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Old 07-04-2011, 11:23 AM
operative operative is offline
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 3,261
Default Re: Education spending

They are not unavailable, which is the claim I was referring to. "Dems" don't want them to be unavailable. This partisan strawman is not useful.
It certainly seemed that the Democratic controlled Congress and Barack Obama didn't want vouchers, at least in DC, did it not?


My point, however, is that lots of Dems are in favor of school reform, especially when we are talking grass roots. Lots of places where there are strong school reform movements, basically everyone is a Dem and it's an intra-party fight -- or just grass roots, like I said. The reason for the difficulty politically has as much to do with suspicion about the motives of the high profile reform proposals as teachers unions. I'm am in favor of fighting the teachers unions on this, but some of the things they argue has weight and gets support because it's obvious that a lot of the support for the more dramatic reform efforts tend to come from those who are mainly motivated by the desire that parochial school be paid for if public school is*, or a basic attack on the desirability of public school at all, or a more general attack on unions.
Sure, there are Democrats who are in favor of school reform. Their voice is just drowned out--kind of like how pro-reform, anti-pork voices among Republicans have traditionally been drowned out when push came to shove and the special interests had their way. Right now, it sure seems that the money and the hierarchy is steadfastly in the anti-reform camp. And I don't know if that's going to change. The Teachers Unions are one of the most powerful single lobbying groups in the country. They took down Fenty, and they will take down others who dare to oppose them. That's why I don't think reform will come through Democrats, and will not come unless we end public sector unions altogether.


Therefore, I see your own rhetoric as more detrimental to a real acceptance of reform, if that were your main goal. But as Rob said, you are never non partisan.
I wouldn't call myself partisan--I'm not interested in merely advancing the cause of the GOP. I'd say that I'm never non-ideological in the sense that my positions are informed by my ideology, but that's not conditional on the behavior of my chosen party.

I said something similar to this upthread about why our costs might be higher, but the idea that doing everything means that the worst schools are trying to teach AP classes is simply false. It means that the schools are providing basic social services or compensating for the lack thereof or just societal dysfunction.
Yes, but why are they unable to do so? Part of it is the rigidity of the regulation set by Teachers Unions' contractual negotiations. Part of it is state and federal level regulation. Some of it is the natural inefficiency that will arise in any system when there isn't real competition.

You imply that better results are a result of lower teacher pay, that the better results are not achieved in spite of lower pay. So all we have to do is cut teacher pay in order to get better results?
That was more of a facetious point on my part, in response to the tired TU trope that teachers don't get paid enough. I actually would say that poor and mediocre teachers are paid too much, and good teachers aren't paid enough. Bu that's what happens when the system is rigged to promote mediocrity.

I strongly suspect that the conditions which allow other countries to get better results with less expenditure are many, complex, and not replicable in the US.
Cultures are definitely different, and that does matter. We can't realistically expect to turn lazy, anti-intellectual American school children into eager Korean and Japanese students overnight. Laziness, anti-intellectualism, and self-entitlement are fairly widespread in America. Conservatism is sometimes associated with anti-intellectualism, and certain branches of Christianity certainly are conducive to anti-intellectualism. The laziness and self-entitlement has a few causes. Among them are the way parenting shifted, as those who grew up in the Great Generation, reacting to the difficulties of their early lives, spoiled their children, who in turn spoiled their children; also, the welfare state, the progressive income tax, etc.

I don't want the government to be in the business of trying to change culture. But if we move to flat tax, privatize social security and move toward privatized medicare accounts, eliminate welfare, eliminate public housing, etc. then there will be some pretty positive results. For one thing, the reproduction rate of people with anti-intellectual cultures will drop. Also, if we open up our immigration system, we will receive more high-skilled immigrants with pro-education cultures.
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