cleek would be another fine example.

Posted by: Jay on March 7, 2006 at 6:01 PM | PERMALINK

I'm just waiting for you loony libertarians to catch up.

don't hold your breath. your talking about a philosophy that bases itself on the social instincts of three year olds. MINE!

Posted by: cleek on March 7, 2006 at 6:02 PM | PERMALINK

2nd your = you're, of course

Posted by: cleek on March 7, 2006 at 6:03 PM | PERMALINK

highest SAT scores in the county, Jay.

Posted by: cleek on March 7, 2006 at 6:04 PM | PERMALINK

Is there more than one county in Arkansas?

Posted by: Jay on March 7, 2006 at 6:05 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

I've read this blog off and on for several months,and I must admit I'm surprised to find you aligning yourself with the goosesteppers for the teacher's unions and educational-industrial complex. Why do you not trust parents to make the right choice for their kids?

Posted by: wks on March 7, 2006 at 6:08 PM | PERMALINK

Conservatives who trot out the same tired arguments against public education are usually people who have not set foot in a public school in years, if not decades. Rush Dimbulb being Exhibit A. They spew out myths that are easily debunked:

Myth #1 - Test scores in public schools are lower than private schools because the kids are dumber/lazier/more indolent (choose one or more). Wrong. Private schools can refuse to admit kids with troubled backgrounds, kids with disabilities, kids for whom English is a second language. Public schools can't. Normalize for these factors and there is no statistical differences in test scores.

Myth #2 - Public schools are wasteful and inefficient because per student costs are higher. Wrong, for many of the same reasons in Myth #1. Public schools, by law, must provide accomodations for handicapped students and ESL (English as a Second Language) students. Private schools don't. Ergo, higher costs.

Myth #3 - Public school teachers are lazy. I have a wife, a sister-in-law and a brother-in-law who work in public education and they routinely work 60-70 hours per week, often grading papers well into the night, as well as preparing lesson plans and other material on nights and weekends. I wish American executives worked as hard as public school teachers. Our corporations would be better run. Ditto for our President.

Myth #4 - Our public schools are wasteful and our tax dollars are squandered. Again, I wish a few conservatives would go into some of our public schools and spend a few hours with our teachers and administrators. They would quickly see how little waste there is and how wrong-headed budget cuts have cut into muscle, not just fat. In fact, there is no fat left. I wish our corporations ran as lean. Since businessmen are always dispensing advice for teachers, lets turn the tables and let teachers dispense some advice to our fatass executives who are so wasteful.

In short, people who criticize public education, probably don't have the slightest idea what they are talking about. Go spend a day or two in your local public school and come back to this blog. You will be very impressed with how hard-working, dedicated and loving the vast majority of our teachers are. They have to love what they are doing, to put up with assholes like the conservatives on this thread!!!

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on March 7, 2006 at 6:09 PM | PERMALINK

But an educated populace is currently not the result of a public education.
Posted by: Jay on March 7, 2006 at 5:56 PM | PERMALINK

Compared to what?
Compare the products of America's public education system with the products of say, Afghanistan. What? No public education system there? Who educates the kids? Oh yeah, Madrassas. That's nice. Afghanistan benefitted a whole lot from that, didn't they?

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on March 7, 2006 at 6:11 PM | PERMALINK

wks, Kevin is a liberal isn't he? He doesn't want the parents to know their teenagers are pregnant, or that the people of the middle east may have a choice on their own form of government or that African Americans can vote republican. There's a lot of things he doesn't want people to know.

Posted by: Jay on March 7, 2006 at 6:12 PM | PERMALINK

I guess I'm having trouble figuring out why people so opposed to having government money go to private schools to educate kids have no problem with government money going to private providers of medical care.

Aren't you worried that people using universal health care are going to pick lousy doctors if left to their own choices?

Posted by: tbrosz on March 7, 2006 at 6:20 PM | PERMALINK

Stephen:
Myth #1 - shouldn't the parents of the ESL students be required to make sure their children are able to understand English before exposing them the English curriculum and slowing down the learning process of the other students. IMHO, that's child abuse but that wouldn't be politically correct to point that out to those parents. Also, kids with learning disabilities do have their own curriculum

Myth #2 (which actually is the same as Myth #4) When administrator and secretaries to administrators, people who don;t even set a foot in the class room make six figure salaries, I would argue that there is waste. That is public money, the money executives make is private money. I know liberals have a hard time with that distinction.

Myth #3 - Teachers are hard workers, and I will bet your relatives don't make half the money the administrators make and IMHO they should make more than those administrators.

