Hey! Randy

Archive for the ‘government schools’ Category

Don’t like government schools? Too bad

Posted by heyrandy on February 9, 2008

Does your local government run (“public”) school not meet you approval? No? You can go down to the school office and complain. They will give you a tax refund because their service is so bad, and you are so dissatisfied. You know, just like so many other businesses do when confronted with irate customers. You can even take your business elsewhere; there are so many choices.

Ok, time to get real. It is generally agreed that what is misnamed public education is really doing a bad job. But what kind of bad job? Kids who can’t read, can’t spell, or can’t add kind of bad job. I have forgotten how close to the bottom in worldwide rating the US schools are ranked. It doesn’t matter. All that matters to most parents and students is the school they are stuck with. If they don’t like the school they are forced to use, too bad for them.

There is no incentive for schools to change. Ask not “Why don’t they change?” Ask instead “What happens if they don’t change?” Answer: they get more money from the taxpayers. What politician is willing to cut funding from the schools because the schools are doing a poor job? Politicians are not only loathe to cut school funding, they positively trumpet the increases that they get for the schools in their districts. You don’t get reelected by opposing the schools. School change? “Sure, we just need more money to do a better job. Just look at the improvements we made the last time we got more money”, say the schools. Well actually, the schools never say they have justified the increases they received by pointing out improvements in student performance; there is usually little improvement, but there is always more money given to them.

Public school are a government protected monopoly. As with all other monopolies, the quality is poor and the price is high. What is the expendure per student in your district? About what it costs to send someone to a private college? When has the cost gone anywhere but up?

The ever increasing costs of operating the government schools has a hidden benefit for those schools:  it reduces competition.  The tax burden placed on the average family to support government schools goes along way to prevent families from being able to afford an alternative education for their children.  It is hard to pay both taxes to the schools and tuition at a non-government school.
It will be difficult to raise the quality in public schools. Even if there is genuine motivation to do so, the system has been in failure mode for so long that now the leaders of the system are the products of the system: the teachers have been dumbed down.

But why don’t parents want change? Because behind all the noise made about improvement, the fact is that the schools are just about what the average parent wants. They too are products of the system. The system does not encourage dissident thinking. Budget cutting is dissident thinking of the worst sort. A local school budget meeting erupted into actual violence when the idea was broached that extracurricular sports programs be cut back (not eliminated). It shows some of what the reformers face when such a modest proposal is violently suppressed.  Johnny can’t read so well, but just look at his hook shot!

In my own districts both people running for the two open seats on the local school board said nothing about the taxpayers when they gave their reasons for wanting to be elected. I guess our job is to shut up, pay and be grateful that it doesn’t cost us even more. (Just wait, it will.) It is this guaranteed source of endless money that really thwarts reforms. Why change when it does not cost you but rewards you to stay as you are?

The only real chance of change is the home school movement. If enough people withdraw their children from the government thought factories, the system will be betrayed as the expensive fraud that it really is. While the home school movement will continue to grow, it will be a long time before it reaches the critical size to threaten the Monopoly. Home schooling will also have to withstand a legal challenge mounted by its enemies and their unlimited, taxpayer funded legal budget.

So things go on as they have been for a long time: the students do poorly; the schools want more money;  the taxpayers give it.  It’s great work if you can get it.  A lot of people get it.  That is why it never changes.

Posted in education, government bureaucracy, government schools, Uncategorized | 1 Comment »