Beyond the Cusp

November 29, 2018

Why the Left Hates Competitive Education

 

First, please allow us to define “Competitive Education.” All Competitive Education entails is allowing there to be competition in educating our most precious asset, our children. Whenever this is suggested, big money from the Teachers’ Unions and Labor Unions in general start claiming that if we go away from general public education, then there would be no schools operating in the inner cities, the children will all receive subpar education, only the wealthy children will be permitted into the best schools and a myriad of false accusations and strawman arguments which a casual investigation would reveal their complete vacuity. The accusation that only the wealthy would receive a decent education is so absurd simply because the wealthy already are not sending their children to the public schools and are instead using Competitive Education in choosing in which of the elite academies they will educate their children. They often make their determination after a serious assessment of their child’s particular needs. If their child is rebellious, they might decide that a strict academy where they children wear uniforms and rules are strictly applied and if their child has a learning disability, they choose a school which is suited to such challenges and lastly, if their child shows a particular proclivity towards some subject or ability, they would choose appropriately. But the omniscient overlords of the public school system wish to deny to everyone who is not wealthy the exact same system which the wealthy are able to afford. What if instead of forcing everyone into the one size fits all and often-subpar education system provided by the government, after all, name something the government provides which has proved superior to the same service provided privately. We often immediately hear that law enforcement, and we agree that the level of protection provided by those dedicated individuals who choose to train and provide law enforcement are above the average, but we will also point out that the wealthy often have private patrols and other applications of security which augments, and in some gated communities replaces, publically provided law enforcement.

 

Allow us to make a few other potential areas where the identical argument about public education would apply and we would like to see how many would prefer the government take over these other areas of products, after all, education is a product in which we are given limited and too often no choice beyond the location where we reside to determine the educational level our children will receive. The first and most obvious would be grocery stores. After all, without the government providing our groceries, how do we know that just because we live in a poor neighborhood that we are not going to receive second or third rate food choices or no food choices? Would we not desire that the government provide grocery stores with government distributed groceries and government employees stocking the shelves and as cashiers and every other position right down to government run farms to assure the right measure of fertilizer is used and only approved pesticides which will not harm the environment and water rationed to prevent runoff and on and on. This was how food was grown, harvested and distributed in Soviet Russia as well as a number of other socialist nations such as Zimbabwe which had been the highest food producing country in Africa and when a new governance took over the entire economy and placed their own people to raise their crops and tend their herds and they became the least productive food producing country within a matter of three or four years, the length of time it took to replace all the existing farmers, or at least most of them. We already have heard that people want healthcare provided from the government. In our studies of such systems, we have found one which performs adequately and it does so by allowing competitive healthcare facilities and private hospitals and physicians and with the competition for members in the separate plans offered by these companies, quality remains quite high and prices remain relatively low. In the purely one size fits all nations there are prolonged wait times for surgical procedures, cancer treatment, diagnostic tests (the one place the system in our preferred nation could use an upgrade), permission to see a specialist, for physical therapy and so many other items and unlike our preferred nations where private practice is permitted as long as you also provide a set amount of your services in one of the plans, most of the socialized medical systems forbid private practices. What about socialized, government clothing? Everybody gets the same styles from which to choose. China had this at the start of the Mao Zedong rule and it was wonderful seeing all the happy people dressed identically. Let’s face it, there is nothing that the government does better than private providers, with the grave exception of military power, something which any sane people would never entrust to private companies as then the wealthy would have too much power.

 

School House

School House

 

So, let us talk private schools and see what we can learn. First and foremost, there would be testing which would demand that students meet a minimal level of education in the necessities such as reading, writing, arithmetic, history, civics, sciences and even physical training for a level of fitness. The way these schools would be largely financed would be by having the monies currently spent on education divided by the numbers of students and the money would go to each school with each student. This would set a level of tuition which the most basic schools would charge with specialized schools potentially charging a higher tuition. Special needs education students would receive an additional amount divided from the current additional expenditures on a per student rate as the general education funds were divided. The general education schools could also provide specialization with the level required in the other subjects still requiring to be met. With private schools, the better schools would receive more students and be able to fill classroom sizes which could be regulated such that class sizes could not exceed a set figure, probably thirty or less as per regulations in each state. The states could be placed back as the primary sculptures of their school systems through their specific requirements. It would make sense for schools in central Nebraska to be more oriented to farming and such technologies while schools in the major cities would have less of an emphasis in these areas. Such decisions are best left to the individual states and counties, as they understand the requirements of their communities far better than would any bureaucrat in Washington D.C., where the current curriculums are mostly regulated. The testing regimens could be set at a level desired as minimal acceptable requirements from Washington D.C. but the specific requirements should be left to the individual states to determine any additional emphases. The better schools would survive and spread as their reputations spread and those whose level of proficiency was of a lesser quality would soon go out of business. Another advantage of such a system is that these schools would be answerable to the parents and far more approachable than the current public education systems which in many instances have virtually no means for parents to have any measurable influence. Teachers also would be rated individually and as such be more inclined to add to their education and become more qualified as well as staying up to date on the latest changes to their subject matter. We know that most of these reasons are an anathema to the teachers’ unions; who once a teacher gets tenure, they can coast along with no fear of being removed from their position. Further, the teachers’ unions in the majority of instances have become political influence peddlers and less education monitors. Their main interest is the continuation of schools as is and bigger salaries, less required class time, more specialized advisors, more counselors, administrative positions and a myriad of items with little if any influence on the level of education provided.

