Monday, June 13, 2005

School Vouchers

Update Note: I just added a link to an article by Milton Friedman published in the Wall Street Journal about Vouchers. See link below. 6-14-05.

With Arnold fighting the Public Teachers Union over some very good issues, we should re-examine the real problem with K-12 education in general.

One of the sure ways to have a poor system is to make it part of the government. This statement is not just rhetoric. One of the things that make organizations efficient and successful is competition.

We don't really have much competition in our school system. Private schools can’t compete because most everyone that wants to send their children to a private, (good), school would have to pay twice.

We don't reward good teachers nor chastise bad ones. We give them all tenure based upon how many cobwebs they have. You have been here x number of years you deserve a raise also. Again, cobwebs.

With Vouchers, taxpayers would have some of their tax money returned to them in the form of a voucher that they can only spend on school for their children.

This would allow parents that are currently paying twice for their children to have a good education, once in taxes for public schools, and again for private education, to actually only pay once.

Imagine having the schools competing for our children. Imagine the best teachers getting salaries that are really up where they should be and the poor teachers being paid less.

Milton Freedman is against having public employees administer our schools for a very good reason. See: Opinion Journal


Also there are way too many administrators per teacher. That is classic "empire building 101", where people are paid by the number of subordinates that work for them. So, they fight for hiring more subordinates instead of fighting for more tools to help our children.

It is bad enough that we have a "socialized" K-12 school system; at least we could make it better by introducing some element of competition with vouchers.

The Teachers Unions have been fighting vouchers for years and they will continue to fight that battle because job security and money/power is more important to the Union Hierarchy than what is best for our children.

32 Comments:

At 9:28 PM, Blogger Ralph said...

Name a US industry or function that unions haven't ruined. Their only remaining refuge is the government.

 
At 5:44 AM, Blogger Lucy Stern said...

It sounds great to me. I think the government has way too much control of our schools already.

 
At 1:55 PM, Blogger The Ascetic Crusader said...

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At 3:55 PM, Blogger Storm Trooper said...

Privatizing the school system. Wow - let the corporate indocrtrination begin (moreso). Sorry if I've misunderstood what you were saying - but WOW!

We can remove government constructed curriculum which is designed to strengthen the nation (supposedly) and then replace it with a wide variety of curriculum which is decided upon by the people who provide the money (moreso than they do now). Interesting idea. You could have the Hallyburton school of death warriors. I'm totally commenting about this on my blog. You've blown my mind!

 
At 6:09 PM, Blogger Free Agency Rules said...

Superman,

Yes, imagine that, letting the taxpayers pay for the type of school that they want their children to go to.

Instead of "Sex Education" classes for 2nd graders, yes it's happening, and sensitivity clases or other "feel good" nonsense, we could actually get "Reading, Wriiting, and Arithmetic." What a concept! The schools would actually have to be responsive.

Vouchers are not new. See:
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/education/jan-june98/vouchers_4-29.html

 
At 9:01 PM, Blogger Storm Trooper said...

I didn't say they were new. I just think that making formerly public school systems susceptible to the whims of privately provided funding is a good idea. The "feel good" nonsense that you describe is stupid. Of course. But rather than uprooting a fundamentally good system of education and turning it over to people with motives that are not controlled by the public is sheer idiocy. Yes - it would be great for people with money who could afford to send children to the top schools. What about kids who live in ghettos? Or do we argue that they are irrelevancies? I don't know how you feel about that.

Sounds pretty frightening to me. Look at how health care turned out.

 
At 10:59 PM, Blogger Free Agency Rules said...

It is working best in the ghetto. We are talking about everyone getting a voucher, not just some.

Imiagine having someone from the ghetto who can semd their child to a good school instead of the lousy one they are stuck with "because" of where they live. They could choose a good private school if they wanted to.

There is one example in Chicago that I am unable to find at the momemt where a council woman was having incredable success with a trial voucher program, but here is one from Florida that shows the results of Vouchers:
http://www.manhattan-institute.org/html/ewp_02.htm

 
At 11:21 PM, Blogger Free Agency Rules said...

P.S. Superman,

There is a very good reason why Marx and Engles said two of the 10 best ways to destroy freedom was:

2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.

