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The Education Blob ^ | July 4, 2012 | John Stossel

Posted on 07/04/2012 5:17:11 AM PDT by Kaslin

Since progressives want government to run health care, let's look at what government management did to K-12 education. While most every other service in life has gotten better and cheaper, American education remains stagnant.

Spending has tripled! Why no improvement? Because K-12 education is a virtual government monopoly -- and monopolies don't improve.

In every other sector of the economy, market competition forces providers to improve constantly. It's why most things get better -- often cheaper, too (except when government interferes, as in health care).

Politicians claim that education and health care are different -- too important to leave to market competition. Patients and parents aren't real consumers because they don't have the expertise to know which hospital or school is best. That's why they must be centrally planned by government "experts."

Those experts have been in charge for years. School reformers call them the "Blob." Jeanne Allen of the Center for Education Reform says that attempts to improve the government monopoly have run "smack into federations, alliances, departments, councils, boards, commissions, panels, herds, flocks and convoys that make up the education industrial complex, or the Blob. Taken individually, they were frustrating enough, each with its own bureaucracy, but taken as a whole they were (and are) maddening in their resistance to change. Not really a wall -- they always talk about change -- but more like quicksand, or a tar pit where ideas slowly sink."

The Blob claims teachers are underpaid. But today American teachers average more than $50,000 a year. Teachers' hourly wages exceed what most architects, accountants and nurses make.

The Blob constantly demands more money, but tripling spending and vastly increasing the ratio of staff to student have brought no improvement. When the Blob is in control, waste and indifference live on and on.

The Blob claims that public education is "the great equalizer." Rich and poor and different races mix and learn together. It's a beautiful concept. But it is a lie. Rich parents buy homes in neighborhoods with better schools.

As a result, public -- I mean, government -- schools are now more racially segregated than private schools. One survey found that public schools were significantly more likely to be almost entirely white or entirely minority. Another found that at private schools, students of different races were more likely to sit together.

The Blob's most powerful argument is that poor people need government-run schools. How could poor people possibly afford tuition?

Well, consider some truly destitute places. James Tooley spends most of his time in the poorest parts of Africa, India and China. Those countries copied America's "free public education," and Tooley wanted to see how that's worked out. What he learned is that in India and China, where kids outperform American kids on tests, it's not because they attend the government's free schools. Government schools are horrible. So even in the worst slums, parents try to send their kids to private, for-profit schools.

How can the world's poorest people afford tuition? And why would they pay for what their governments offer for free?

Tooley says parents with meager resources still sacrifice to send their kids to private schools because the private owner does something that's virtually impossible in government schools: replace teachers who do not teach. Government teachers in India and Africa have jobs for life, just like American teachers. Many sleep on the job. Some don't even show up for work.

As a result, says Tooley, "the majority of (poor) schoolchildren are in private school." Even small villages have as many as six private schools, "and these schools outperform government schools at a fraction of the teacher cost."

As in America, government officials in those countries scoff at private schools and parents who choose them. A woman who runs government schools in Nigeria calls such parents "ignoramuses." They aren't -- and thanks to competition, their children won't be, either.

Low-income Americans are far richer than the poor people of China, India and Africa. So if competitive private education can work in Beijing, Calcutta and Nairobi, it can work in the United States.

We just need to get around the Blob.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial
KEYWORDS: education; indoctrination; johnstossel; progressives

1 posted on 07/04/2012 5:17:16 AM PDT by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

I used to hear that the most segregated place in the country was in church on Sunday morning but for me it’s the most diverse. The church I attend in the middle of an upper middle class county, has probably 10% minorities of one sort or another. There are people of every age and social level. I don’t know how except that the pastor is a wonderful steward. He considers that to be one of his main obligations. It shows in how the place is run. There is no “Hispanic outreach” but the people come. There is no affirmative action but the people come. There is no big proselytizing about inner city whatevers but the people come. Word of mouth and Fr. Rick (actually he prefers his last name but I’m keeping him somewhat anonymous.)

2 posted on 07/04/2012 5:26:18 AM PDT by Mercat (Necessity is the argument of tyrants. John Milton)
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To: Kaslin

“How can the world’s poorest people afford tuition? And why would they pay for what their governments offer for free?”