Myth #4 - see Myth #2

Posted by: Jay on March 7, 2006 at 6:24 PM | PERMALINK

Who needs an education when you have heroin?

Posted by: Jay on March 7, 2006 at 6:26 PM | PERMALINK

Are the state qualifications the same for voucher schools? Do voucher schools offer similar pay and benifits or do they attract a second tier applicant.

Posted by: Neo on March 7, 2006 at 6:27 PM | PERMALINK

The best teachers would naturally follow the money; the vouchers. Some I am sure might stay behind, but administrators of those schools would then have more urgency to improve the curriculum and teacher base to attract more students.

Posted by: Jay on March 7, 2006 at 6:31 PM | PERMALINK

Is there more than one county in Arkansas?

someone with higher than a third-grade education would know the answer.

too bad you couldn't stick it out.

Posted by: cleek on March 7, 2006 at 6:49 PM | PERMALINK

shouldn't the parents of the ESL students be required to make sure their children are able to understand English before exposing them the English curriculum and slowing down the learning process of the other students.

Yeah, in fact, we should make sure parents are responsible for teaching students everything they need to know before they get to school, that way, there will be no burden on the other students.

Whose idea was it that teaching to the capacities of the students should be the job of the schools, anyway?

(Anyone, this particular suggestion is particularly moronic since ESL students very often have non-English speaking parents, and quite often better English skills than their parents, who are, additionally, quite often poor. What are they supposed to do, wave a magic wand and give their children the ability to speak fluent English before they have contact with the education system?)

Posted by: cmdicely on March 7, 2006 at 6:50 PM | PERMALINK

So you don't give the immigrants any credit for having a brain as well. Much like the credit you give to African Americans, who couldn't possibly make it on their own without the help of the oh so caring liberal left, right?

It's amazing how people get things done on their own without that beacon of light we'll call liberalism.

Posted by: Jay on March 7, 2006 at 6:56 PM | PERMALINK

Giving Jay some undeserved attention...

Jay at 5:14 PM:

are you trying to stymie free speech

So you are admitting that your speech is worth nothing, or 'free'...At long last, one piece of honesty from the trolls on the afternoon shift.

Jay at 5:50 PM:

The liberals feel...

Really? And how do you know what all liberals feel?...Whenever I see or hear someone use this as part of a sentence, I'm pretty sure that the next part will be a gross exaggeration or an out-an-out lie (see Sean Hannity for further examples).

that the public should have no choice in blindly funding public education

Then take your whacked-out views and run for school board on a 'let's cut funding for kids' education' initiative. Should go over real well with the soccer moms...

even though it is failing miserably

In some areas, yes, in many others, no...

in the same way they feel that African Americans should blindly support the Democratic Party even though their policies have failed miserably.

Cite the source of your assertion, please.

Jay at 5:56 PM

But an educated populace is currently not the result of a public education.

Cite the source of your assertion, please. Or STFU...

Jay at 6:31 PM

The best teachers would naturally follow the money; the vouchers.

Let's see: a corporate-run charter school funded by vouchers or a properly-funded public school with a benefit and a stable retirement package...You're pretending that most teachers are as greedy as you are. Get a clue; if a teacher was in it for the money, they wouldn't be teaching.

Posted by: grape_crush on March 7, 2006 at 6:56 PM | PERMALINK

cleek, are you still here?

Posted by: Jay on March 7, 2006 at 6:57 PM | PERMALINK

I'd be more convinced by either article if they bothered to quote John Witte, you know, the UW-Madison professor who is evaluating the voucher program. Hell, they could have talked with his project assistants and that'd be fine with me. Highly targeted voucher programs work quite well for students whose parents have the time, energy, and motivation to ensure that their children get into the best private schools. Fundamentally, those are the only kids that will take advantage of the program. Unfortunately for voucher fans, those are the kids who are likely to be most successful in public schools as well.

Posted by: Brendon on March 7, 2006 at 6:58 PM | PERMALINK

The source for my assertions would be your mirror grape. I think you might also be able to point to the entire city of New Orleans as a source.

"A properly funded public school system" - grape_crush. But grape, your previous assertions are that the school systems are woefully underfunded by the Bush administration. Are you lying? Do liberals lie?

Posted by: Jay on March 7, 2006 at 7:03 PM | PERMALINK

Jay,

That is public money, the money executives make is private money.

Like the money Haliburton is "earning"? Hmmm...doesn't seem so black and white to me.