10. Free education for all children in public schools.

Scroll to the bottom of this URL:
http://www.juntosociety.com/i_documents/communist.html

for the 10 points of their "Manifesto."

They knew that by having the government running education that they would promote "more" government and instill in our children that the world owes them a living, that there is such a thing as a "free lunch".

Next we will want "free housing", "free cars", and any other "vital" thing that "everyone" should have.

Problem is, "Nothing is free", someone has to pay for it. And that someone always winds up being the "Middle Class" and not the rich because the rich find tax shelters. Just look at how little tax people like Ted Kennedy and John Kerry pay.

 
At 3:28 PM, Blogger Storm Trooper said...

That may be. And there are risks with absolutism in all political/social ideologies. What the US is activiely pursuing is pure corporatism. The best example of a functional form of corporatism was in Fascist Italy (as conducted by Mussolini). Marx and Engels proposed a theoretical form of state governance which was perhaps used too extremely. How about learning from the mistakes; but also incorporating the successes into the grand scheme.

Everytime I talk with an American (even leftists-except nutbars) they argue that Capitalism beat out everything (which it did) and is therefore the "correct" way to do things. However, what is the end result of capitalsm? Anybody ever bother to think about it?

Sorry - I kind of went off on a tangent. I will continue on school vouchers later.

 
At 3:29 PM, Blogger Storm Trooper said...

Oh, and I don't think anyone's in danger of getting a free lunch in America...

 
At 4:49 PM, Blogger Free Agency Rules said...

Superman,

The Problem is we not only don't have pure Capitalism, we have and are moving toward a Capitalist/Socialist State, where Socialism is overtaking Capitalism.

Welfare, Social Security, Graduated Income Tax, Public Education, etc. These are all forms of Socialism.

The end result of Socialism is everybody shares misery. See my Winston Churchill Quote at the top of my blog.

The end result of Capitalism is the best price for any service, which is all anyone, can ask for, except those who want others to pay for their stuff, which is called Socialism.

I don't understand your comment about Fascism at all.

Fascism is a system of government that is run by a dictator, has stringent socioeconomic controls, and censorship. If anything the left is for P.C. talk (censorship), but not the majority of our citizens, at least not yet.

Capitalism is where the means of production is under private control, (not a dictator.)

I don't see any similarities at all.

 
At 5:14 PM, Blogger Free Agency Rules said...

P.S.

Mussolini formed a government where he ran most of the industries, not private citizens.

I quote from the following URL:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mussolini

Scroll down to just before "Fascist dictatorship"

We read...

(Mussolini formed)..."a new capitalist system in which the state seized control of the organization of vital industries."

Notice that is not Capitalism, where the means of production, (industry), is in the hands of private citizens.

 
At 3:31 AM, Blogger Storm Trooper said...

I concede that point - I was perhaps not too clear about fascism. What I said (to clarify) is that the US is currently pursuing a policy which promotes pure corporatism in society.

Here's what Fascism is:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nation
# exalts nation and sometimes race above the individual
# uses violence and modern techniques of propaganda and censorship to forcibly suppress political opposition
# engages in severe economic and social regimentation
# engages in corporatism
# implements totalitarianism

Wikipedia even states that there are certain aspects of corporatism in the US. No, the US is not a fascist state yet, but it is actively pursuing certain regimental shifts which might eventually result in a form of contempoary fascism. The ties between the government and corporations are not exactly the same as in Mussolini's Italy, but there is the potential for a callusion which would be similar.

I have no idea where you get the idea that the US is becoming a socialist nation. Please provide evidence beyond what you've provided thus far. Social programs are NOT forms of socialism - they are aspects of an ideology that have thankfully pervaded into America's deeply capitalistic society.

Since World War II, America has gradually taken steps to develop a covert form of fascism. The latest evidence is provided by the "Project For a New American Century" which was founded by Bush's key staff. Look it up. Outlined in their major documents are very blatant desires for totalitarian controls over (essentially) the world.

Don't you love ideological debate? It's useless but so much fun! To be continued (I hope). See you guys later.

 
At 3:33 AM, Blogger Storm Trooper said...

