Perfection or continued failure are the only options
Posted by aogMonday, 09 September 2013 at 15:48 TrackBack Ping URL

School district issues dress code that requires underwear - what does it say about the teachers that this needs to be spelled out? Of course, the teacher’s union objected. Clearly forbidding “clothing containing slogans for beer, alcohol, drugs, gangs or sex will also be prohibited” when teaching children is a hallmark of an oppressive right wing Christianist patriarchy or something.

Or the fellow teachers rallying around a child molester. Or a girl who committed suicide after an affair with a teacher. Or explicit attempts to exempt teachers from statutory rape laws.

Do any of these prove that public education is organized child abuse? No, any system is going to have failures. Yet those who oppose any change seem to think that the mere mention of any failure in charter or voucher based systems immediately renders them beyond the pale.

No matter how many times it happens, I continue to be gobsmacked at the double standard.

One might be tempted to think that statists simply think in absolute terms and therefore project that on their opponents — it is endless having my statement of “A is better than B” paraphrased as “A is perfect”, but that doesn’t explain the double standard. I am left falling back to the tribal explanation, “it’s my team so it’s right and you’re wrong”.

P.S. Have to add this as a footnote, not that it’s particularly relevant —

the evidence suggests that political knowledge is higher among students who attend private schools, even after controlling for various demographic variables such as race and family income. I’m not suggesting that private schools necessarily do a great job of teaching history and civics. But they are, on average, doing a better one than government-run schools. Sending all students to public school would further exacerbate the already severe problem of political ignorance.

Maybe that’s the goal…

P.P.S. Another interesting link I found researching, about the effects of just getting disadvantaged people in to college and why that’s not necessarily a mark of success.

Comments — Formatting by Textile
Bret Tuesday, 10 September 2013 at 00:29

If I had to do it over again, I might’ve home schooled. I don’t think the wife would’ve agreed though.

Annoying Old Guy Tuesday, 10 September 2013 at 09:40

One interesting thing I saw pointed out recently is that a century ago, school teachers were generally much better educated than the parents of the school children. That’s no longer the case, which makes home schooling a reasonable choice for far more people. Add the Internet making additional resources far more available, and you may well get Instapundits K-12 implosion.

Hey Skipper Wednesday, 11 September 2013 at 23:15

I’d be a hypocrite if I was a liberal. Our kids went to good public schools because we could afford to buy houses in neighborhoods with good public schools. The difference is, I acknowledge that fact.

Perhaps the worst problem with public schools isn’t public schools, but rather the environment within which they are situated. That isn’t to say publics schools don’t have problems, starting with teacher certification, but my kids, generally speaking, got a decent education with far less time required on our part than home schooling would have done.

Annoying Old Guy Thursday, 12 September 2013 at 06:43


I have seen some good arguments that it’s a function of district size. That is, the quality / efficiency of public education varies inversely with the size of the school district. One reason would be that the larger the district, the easier it is to view it as a patronage job source rather than a service.

In this view, we naturally have the Department of Justice working to prevent the poor and disadvantaged from escaping. Mr. Eagar points out problems with vouchers such as religious dogmatics taking advantage, but the ones who seem to have to pay the price for his opposition are those he claims to be to concerned about.

Jeff Guinn Friday, 13 September 2013 at 02:30

AOG: agreed, with the possible minor exception that from the educational point of view, about 1500 students is (IMHO) the upper limit for school size. 5000 student schools are stupidity on stilts.

I don’t want to absolve the education establishment of its multifarious buffooneries, but the culture within which the school exists is far more important than any pedagogy of the day as to educational outcomes.

If we were to frog march 50,000 Asian American kids into Detroit, the school district’s stats would rocket straight into the stratosphere.

Annoying Old Guy Friday, 13 September 2013 at 08:41


Without a doubt culture matters more than pedagogy. Of course, much of that cultural dead weight flourished under other policies of the MAL.

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