Posted by: Edo on March 7, 2006 at 7:06 PM | PERMALINK

I guess I'm having trouble figuring out why people so opposed to having government money go to private schools to educate kids have no problem with government money going to private providers of medical care.

Cute. Could it be because the real purpose of channeling public money to private schools is:
A) to subsidize religious education, and
B) to destroy the very concept of public school (because "public bad, private good"), and
C) get rid of some pesky unions?

Posted by: craigie on March 7, 2006 at 7:07 PM | PERMALINK

Is there more than one county in Arkansas?

Well, it looks like we know who the real elitist is!

Posted by: Dr Sanity on March 7, 2006 at 7:11 PM | PERMALINK

That's it craggie, they're trying to force religion down their pliable little throats. You're on to them, damn you have to get up pretty early in the morning to pull one over on these mental giants.

Posted by: Jay on March 7, 2006 at 7:13 PM | PERMALINK

Did exclab learn to spell in a public or private school?

Posted by: Cal Gal on March 7, 2006 at 7:23 PM | PERMALINK

I guess I'm having trouble figuring out why people so opposed to having government money go to private schools to educate kids have no problem with government money going to private providers of medical care.

Substitute "religious" for "private" and your little straw man just collapses, doesn't it, tbrosz? You're phoning even your dishonesty today...

Posted by: Gregory on March 7, 2006 at 7:38 PM | PERMALINK

I've read this blog off and on for several months,and I must admit I'm surprised to find you aligning yourself with the goosesteppers for the teacher's unions and educational-industrial complex.

Since apparrently you can do nothing but spew bullshit Rushisms, it isn't surprising you've kept your silence. It's just a pity you've broken such a lovely precedent now.

Why do you not trust parents to make the right choice for their kids?

As has been established time and again, parents have plenty of choice. What they don't have is a right for the government to pay for each of their choices. Sorry, righties, I think you've worn your "choice" talking point a bit thin.

Posted by: Gregory on March 7, 2006 at 7:44 PM | PERMALINK

Jay at 7:03 PM:

The source for my assertions would be your mirror grape.

That makes no sense whatsoever. I shouldn't have expected otherwise...So you are saying that you have nothing. Thought so; Jay substantiating one of his nutjob claims would be so out of character...

I think you might also be able to point to the entire city of New Orleans as a source.

The disasterous Federal response to hurricane Katrina happened on whose watch, Jay?

But grape, your previous assertions are that the school systems are woefully underfunded by the Bush administration.

Still hold true...NCLB mandated standards for public school and didn't come through with the promised funding. That's not an assertion; that's a fact. What's more, my prior statement doesn't seem to contradict what I've said here. Either you are making shit up (again), or they are triple-overtiming the trolls at the blogtroll center.

Are you lying? Do liberals lie?

Figures that you can't tell the difference between reality and a fiction...you've been doing it long enough around here that you can't distinguish between the two...

Posted by: grape_crush on March 7, 2006 at 7:53 PM | PERMALINK

I am not surprised that all of that went right over your head grape. Carry on.

Posted by: Jay on March 7, 2006 at 7:57 PM | PERMALINK

gregory, as I stated before, here is a way that you could embrace vouchers. Just think of all of these school kids as pregnant South Dakota teens who now must go to another state to "improve" their lives. See how easy that is to embrace choice.

Posted by: Jay on March 7, 2006 at 8:04 PM | PERMALINK

Typical Jay - can't handle the topic at hand and has to throw in some bullshit red herring about abortion.

Get to bed little man - Rush will leave a whole new bag of talking points under your pillow for you to play with in the morning.

Posted by: Dr Sanity on March 7, 2006 at 9:11 PM | PERMALINK

I would actually be interested in discussing this with tbrosz, because I can see how, in principle, there is no reason for teachers to be government employees.

In practice, however, we end up back where we are now, or at least that's how I see it.

Discussions with Jay, not so interesting.

Posted by: craigie on March 7, 2006 at 9:16 PM | PERMALINK

Jay on March 7, 2006 at 7:57 PM:

I am not surprised that all of that went right over your head grape. Carry on.

That's a very weak riposte you came up with...Can't you get some of your dorm room buddies to help you out? Or don't they want to hang around you either?

Jay, it's like you are acting out some fucked-up Monty Python skit...'Dead Parrot Redux'...

Original Dead Parrot skit: "It's not dead, it's sleeping!"

Shorter Jay skit Redux: "I'm not an idiot, it's just that no one can tell if I make any sense!"

Shorter-shorter Jay: "I have nothing substantive to say."

Shortest Jay: (finger knuckle-deep in nose, drooling from mouth) "Huhnuuh"...