Note that Corporatism is a part of Fascism - that's what I haven't been clear on.

 
At 7:57 AM, Blogger Free Agency Rules said...

Superman,

Yes, I love a civil debate. As long as people are nice and don't resort to name-calling and don't get emotional, I think it is great.

First lets look at what kind of "Corporatism" existed under Fascism. From:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporatism

"Under Fascism in Italy, business owners, employees, trades-people, professionals, and other economic classes were organized into 22 guilds, or associations, known as "corporations" according to their industries, and these groups were given representation in a legislative body known as the Camera dei Fasci e delle Corporazioni."

Notice that groups of employees, trades-people, etc. formed groups that were granted state privileges.

Under pure laissez-faire Capitalism, no business is given any state privileges. See:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laissez-faire

"The laissez-faire school of thought holds a pure capitalist or free market view, that capitalism is best left to its own devices; that it will dispense with inefficiencies in a more deliberate and quick manner than any legislating body could. The basic idea is that less government interference in private economic decisions such as pricing, production, and distribution of goods and services makes for a better system."

Currently we have the Democrats who fight against corporate America, and we have Republicans fighting for the government to stay out of the affairs of business.

In Corporatism, the government grants privileges to corporations. We have anti-trust laws and others that fight corporations at every turn.

I wish the government would just stay out of it.

Now lets look at Socialism. From:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socialism

"Socialism is an ideology with the core belief that a society should exist in which popular collectives control the means of power, and therefore the means of production. In application, however, the de facto meaning of socialism has evolved and branched to a great degree, and though highly politicized, is strongly related to the establishment of an organized working class, created through either revolution or social evolution, with the purpose of building a classless society. It has also, increasingly, become concentrated on social reforms within modern democracies. This concept and the term Socialist also refer to a group of ideologies, an economic system, or a state that exists or has existed."

Focus on the “with the purpose of building a classless society.” The purpose of the “graduated income tax” is to try to redistribute the wealth, to try to make the poor richer, and the rich poorer.

Under Socialism, the government acts like “Robin Hood” where it “takes”, (Steals), from the rich to give to the poor. This happens in every case of what is called “entitlement programs.” Stealing is not fair, even when the government is doing it. It is also not moral. When we vote for entitlement programs, we are voting to allow the government to steal for us.

Please read the few paragraphs of the synopsis of the book “The Law” at this URL: http://unix.dfn.org/printer_af_FrederickBastiat_theLaw.shtml

It is the most important book about government anyone will ever read, if they will truly read it with an open mind. You will see that “work” is sub-consciously viewed as “pain.” Humans will sometimes “steal” because it requires less effort.

Under Socialism, people use the government to “steal” for them, by redistributing the wealth, so that in theory there would be one big middle class and no rich or poor. It never works because some will fake the inability to work and get a totally free ride. When enough people do this the whole system crashes.

 
At 8:27 AM, Blogger Free Agency Rules said...

P.S.

Also note that it concentrates on "social reforms within modern democracies"

That's what's happening here.

 
At 2:59 PM, Blogger Storm Trooper said...

By no means do I promote absolute socialism. There are various aspects of socialism that I think are invaluable to a society (sort of like planning for a rainy day) - Re: Keynesian economics. Any absolutism in any economy or society puts the society at risk when problems arise that can not be coped with by the existing system - historially speaking.

As far as proper capitalism being the best price for goods as the result of competition - absolutely! The only thing that is forgotten is that the concept of capitalism was developed in periods that did not possess the kinds of technologies that we have today. The main theorists of capitalism (Friedman in the 20th century, Smith before etc.) could not have conceived of a system in which things like personal computers, televisions (in their current state), credit cards - anyway, the point is: with the acceleration of technological development, corporations can abuse the vast quantities of information that they amass which then transcends us into what is known as "late Capitalism."

Actually, I touched on Late Capitalism in a paper I wrote last year. I did not delve too deeply into it. If you look it up on Wikipedia, however (our apparent knowledge base for this argument) it is quite interesting. Fascinating, really. Basically, Wikipedia describes late capitalism as (if you think about it) the state of the world right now. I think we've actually toppled over the edge into post capitalism (maybe) but that's a different debate.

