My Two Cents: Reforming Education in America

Read Tod's post and Jason's comment before you read this, please. Jason, your complaint is not unique to schooling. Any time marketing exists it exists in a world in which consumer is not educated; in fact, they are counting on it. Thus we have things like McDonald's. At the same time market pressure is the most responsive and pliable type of reform initiative. For instance, for the exactly two point three seconds that everyone remembered (a la non-research based docu-drivel) just how disgusting McDonald's food really is they drastically changed their menus. That was nation-wide; hundreds of thousands of store almost over night all because of a little market pressure. Show me a neighborhood that has any consumer educated enough to make a "rational" decision about what to friggin eat for lunch and I'll show the Garden of Freaking Eden. Jason took a pot shot at charter schools and it's true that as a class they suck. However, it has been proven, in economics and biology that without competetion weakness sets in. Charter schools provide much needed competition to bolster the otherwise festering public schools. If you don't believe me, just take a close look at the Dayton Public School system. They aren't perfect, far from it, and many of the charter schools around are just downright scary; but DPS has improved leaps and bounds since the rise of charter schools in the area. The truth is, the only good thing this country has as a true instrument of change in capitalism, capitalism, capitalism. If that means that some kids end up at the McDonald's of education I'm all for it. Because I gotta tell you, as a former insider on both sides of the desk, the system we've got right now is deeply infected and is suffering. It could be that a hard shot of consumer choice would be enough to shock it into health and I'm inclinded to believe it.

  1. There is nothing wrong with our education system that a little school prayer couldn’t fix. And if you diagree with me its probably because you are Canadian.

    D Wallz
    October 19th, 2006 at 10:41 am
  2. I’m not saying we shouldn’t experiment and try to make positive changes to the public education system in the U.S. I just get tired of the (problem – government + capitalism = solution) argument without evidence to back it up.

    This is part of a broader issue I have with political science and economics – they come to conclusions and develop models without the kind of empiricism that other sciences demand. How often do we hear about “rational self-interest” without any evidence that most economic actors are either rational or acting in their own interest? There’s a whole field, behavioral economics, that is trying to address this gap but their work hasn’t really filtered down to policy makers.

    I’ll post a follow up with some ideas on how we can improve attempts to improve education.

    October 19th, 2006 at 6:05 pm
  3. If one believes the purpose of public schools is to educate people, their current state would look pretty bad. If one believes that public schools exist to prepare children for a life of alienation, be it in a factory, a cubicle, or a prison, they are performing remarkably well.

    October 20th, 2006 at 12:51 am

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