Posted by: grape_crush on March 7, 2006 at 9:17 PM | PERMALINK

gregory, as I stated before, here is a way that you could embrace vouchers.

A lie repeated is still a lie.

Or a GOP talking point, take your pick.

Posted by: Gregory on March 7, 2006 at 9:25 PM | PERMALINK

Gregory:

Substitute "religious" for "private" and your little straw man just collapses, doesn't it, tbrosz? You're phoning even your dishonesty today...

Medical facilities and hospitals owned by religious organizations pull down close to $50 billion in Medicare and other government medical funds. Now what?

***

craigie:

I would actually be interested in discussing this with tbrosz, because I can see how, in principle, there is no reason for teachers to be government employees.

In theory, given the premise that education should be publicly funded, there's no reason a completely private school system paid for by vouchers or a "Medicare" style payment plan wouldn't work.

Private practitioners, public funding. What's the problem? People pushing universal health care keep reassuring me that it wouldn't mean all the doctors become employees of the state.

And yeah, that would tend to break the hammerlock of the unions on the education system. But isn't that what the opposition to vouchers is really all about in the first place?

Posted by: tbrosz on March 7, 2006 at 9:52 PM | PERMALINK

Medical facilities and hospitals owned by religious organizations pull down close to $50 billion in Medicare and other government medical funds. Now what?

Sure, because medical treatment is areligious -- the government is subsidizing the treatment, not the religion.

Subsidizing the teaching of religion in parochial or religious schools is quite another thing, hm?

You're really phoning it in today, tbrosz.

Posted by: Gregory on March 7, 2006 at 10:15 PM | PERMALINK

your examples are telling, tbrosz. let's send 'em right back at ya: how can "conservatives" support a publically-funded voucher system for public schools but not for health care ?

personally, i'm oppsed to the former because there is currently no private equivalent to the public school system to pick up the slack if we were, hypothetically, to do away with the public school system. there just aren't that many private schools around to pick up the slack, and it would take decades to build them.

on the other hand, there is a huge, well-established system in place that wouldn't much care (except for the insurance companies, which would become superfluous - BFD) if we moved to a publically-funded but privately-delivered system - doctors don't care who pays them, and we have plenty of them - nearly the right amount, in fact.

care to defend the flip side ?

Posted by: cleek on March 7, 2006 at 10:22 PM | PERMALINK

Most of the education at parochial schools is non-religious, too, come to that.

Face it, this is less about high-minded separation of church and state than it is about fear of competition from schools that have consistently outperformed public schools for less money.

Interestingly, countries like France, Canada, and Australia all have some public money flowing to parochial schools.

I'm phoning it in (literally, on DSL). What's your excuse?

Posted by: tbrosz on March 7, 2006 at 10:31 PM | PERMALINK

Face it, this is less about high-minded separation of church and state than it is about fear of competition from schools that have consistently outperformed public schools for less money.

Oh come on, don't be lazy.

Right, here we go:

First, I don't understand how vouchers actually accomplish anything. Let's say that public school costs parents zero dollars per year (which, btw, it doesn't). Let's say that private school costs $1000/year.

Ok, so now the government issues vouchers worth $500 at the school of your choice.

First problem: what prevents all the private schools from simply raising their tuition to $1500? After all, if I could afford $1000 yesterday, then today, with my shiny voucher, I can afford $1500.

Meanwhile, the poor inner-city parent (the one conservatives claim to care so so much about) still can't send her kid to a private school, because even if they don't raise the tuition, she hasn't got the extra $500.

So all the same people go to all the same schools, but the schools just got some free taxpayer money. What am I missing?

Problem number two: this choice business. The idea seems to be that schools are like auto body shops, or dry cleaners, or something, so that "competition" will make the teachers teach harder or the principals principal more or some such. This strikes me as total bullshit. There is no secret, private sector formula for educating kids. You pick a curriculum, and you stay focused on it, you answer the questions they ask. And you get the parents involved. That's the number one predictor of success.

The idea that some private schools are going to "innovate" just doesn't add up. If that were true, the public schools would be already be doing much, much worse than private ones, and they aren't. Just last month came a study (no link, sorry) showing that public schools were actually doing a better job on math scores.

So I don't buy this "magic of the marketplace" theory for education. As I said way upthread, kids are not sausages, and schools are not factories.

Phew.

Posted by: craigie on March 7, 2006 at 10:52 PM | PERMALINK

cleek:

Your point is well-taken, which is why I say "given the premise that education should be publicly funded." The inconsistency is on your side, I think.