 

The argument is that schools would not be provided to remote regions such as low density farming communities or to many central areas in major cities where there are problematic reasons for low performance and other scare tactics. The city argument is ridiculous, as the students in these areas would take with them a premium fiscal incentive to provide education. This alone would be a great incentive as money talks. The arguments that in some areas the schools would choose not to admit troubled youths could be remediated by providing an additional scale for payment for schools taking any youth who had been expelled from another school. These children could be considered to be youths with special needs. Such schools should be given some additional leniency concerning their maintaining order in their classrooms. Further, an allowance might be made to have law enforcement officers stationed at these schools which would tend to blunt any precocious student deciding that they were permitted to have a violent outburst. Further, the schools would be responsible for student safety and in preventing the kind of incidents which have become all too common in schools. These incidents have occurred despite the availability of psychologists and other professionals placed in schools who are supposed to see such problems before they occur and not to provide the reasons why such events take place after the fact. With schools free to accept and expel, the environment in the classroom will become more conducive to learning, a major plus. One of the greatest problems in discipline was when because of costs, reform schools were dropped and new age approaches of placing discipline problem students into normal regimens in the claim that such an environment would prevent their acting out, and this was applied even to students who it was known had violent tendencies. Some schools may even provide special programs for just such students where a more regimented system where outbursts are not tolerated and other older tried and true methods applied to such students. Not everything is better just because it is a new approach; sometimes the old-school approach is more effective. Most difficulties would have applications which, as long as there is a need, there will be somebody to fill the niche, often at a price.

 

Schools could once more offer a series of hands-on job training giving student a skill which they could become licensed and qualified for apprenticeships or trade school certificate which would create graduates who could take any of the myriad of unfilled positions in what we derogatorily refer to as manual labor. There is nothing wrong with making a living using hands-on skills such as carpentry, plumbing, roofing, electronics repair or any of the many other skilled professions. We must refer to them as skilled professions and as an alternate route for those who choose to create actual physical objects which create the houses, malls and other structures or that repair medical equipment and other electronic items or even factory work with assembly, calibration and testing. Below is Dirty Jobs host Mike Rowe in a suit speaking at the Independent Women’s Forum where he was awarded the Gentleman of Distinction award speaking about the growing gap of jobs which need filling which do not require a college education and the burdensome debt which comes with it. We also can bet that when they make education free for everyone, these free educational opportunities will exclude the menial positions, the way the elites in the ivory towers refer to those of us who perform the jobs which keep their worlds running smoothly with plenty of items produced by people without a college education. The stigma placed on these honorable professions is really doing our children a disservice as instead of running up a debt to gain a degree a youth could apprentice in a profession or even go to Caterpillar’s free school too become a heavy equipment operator and where they will place you in a job near whatever city you desire. For the professionals out there with the six-figure incomes, a heavy equipment operator after four years on the job which includes the first year with Caterpillar will match your six-figure salary working near New York or other major metropolis.

 

 

Many parents argument for why they are unable to place their children into a private educational facility is cost. For those who claim that their children are their most precious darlings of their lives, to them we simply ask, are such darlings not worth a small outlay of funds beyond what the government provides for worthwhile to provide the best for them? With the government outlays per student now given to the child to take with them, the cost of that private school may just have come within the reach of many such a parent, and would that not be worthwhile for them to finally be able to place their children in the schools they desire? The answer to both questions should be a resounding, “yes,” and is another reason privatizing education is something whose time has come. What will happen to all those educators currently in the public school system? Well, they will be able to find jobs with these private schools which will start to appear almost like weeds once they know that the money is there. Competition will keep the prices in check and competition will provide the best teachers receiving the higher salaries. Can you imagine teachers being given raises commensurate with the results of the education they provide the children and the decorum they manage in their classes? Schools will retain their best teachers and slowly weed out those whose methods and results prove to be less than expected. Those who are back to thinking that private schools would be a horrific idea, would you also desire government grocery stores and government clothing stores along with your government education system. Education is a lot like the weather, so many people complain about it but nobody does anything about it. Maybe the time has come to try something different. As Einstein was reputed to have said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” The reality is that the United States had private education for much of its history and the argument for public education was made to provide every student with an equal education which followed the prescribed curriculum such that the workforce would have a standard upon which they could depend. Many of the current results from the government run schools lays lie to such result, as many school systems no longer provide equal education in their schools or even an adequate level of education. Colleges at all levels are finding that they are required to provide remedial education in the most basic subjects without credit for incoming students often adding another year to their time required to graduate. What does this tell you about the level of education the average student are receiving in government schools; perhaps we should try something else and see how it turns out. We would love to see a state decide to try private education taking whatever Federal money they receive and taking the money they provide and dividing it into a per student amount. They could even sell off their school buildings to any system and making sure that different systems are provided with these facilities thus increasing competition. If any state were permitted to try this as a test case and the bureaucrats in Washington D.C. could permit their control freak tendencies to go into remission just for one state, then that could be the test case and any problems addressed as they are encountered. Imagine if such a test were permitted in, oh let’s pick someplace which would represent the nation as a whole, how about Illinois as it has Chicago plus a fair number of decent sized and small metropolitan regions as well as some rural farming communities thus it just might make a representative test case. Would it be simply unthinkable to Americans to accept private education where they would actually have to make decisions as to their children’s education? They choose the food their children eat, the clothes they wear and almost every other aspect of their life, but education which should be amongst the most important items just has to be trusted to the government. That simply does not make sense and is completely counterintuitive.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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