|Blogs > rm_deaminveni > Assorted 21st Century Angst|
VoodooGuru1, whose posts I enjoy immensely, recently posted Democrats Piss Me Off! to which I felt compelled to reply., below is my response.
I'm not sure how the US system works but in the UK we have a small problem like geographic "catchment areas". Sure, if you're rich you can send your kid to boarding school, or Mom can drive them 50 miles in a ridiculously large 4x4. Most people have more modest ambitions and are stuck with sending their kids to a "local" school.
This leads to a "postcode" (or "zipcode") lottery, where once again the more wealthy win out because they can afford to move to an area inside the catchment area of a better school. Your kid may be a dumb-as-dirt, but if you have money he can go to a fancy school. Your kid may be a smart-as-Einstein but because you live on a trailer park he'll grow up washing dishes in the local diner. Fair? I don't think so.
A school voucher system is a dumb idea, and here's why.
Applying the "market mechanism" (an ideal I generally ascribe to), as embodied in the voucher system, to the education system will inevitably lead to educational gettos.
During the time a "crappy" school is subject to the inexorable slide into oblivion all the pupils that have to attend (because they cannot afford to travel to better schools) suffer. Since this slide can take many years it can effect thousands of lives. Bummer.
Furthermore, on the law of averages at least half the schools in any broad enough sample are going to be below the average. So, taking the whole nation as our sample area, at least half of schools will by definition be below the average. If you are assuming that 100 units represents the average education we should expect (an assumption implied by your "market mechanism" argument), then the process of attrition (or improvement, according to your viewpoint) will inevitably continue ad infinitum.
Any parent looking at their schools performance and sees it falls below the 100 units (the average) will naturally take their voucher and "invest" in a better school. This impoverishes the underperforming school, and benefits the better school. So far so good (unless you happen to be unable to access the better school in which case your kids end up washing dishes even though they have a mental capacity greater than Einstein - sorry kid you were born in the wrong house). Eventually the impoverished school, unable to improve because of starvation of funds will close (of course the worst scenario has these impoverished schools catering to a local population unable to support the schools, consequently they cannot attract better teaching staff, better equipment, and so on - result kids in this school's catchment area do not get a good education). Result on a national level, the overall level of schools rises (but then so too does the average and the cycle continue).
You might say, "Fuck Yeah!", we're getting a better education system by Darwinian selection (of a sort); all hail the voucher system. History teaches us that the education system improves over time anyway: I learned things in school that my father learned in college; I expect my son will learn things in college that I learned in university. The cycle continues regardless.
My point? None really, only that school vouchers are a political gimmick, a captialist chimera. They solve nothing.
Better to pay educators well, ensure that schools invest efficiently, and that pupils are given the best opportunities we can provide. If they choose to snub those opportunites kick 'em out, if they take thes e opportunities then all the best to them!
1/7/2006 9:23 am
Just my luck to've been a mediocre student as a lad at a mediocre school...|
Been a while since they last let me out into polite society. Resurfacing, catching a breath, & catching up.
And while I got my Broad-Brimmed Pimping Hat on, could I cajole all of y'all to Comment on, Alone In A Cloud? It's probably the best thing that I've written!
1/7/2006 11:36 am
LMAO MrP I love ya|