The parallel between medical care and schooling is not perfect (Kevin pointed out in a letter that the two are starting from quite different points--nobody has to have an employer to go to school), but I think we can see that there should be no real difference in basic principle if you accept the idea that it's the government's job to pay for both.

The problem of vouchers and parochial schools has another sort of parallel in health care, too. When the government is paying the bills, what about non-conventional health care? Acupuncture? Homeopathic medicine? Dozens of different medical methods from dozens of different cultures?

People who oppose vouchers are always saying that parents might end up sending their kids to "witch school" or something. So with medical "vouchers," who gets to decide who's a "quack" and who isn't?

Posted by: tbrosz on March 7, 2006 at 10:54 PM | PERMALINK

And yeah, that would tend to break the hammerlock of the unions on the education system. But isn't that what the opposition to vouchers is really all about in the first place?

For ideologues, maybe. But what this straw man misses is that a lot of people - most, I will venture to say - like public school. They like the idea of it. They want it to work.

It's conservatives - and a certain extremist kind, at that - who constantly attack it, and claim a high-minded interest in the plight of inner-city kids as a motive for doing so. Funny how that motive doesn't extend to any other policy choices from conservoworld.

Posted by: craigie on March 7, 2006 at 11:19 PM | PERMALINK

craigie:

But what this straw man misses is that a lot of people - most, I will venture to say - like public school. They like the idea of it. They want it to work.

If that's true, then you have absolutely nothing to fear from competition, do you?

Posted by: tbrosz on March 7, 2006 at 11:31 PM | PERMALINK

tbrosz: Most of the education at parochial schools is non-religious, too, come to that.

Yeah; it's the part that isn't that's the sticking point.

Face it, this is less about high-minded separation of church and state than it is about fear of competition from schools that have consistently outperformed public schools for less money.

Given the lack of, you know, actual data that "schools ... have consistently outperformed public schools for less money" (which is, of course, what all this is about), your statement is, as usual, false.

People who oppose vouchers are always saying that parents might end up sending their kids to "witch school" or something.

Really? Who says that?

If that's true, then you have absolutely nothing to fear from competition, do you?

Competition is one thing; public schools already compete with private and parochial schools. Having public school funding diverted to private or parochial schools is another matter entirely.

Which you know, of course, tbrosz. You're just dishonest enough to pretend you don't. All I wonder if if you think you're actually impressing anybody with your bullshit.

Posted by: Gregory on March 7, 2006 at 11:40 PM | PERMALINK

If that's true, then you have absolutely nothing to fear from competition, do you?

You are being deliberately obtuse, and it's annoying. I can get this kind of smug misdirection from Cheney.

Plus, you haven't answered my actual, genuine, serious points. That's ok. Take your time...

Posted by: craigie on March 7, 2006 at 11:44 PM | PERMALINK

I honestly don't know what to think about vouchers.

It's true that at the most simplistic level -- the one tbrosz operates on -- "choice" is a good thing, at least in the abstract.

Of course his arguments are specious as usual, and the article he linked to made me never, ever want to support vouchers with its descriptions of bizarre little schools with few students and no real curriculum or accountability.

But I am a huge fan of home schooling, and as someone who entertains minority views and attitudes it isn't inconceivable that I would want to send my children to, say, the Charter School for Windhorses.

The larger questions revolve around our philosophy of education as a nation and how important we see education to national security, economic productivity, innovation, and other issues. Sure, public schools aren't performing that well, but if we cripple them by sending their tax dollars to fund a funky forest of eccentric, pseudo-educational institutions like those described in the linked article -- won't that have a negative effect on the country more deleterious than the poor math scores that are at least grounded in some kind of standard curriculum?

If some charter schools don't teach hard sciences or teach them poorly, don't teach evolution in favor of religion, eschew critical thinking in favor of religious or political ideology -- wouldn't that create a worse situation than we have now?

I just don't know.

Using tbroszian logic, I should just decide the military is not performing up to my standards and send my tax dollars to a charter militia instead. I mean, c'mon -- what does the military have to fear from a little competition?

It seems likely to me that flowing money from public to charter schools might benefit a few individuals here and there at the expense of the nation as a whole -- which makes the issue perfectly consistent with Republican/neocon philosophy.

Posted by: Windhorse on March 8, 2006 at 12:18 AM | PERMALINK

tbrosz on March 7, 2006 at 11:31 PM:

If that's true, then you have absolutely nothing to fear from competition, do you?

"Excuse me, Mrs. Voter? My name is tbrosz, and I'd like to test out my Free Market theories on your child's education"...