I share the same desire as you - to have as perfect a society as possible. Nevertheless, I must suggest that your conception of capitalism is the 20th century's theoretical one.

Back to where we started:
I believe that privatizing the school systems (with vouchers or whatever)opens the door to a system of corporate indoctrination. Why? Because the government, which is democratically elected (well, sorta) by THE PEOPLE is doing its best to provide a balanced, benevolent system of education for ALL children/people. The people have control over the school systme - or should if the system works properly.

Once you remove the curriculum from the hands of people, there is less and less accountability. Yes, perhaps competition amongst schools, teachers etc would benefit some students in the short term. Think of what it would really mean though. The doors would be open to a situation in which curriculum was written by people/groups who are trying to make a profit. Is that safe? Do you trust every salesman you talk to? I don't.

Anyway, enough for now. Take care.

 
At 4:33 PM, Blogger Free Agency Rules said...

I think we have not seen the true face of Capitalism which is Laissez-faire.

Our Country never has had a complete Laissez-faire system. We have seen a "Late Capitalism" only because of the shift towards a "Socialistic/Capitalist" system.

Big Government, Big Labor Unions and Big Buisness are all bad to a degree. It is because of our government getting involved into these areas that we are having problems, not the other way around.

Please read the link to "The Law" synopsis I provided in my earlier comment.

Here it is again:
http://unix.dfn.org/printer_af_FrederickBastiat_theLaw


Bastiat was a Frenchman with incredible insight into the human condition. He was around during a social revolution and it gave him a unique vantage point.

Armed with this information you can see why he says that having a Congress that is composed of a single class, (the rich lawyer class), that they will pass laws to gain an advantage for their class.

Ever notice that most of Congress is comprised of rich lawyers who pass entitlement programs that they say the rich will pay for, yet the rich lawyers pass loop holes to make sure that only the middle class pay for everything.

Ever wonder why Kennedy and Kerry pay so little in taxes?

They pass loop holes to insure they won't loose any of their opulance, all the while screaming how they are the champions of the poor and middle class.

 
At 4:42 PM, Blogger Free Agency Rules said...

Does John Kerry need a $7,000.00 mountian bike and a $4,000.00 bike outfit?

What if Terisa Heinz Kerry, would divest herself of 80% of her late husband's holdings in his "Heintz Ketchup" fortune, and distribute the money to the poor. She would still be left with an oppulent life style.

She won't do it, and neither will any of the other super rich Democrats that claim to be looking out for the "little guy."

They make sure that they don't have to worry about making a living, all the while forcing money out of the middle class to pay for all their entitlement programs.

Does this seem right to you? There are better ways to fund the disadvantaged than having the government steal the money from the middle class to give to the poor class.

 
At 6:05 PM, Blogger Storm Trooper said...

I agree that the money shouldn't be taken from the middle class. It should be taken from the rich. You forget that the Bush family is extremely wealthy as well. I'm just curious as to your choice of examples (all democrats).

If you read up on Laissez-Faire, it was argued that it was most pure from 1900-1930. Then the depression struck. Granted, some have argued that government intervention may have led to the stock market crash, but most disagree. That is why the New Deal was constructed after "pure" (relative term) Laissez-Faire economics failed. That is why the resultant system was a combination of the two systems.

I read the link you provided. Interesting. It seems, though, that Bastiat is promoting more of an Anarcho-Syndicalist society (based on the limited reading I just did) wherein the larger constructs of society are repulsed and replaced with smaller forms of direct governance. The only problem is: those aims can not be achieved by further privatization within an already corrupted system. If you think any republican or Democrat would pass legislation to diminish his or her wealth, you're wrong (I know you don't think that). The thing is, by further privatizing in the current system, we provide huge powers more of an opportunity to gain more wealth amd power.

I'll reiterate- I am not a Marxist. I do not believe in extreme welfare states. I do, however, believe that our current western societies are at risk of descending into pure consumerist, fascist(the contemporary technologically driven form of) states. A potential solution is to attempt to stagnate the process in hopes that new theories will be brought forth to offset the growing problems.