In this country most parents have higher priorities than downsizing to pay for junior’s education, or home schooling. The priorities include the Lexus, 4 bedroom house with finished basement (for 3 people, maybe 4, at most), the HUGE plasma, and often a boat.

The idea of living in an apartment to these parents is worse than living in Inner Mongolia - think of how embarrassed their kids will be in school, when all of the other parents have houses (needless to say, it doesn’t matter to the kids, it only matters to parents comparing lifestyles while they sniff each other).

So the temptation of “free education” is one that cannot be resisted by most parents, since it allows them to keep up with the Jones’s and that’s what REALLY MATTERS in life.

3 posted on 07/04/2012 6:01:32 AM PDT by BobL
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To: Kaslin
And why would they pay for what their governments offer for free?

It ain't for "free." Most everyone pays school taxes in one form or another. And pays them even if they don't have school age children or send their children to a private school.

How many folks are out there paying school taxes and even their grandchildren have since graduated from school?

4 posted on 07/04/2012 6:20:11 AM PDT by CPOSharky (zero slogan: Expect less, pay more. (apologies to Target))
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To: Kaslin
I suppose that Stossel is constrained by a word limit on his essay but he neglects to point out the fundamental rot of government owned and run socialist-entitlment schools:

—All schools must choose a religious worldview. That worldview will be either godless or God-centered and neither is religiously, politically, or culturally neutral. ( This can not be fixed.)

—The children who attend a government school must think and reason in conformity with the religious worldview. Today, they must think and reason godlessly just to cooperate in the classroom. ( This can not be fixed.)

—Government owned and run schools are a socialist-entitlement. Children who attend these schools risk learning to be comfortable with socialism. Any voting mob powerful enough to give a child tuition-free school is powerful enough to give him **lots** of free stuff. ( This can not be fixed.)

—All but a few government owned and run schools in this nation resemble prisons and treat children like prisoners. Every First Amendment Right of the child is trashed. Speech, press, assembly, expression of religion is suppressed and the government establishes its religious worldview which is currently godless. If and when tyranny comes to the U.S.A. the oligarchy will not use cattle cars to ship the citizens off to the interment camps. They will use big yellow school buses and the sheeple will compliantly board them just as they have been trained to do.

— Children(whose only crime was being born), who are treated like state prisoners, risk learning to be comfortable with government compulsion.

— Studies show that,even when a child is raised in a **strongly** active and believing evangelical home, 85% of these children will **NOT** be active in their faith 2 years after graduating from a godless, socialist-entitlement, government K-12 school. In contrast, 95% of homeschoolers **WILL** be active in their faith.

Personally,.....Government schooling is so evil for the child and such a threat to our continuing freedom, that I will not have a government teacher for a friend. They are either too evil, too stupid, or too much of a Useful Idiot to be a friend.

5 posted on 07/04/2012 6:23:54 AM PDT by wintertime
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To: CPOSharky
Most everyone pays school taxes in one form or another.

**Everyone** pays godless school taxes. Why?

ALL businesses that own property pay property taxes that support the godless schools. Those taxes are passed on to the customer in the form of higher prices.

Every good and service consumed by a citizen contains school taxes. There is no escaping supporting the godlessness preached in our religiously NON-neutral government owned and run socialist-entitlment schools.

6 posted on 07/04/2012 6:33:42 AM PDT by wintertime
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To: BobL

When you drive down the Interstate, please, notice the late model cars, trucks, vans, and RVs. Please notice the Mc Mansions on the environmentally fragile hill.

If they can afford an expensive car or home, they can afford to pay tuition for their children's education. Instead, like the socialist vampires that they are they suck the life blood of their neighbors.

7 posted on 07/04/2012 6:44:04 AM PDT by wintertime
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To: Kaslin

In the private school where I taught, I counted 15 different ethnicities in 30 seconds, including Turks and Armenians. Everyone in school lived together in harmony. BTW it is a Christian school, with strong emphasis on the gospel that breaks down social barriers.

8 posted on 07/04/2012 6:51:54 AM PDT by Chaguito
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To: Chaguito
15 different ethnicities in 30 seconds

Sounds like my church. These things are not disruptive to the functioning of an institution unless someone has an interest in creating a problem.

9 posted on 07/04/2012 2:29:49 PM PDT by Tax-chick ("The Lord will rescue me from every evil threat and bring me safe to His heavenly kingdom.")
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