Yup...Run with that, Tom...Should go over real well...

Posted by: grape_crush on March 8, 2006 at 12:20 AM | PERMALINK

craigie:

As yet, I have seen no evidence that private school tuitions have gone up proportionately in areas where vouchers are available.

Of course there is competition in schools when parents have a choice. How could there not be?

Parents will have their own criteria, and their own reasons for preferring one school over another. Sometimes it's grades. Sometimes it's something that doesn't always show up in test results, like a non-violent environment.

You won't get innovation in a highly-centralized system. Worse, you might get whatever brain fart the "educators" might impose on the schools. Whatever tomorrow's "New Math" is.

If competition isn't permitted inside the system, then at some point the market will route around it. As one example, home schooling is up by quite a bit in the past few years, and computers and the internet have pushed it even further. Someone has tried to sell me a complete set of education texts in a box of CDs. Couldn't do that twenty years ago. When it was made illegal to compete with the Post Office, who expected e-mail?

This would all be much less of an issue if schools were run locally. "One size fits all" is not a good approach to anything.

I have been making some comparisons between government-funded private medical care, and a possible government-funded private school system, but I hope I'm clear in that I believe that even vouchers and such should be a local solution, not a Federal one.

Posted by: tbrosz on March 8, 2006 at 12:28 AM | PERMALINK

Sure, public schools aren't performing that well,

I'm sorry, but this is internalized right-wing bullshit.

Some public schools have students who aren't testing well. Some public schools are dumping grounds for the children of low-wage or no-wage immigrants who don't speak English. That is not the same thing as saying public schools suck.

Posted by: craigie on March 8, 2006 at 12:28 AM | PERMALINK

Windhorse:

If you think there's no competition for Federal money in the military, you haven't been involved in the contracting end.

I've seen rabid libertarians who think police, the courts, and the military could be private and competitive. They kind of lose me there. I've seen places where they have many competing private militaries. No thanks. Even Ayn Rand thought government should be the ones who do that.

That homeschooling is increasing is somewhat amazing, considering that homeschoolers don't get any break from paying taxes for the public schools. They aren't all the stereotype redneck troglodytes some people think they are, either. Around here, many are well-off Asians.

***

grape_crush:

"Excuse me, Mrs. Voter? My name is tbrosz, and I'd like to test out my Free Market theories on your child's education"...

Not really how it works. You don't try out "free market theories" on people. All you do is stand back and let Mrs. Voter try out her own theories without interference.

Posted by: tbrosz on March 8, 2006 at 12:38 AM | PERMALINK

I'm sorry, but this is internalized right-wing bullshit.

Craigie, I was thinking of comparative test scores among industrialized countries when I wrote that, and by no means do I think public schools suck.

Anecdotally, I went to one of the "better" high schools in my state at the time, and a common observation now among its graduates is that it left us unprepared for college. What I hear now from friends who are parents and teachers is that school curriculums have improved a great deal since then.

My sense of public school performance may be way off, I'll admit that -- but don't you dare suggest it's because I've internalized any right-wing drivel.

Posted by: Windhorse on March 8, 2006 at 12:59 AM | PERMALINK

tbrosz on March 8, 2006 at 12:38 AM:

You don't try out "free market theories" on people.

Oh, I am so bookmarking that one! Any bets on how long until tbrosz invalidates his own statement?

All you do is stand back and let Mrs. Voter try out her own theories without interference.

Which is, in effect, trying out a free market theory on Mrs. Voter's kids...Put the power in the hands of the individual! Survival of the fittest!

More Ayn Rand nonsense. I thought people eventually grew out of her bullshit.

Posted by: grape_crush on March 8, 2006 at 1:24 AM | PERMALINK

By the way, the voucher thing would be much more interesting to me if the private schools weren't allowed to turn away students. It's much easier to show "performance" when you cream off the kids who already want to learn.

Likewise, the public schools are always going to be dragged down by the fact that they can't just toss out the kids who don't seem interested or who disrupt everyone else.

Posted by: craigie on March 8, 2006 at 1:30 AM | PERMALINK

Is there more than one county in Arkansas?

I think people don't realize that the University of Arkansas has one of, if not the, best elementary education programs in the country. I grew up in Arkansas and have since attended a public university in Texas and another in Wisconsin. It is my experience that my classmates in high school were much better prepared for higher education than kids from other states. I'm also from Fayetteville, so most of my classmates and I are children of professors.

Didn't Arkansas public education produce an extremely popular president and some of the most notable senators in this nations history? More importantly, didn't Arkansas produce Maya Angelou and Johnny Cash?