Your turn. :)

 
At 9:55 PM, Blogger Free Agency Rules said...

Superman,

The banks caused the great depression of 1928 by doing what is commonly called "Margin Calls."

The rich bankers wanted a "National Banking System" so they could monopolize and control the money supply.

That is the only reason Laissez-Faire was thought to fail.

Too much is placed upon the stock market. It is driven by too much emotion. It is all about "precieved" economic health.

If it wasn't for the bankers causing the crash, we would have a system that would be 1,000 times better than what we have today.

 
At 9:58 PM, Blogger Free Agency Rules said...

P.S.

I don't think that the only way to provide for the poor is to have the government steal from the rich or the middle class.

Stealing is wrong period.

 
At 10:10 PM, Blogger Storm Trooper said...

Stealing? No. Taxation.

 
At 10:13 PM, Blogger Free Agency Rules said...

When the government "takes" from those who have earned it and "gives" to those who haven't, it is stealing.

Taxation is where we give willingly to support the proper roles of government.

Here is the full text of "The Law." It is the best book I have ever read on "The Proper Role of Government."

http://www.lexrex.com/informed/otherdocuments/thelaw/main.htm

See why entitlement programs are not taxes by reading this book.

 
At 10:15 PM, Blogger Free Agency Rules said...

That link wasn't complete, lets try it again

http://www.lexrex.com/informed/otherdocuments/the%20law.htm

 
At 12:20 AM, Blogger Storm Trooper said...

My question is: what about people who do not have the same intellect, geneology, physical capabilties to compete in a market economy? Believe it or not, I have heard people say "too bad for them." I just can't imagine living in a world where it is so cold that we cannot privide the less fortunate with a means to survive.

I doubt you are saying as much (I hope), but what about mentally disabled people. Do the same rules apply to them? Should we not have social programs to assist them? Or is that too socialistic for you?

What about black(example) children who grow in in the projects and are not provided with the same levels of education as others? Should we not assist them? In my country, the native population was not assimilated as it was in the States over centuries of repression - we just swept them under the carpet for decades. Now there are total tribes/communities of children with fetal alcohol syndrome, drug addiction, poverty etc. Are these people not perhaps entitled to some sort of assistance?

Frankly, I don't consider taxation to be stealing when it helps people. Joe Billionaire is not going to suffer if he has to pay a slightly higher level of tax.

Granted, western governments have abused their roles in some ways. Why have we not made them accountable? I don't think the answer is to withdraw all governmental roles and throw every single individual into a metaphoric snake pit in which only the most resourceful come out alive.

And of course, this issue could fill books (we're getting close) but where does privatization end? Anywhere? Private police forces, military, schools, medicine, nursing care for the elderly...? Do you not see anything wrong with private police forces? Will only the rich and powerful be able to afford law enforcement? Sounds like the beginning of a system in which the rich fortify themselves in compounds and leave the commoners in cesspools of violence and tribal warfare.

I think there was another time like that - the dark ages in Europe.

Not to be too aggressive with this, but I think you are holding on to some sort of fundamentalist-capitalist notion of the way societies should work. Correct me if I'm wrong about these assumptions.

Oh, thanks for the link. I'll get on that. Catch you later.

 
At 8:31 AM, Blogger Free Agency Rules said...

We both agree that the needy should be cared for, it's just a matter of what is the best way.

Freedom is only possible if all of society protects 3 things...Life, Liberty, and Property.

When we use the government to assult property, by passing laws to plunder property from the few or the many, we are destroying Freedom.

The book "The Law" is by a very intelligent Frenchman who wrote this book just a few years prior to when Marx and Engles wrote theirs.

It is a very short read. Perhaps 50 - 75 pages if my memory serves me.

It does a wonderful job of answering all of the questions you posed.

And it's free of charge. :)

 
At 4:37 AM, Blogger Storm Trooper said...

Cool. However, if you want reading material -check out authors like Baudrillard, Lyotard, Foucoult - other "Frenchmen" who are far more renowned and better known.

I think Baudrillard's writing is some of the most fascinating stuff I've ever read. Check out - "Illusions of the End". Among other theses and themes, the book is a warning about the imbalances that exist as a result of the end of Communist Russia (not to say that the regime was good) and how having one super power is a very risky situation.

