Go, Megan, Go

Best thing I have read all week, from Megan McArdle:

I very rarely get angry about politics. But every time I see some
middle class parent prattling about vouchers "destroying" the public
schools by "cherry picking" the best students, when they've made damn
sure that their own precious little cherries have been plucked out of
the failing school systems, I seethe with barely controllable inward
rage. It is the vilest hypocrisy on display in American politics today.


  1. CRC:

    Wait, I thiought that "destorying the public schools" was a selling point of vouchers.


  2. dearieme:

    I don't know about your country, but in mine (UK) government-provided schooling is an experiment that has failed. If vouchers are the way to displace it, so be it.

  3. tim:

    I consider myself pretty well informed. I hang with friends that are also pretty well informed, very well educated and successful. We get together on Wednesdays and drink beer and talk about current events and politics. I have had the Vouchers debate with them on several occasions and it has been our most contentious debate yet. The line I will never forget them saying to me is "Why do you hate the poor so much." If my friends can't understand the power of competition in schooling then middle america never will. We had an extensive email followup after the debate and they were unaware that Japan and New Zealand both have for profit schools. They were also under the impression that D.C., Detroit, and Milwaukee's voucher programs were total failures.

    I read an article about Appleton Wisconsin public schools who experimented with Charter schools and found the residents very, very happy about the experience. In the article, they interview the school district superintendent who was quoted as saying something to the effect that charter schools seem to be working but we need to make sure that they don't make a profit. I almost cried.

  4. Craig:

    We have a voucher referendum on the ballot here, and you'd think Utah would be conservative enough to support it, but it looks like it's going to lose. People seem to be buying the argument that public schools are good, and would be even better with more money. They also believe that accountability is only worthwhile when it comes from the government, and not from parents. I can only shake my head.

  5. tim:

    Craig, Your comment disturbed me so I did some research: A Victory for vouchers in Utah! This makes my day:

  6. gmee:

    I'll 2nd CRC's remark! I'd love to see a lot more competition among the schools. Charter, private, specialty schools and any others.

    Our two are homeschooled. The Older took the GED and nearly maxed it.

    The Younger took a local standardized test. He's basically 8th grade, took the 9th grade test, and scored at the senior level. We're pretty pleased.

    People WANT to believe in our schools. They don't want to believe the problems. We also want to believe the PR about teachers being so underpaid and the more money thing.

  7. Jim Collins:

    The main problem with the public school system is that like any union job the pay scale is tied to seniority, not job performance. My girlfriend is a teacher with five years at her current position. When the media makes a statement like "the average teacher's salary in this district is $65,000" it means that the salaries of the top 20% are high enough to bring the average of the lower 80% to this level. Another thing is the amount of class time dedicated to certain subjects. I'm still a fan of the 3 R's with some Science thrown in for students at the Elementary level. Problem is that these are being diluted by what ever Liberal topic is the current flavor of the month. Do six year olds really need classes in Diversity and Global Warming?