Posted by: Brendon on March 8, 2006 at 2:00 AM | PERMALINK

Well, someone may have made this point already, but I don't want to read every post, so I just wanted to say that I thought the John Stossel piece on European schools, and how they allow kids to go wherever they want, was interesting. Apparently the schools have to compete for students, making the schools better. Now, I was a public school student and thought they were fine, and I'm a big supporter. That said, there are some really, really crappy public schools, and if my kids were in one of those I'd do whatever necessary to get them out, including pushing the government to pay for my kids to go somewhere else. Even in the really good schools, like my kids currently attend, there are some really bad teachers that need firing.

Posted by: GeorgiaHoo on March 8, 2006 at 8:52 AM | PERMALINK

What Kriz said.

Public schoold are now in the fiscal vise of being forced to spend $8 for 'special needs' students to every $1 for everyone else. Very bright kids get srcewed even more comprehensively.

Private schools just refuse to admit disabled kids altogether.

Private schools also have a huge vested interest in not giving out failing grades. Ever. It pisses off the wealthy base whose children are 'all above average'.

It's why grade inflation is so pervasive at every level of private education.

Posted by: CFShep on March 8, 2006 at 8:56 AM | PERMALINK

srcewed

er...screwed

Was in Home Depot several years ago when this came over the PA: "Customer needs assistance in the Screw Aisle." For some reason it cracked everone up.

Posted by: CFShep on March 8, 2006 at 9:50 AM | PERMALINK

What I liked about Greg Anrig's piece what how nicely he laid out the SOP of our own little band of trollies:

1)Omit inconvenient facts.
2)Ignore the best available evidence.
3)Cite flawed studies.
4)Dont forget the red herring.
5)Quote a fellow spinmeister.
6)Rely on anecdotes.

Of course, since Mr. Tierney continues, most inexplicably in my opinion, to publish in the Op/Ed at NYTimes, his recourse to vitriolic ad hominem attacks is probably pretty severely limited by the paper's legal department.

One wishes our trolls had to operate under the same strictures.

Posted by: CFShep on March 8, 2006 at 10:28 AM | PERMALINK

The democrats are pro-choice only in matters that pander to their base. That said, the NEA is a huge contributor and large part of the democratic base. They will never jeopardize that no matter how many kids are adversely effected.

"Private schools have a huge vested interest in not giving out failing grades" - CFShep You are so full of bayou post-Katrina pretentious shit it's laughable.

Posted by: Jay on March 8, 2006 at 10:28 AM | PERMALINK

Jay: It was Rita over here.

Invest in a map. Perhaps cheney will instruct you as to which end is up. Or not.


Posted by: CFShep on March 8, 2006 at 11:11 AM | PERMALINK

but I think we can see that there should be no real difference in basic principle

principle is useless when it doesn't fit reality. and the reality is that there is currently a public school structure and a private health care structure. no amount of politicing is going to produce their counterparts by fiat. so trying to pin inconsistency on anyone for failing to support an principle that can never become reality might be fun, but it's meaningless. the only principles that really matter are those that can affect reality.

Posted by: cleek on March 8, 2006 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

To the extent that education is a public good and should be supported with public money, it needs to be accountable to public standards, and held to serving the public purpose of the program, including the goal of universality of education, public standards of performance, non-discrimination, and adaptability to the needs of students with special needs, etc.

If some parents want an education for their child that is outside of those parameters, it doesn't seem necessary to the public purpose of education to allow them to opt out and pay, at their own expense, for a private education. But without accountability to the public purpose, there is no justification for public funding.

That being said, it is not inconceivable that private contractors accountable to the public purpose for which public funds would be expended might have a role in elementary and secondary education; nevertheless, few "voucher" proposals feature that accountability, they are instead simply diversion of public funds to private purpose without accountability, and often structured in a way as to make them most likely to disproportionally go to those who are already most well-off, due to the fact that they neither require receiving schools to provide universal access, or to accept vouchers as payment-in-full, meaning they will mostly go to those students most able to to get into competitive private schools, and most able to pay, on their own -- traits with have a strong positive correlation with wealth.

Posted by: cmdicely on March 8, 2006 at 11:57 AM | PERMALINK

The possibility of a effective, fair, dynamic, and exceptional educational system being built around the concept of public education vouchers is both realistic & enticing.

The only primary objections come in two forms. 1. From the excessively powerful and self interested teachers unions. 2. From the radically mindset of the left, that must always make the perfect(ly uniform & equal) the enemy of the good.