 
At 9:08 AM, Blogger Free Agency Rules said...

Yep, I remember reading about some of their works from my College Days.

Might have been in my study of Philosophy that I did on my own after being introduced to "Immanuel Kant" and other great philosophers in my "Critical Thinking" PHL 251 class during my Senior Year. ( Or was it my ethics class? )

I love reading about Physics, Philosophy, and Politics. What I call my 3-P's.

I changed Majors 3 times and accumulated almost 200 credits even though I only needed 124 to graduate.

Started out in BSEE then switched to MBA program, and finally changed to BS in Information Technology. So I wound up taking a lot of electives and non related classes to my Degree.

I'll have to go back and review my Philosophy books and see which of those three I actually bought books that they wrote. I have a great library, several hundred books.

Any way, I don't believe that we are the only super power. Anyone that discounts China as not being a worthy Super Power equal or even mightier than the U.S. has not been paying attention to the facts.

They are just waiting for their opportunity to strike and believe me they will.

Russia, the new Russia, is also going to be a Super Power again.


The main point from Bastiat is to understand how government's primary focus is to protect life, liberty and property, and without protecting property, (our assets like income included), that society will vote to plunder, (legal theft), each other for some false philanthropy. Forcing people to be charitable by having the government take from some to give to others, is still force no matter how you look at it.

It's funny how both sides accuse the other about being materialistic.

On the left, all of their solutions are about money.

More money for schools, more money for the poor, more money for our Congressmen to spend on everything that needs to be "Fixed" by their enlightened class. Socialists and Communists philosophy is all about how to "divide up materialism" and having an "equal material class" at the expense of others hard work.

While the conservatives are more likely to forego a second income to have a "stay-at-home" parent and are more concerned about the "spiritual" things by trying to protect property and freedom by doing two major things.

1. Keeping the government out of our affairs as much as possible. And
2. By working on improving their own lives first and not trying to "take the beam" out of their neighbors eyes. As the "do gooders" on the left do.

Having a better world starts by each person becoming a better person on their own. The golden rule, etc.

Also Conservatives give a lot of their "material" things, (money), to the poor. Several Billion Dollars worth.

 
At 4:06 AM, Blogger Storm Trooper said...

I think perhaps we're getting into petty, situation-specific arguments. First of all - I done think the notion of being a "do-gooder" is something that should be scorned. I have not stated that conservative-minded people are evil or naive; they are simply pushing for a different kind of society than I prefer.

As far as China goes - who are they going to strike? The US? With crazy old George Bush having access to the black box with the launch buttons? China is becoming an economic power but they are nowhere near becoming a military one. The US could not win a war with China without using WMDs - true - but knowing that, why would China ever risk an attack? And Russia - they are probably the greatest threat - but it seems that they are more concerned these days with making sure the US doesn't overstep its bounds. Something I fully support. The last thing we need it the US trapsing all over the globe "liberating" countries.

Also - I think you're confusing small-c conservatism with big-C Conservatism. Big-C Conservatives would not forego a second income. Period. The family-values rationales lie with the social conservatives (small-c).

I'd also like to congratulate the conservatives for giving their money to good causes...(?).

Oh - and thank you for sharing your educational background and library size. I too have gone to school for a million years and have hundreds of books. It doesn't make me more correct. :)

 
At 6:41 AM, Blogger Free Agency Rules said...

You are absolutely correct that Wisdom does not equate necessarily with College and I wasn't inferring such, just that I have interests other than my Computer background.

And the term "do gooder" was not meant to be negative, merely that a lot of people try to "do good" with good intentions, but with the wrong tools, i.e., O.P.M., (Other peoples money.)

I probably should refrain from using that term since on second thought I can see how it could come across wrong.

I guess both sides wear labels that seem harsh.

 
At 2:42 AM, Blogger Storm Trooper said...

Sorry - I didn't mean to come across as angry...
Perhaps I should read "The Law" and give you my reaction. Tnat would be the safest next step in this debate. I enjoy this blog, by the way. We'll call this a friendly disagreement. Talk to you soon.

 

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