Outside these two factors, one is only left with (considerable) practical problems of design and application that can be more than adequately addresses on the State & local level through normal democratic means. (If not for the stalwart opposition of 1 &2 above)

Posted by: Fitz on March 8, 2006 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

The possibility of a effective, fair, dynamic, and exceptional educational system being built around the concept of public education vouchers is both realistic & enticing.

The only primary objections come in two forms. 1. From the excessively powerful and self interested teachers unions. 2. From the radically mindset of the left, that must always make the perfect(ly uniform & equal) the enemy of the good.

Since so many of the straw man assertions of your second paragraph are false -- and, I might add, you quite dishonestly omitted very real and legitimate First Amendment concerns -- one is left with no other option but to question the validity of the assertions in your first paragraph.

Posted by: Gregory on March 8, 2006 at 1:10 PM | PERMALINK
Since so many of the straw man assertions of your second paragraph are false -- and, I might add, you quite dishonestly omitted very real and legitimate First Amendment concerns

First Amendment concerns aren't really, in theory, a problem with vouchers that can be used at private schools, they just sharply limit the kind of private schools that vouchers can Constitutionally be used at. Though they are, perhaps, more rare, non-religious private schools do exist.

Posted by: cmdicely on March 8, 2006 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

The model would be government backed loans for private higher education (no first amendment problems)

The voucher itself acts as a switch, with the parents choice of the school negating any government endorsement.
(the supreme already ruled as much several years back in Milwaukee & Cleveland cases)

(the rulings themselves are here)

http://www.schoolchoices.org/roo/wisc1.htm#REVIEW

(and news article relating to one is here)

http://archives.cnn.com/2002/LAW/06/27/scotus.school.vouchers/index.html

Are the validity of my assertions back to snuff?

Posted by: Fitz on March 8, 2006 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

Though they are, perhaps, more rare, non-religious private schools do exist.

Of course, cmdicely, but voucher programs or proposals often do include religious schools, and so the First Amendment concern is a legitimate, if not an inherent and unavoidable, facet of the voucher debate that does not fit in with either of the two "primary objections" that Fitz identified. I strongly doubt the oversight was an honest mistake.

Posted by: Gregory on March 8, 2006 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK


Greg
If "honest mistake" means "not currently, even remotely a legal hurdle to implementation, so why bring it up?"

Then, Yes - it was an honest mistake.

Posted by: Fitz on March 8, 2006 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK

RE vouchers:

1) All existing and all proposed voucher programs provide for vouchers in amounts less than the per pupil costs of the public school system. Mathematically, that means that the amount of money left in the public system for each remaining student GOES UP. Put another way, vouchers result in higher per pupil expenditures in public school systems. (If you can't follow this math, you shouldn't be participating in this debate.)

2) This means that all the complaints about how vouchers are depriving public schools sytems of needed resources are FALSE. The most important financial measure for any school is per student expenditures. If the funds available for each student go up, then that's it, there's nothing left to debate.

3) Why then the great opposition to vouchers? Because while the effect on per pupil expenditures is positive and beneficial, overall public school expenditures go down, which means fewer union jobs for union teachers. The entire debate, stripped of all the BS, boils down to the efforts of the teachers unions to preserve their unionized jobs. While the unions surely have the right to fight for their members, it's folly for the rest of us to buy their spin that they are acting in the public interest.

Posted by: DBL on March 8, 2006 at 11:21 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely-There is no constitutional prohibition on giving parents vouchers that they can use at parochial schools, or if there were such a constitutional issue, we'd have to get rid of the GI Bill and other forms of financial aid that can be used at religious colleges. There is no principled basis for distinguishing vouchers for primary/secondary schooling and vouchers for higher education. That's not to say that clever lawyers can't fabricate some distinction, just that it wouldn't be principled in any meaningful sense.

Posted by: DBL on March 8, 2006 at 11:33 PM | PERMALINK

>>>Applauding cmdicely. Again.

"But without accountability to the public purpose, there is no justification for public funding."

Absolutely.

Posted by: CFShep on March 9, 2006 at 8:04 AM | PERMALINK

It is interesting to see how quickly the defenders of the status quo public education monopoly resort to name calling. For what it's worth I'm a very liberal minded TEACHER. In the last 15 years I've taught students at an average public high school, junior college, and elite private university.

I would like to leave those who support the status quo and oppose vouchers with one question: how many of your state's public schools would you be DELIGHTED to have your child attend? And if it's a paltry number, what are you doing about it?

Posted by: decon on March 9, 2006 at 10:01 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM



buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly