Wednesday, February 17, 2010
John Stossel relays some interesting facts and makes some good observations on how government monopolies hinder education. Although he does not consider the question of public education from the perspective of individual rights or consider deeply how central planning ruins education, Stossel's look at the results of state-run education is quite thought-provoking.
[Education professor James] Tooley spends most of every year in some of the poorest parts of Africa, India and China. For 10 years, he's studied how poor kids do in "free" government schools and -- hold on -- private schools. That's right. In the worst slums, private for-profit schools educate kids better than the government's schools do.Stossel then goes on to show this very folly exhibited on a colossal scale by Barack Obama:
Tooley finds as many as six private schools in small villages. "The majority of (poor) schoolchildren are in private school, and these schools outperform government schools at a fraction of the teacher cost," he says.
Why do parents with meager resources pass up "free" government schools and sacrifice [sic] to send their children to private schools? Because, as one parent told the BBC, the private owner will do something that's virtually impossible in America's government schools: replace teachers who do not teach.
As in America, the elitist establishment in those countries scoffs at the private schools and the parents who choose them. A woman who runs government schools in Nigeria calls such parents "ignoramuses."
But that can't be true. Tooley tested kids in both kinds of schools, and the private-school students score better. [links dropped]
The $166 billion [Head Start] program is 45 years old, so it's had time to prove itself. But guess what: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently found no difference in first-grade test results between kids who went through Head Start and similar kids who didn't. President Obama has repeatedly promised to "eliminate programs that don't work," but he wants to give Head Start a billion more dollars. The White House wouldn't explain this contradiction to me. [link dropped]Stossel doesn't say so, but look at how effectively state control of education can eliminate parental decisions from aiding them in their quest to educate their own children! Obama's already taking some of their money away from them at the outset (making it harder for them to send their children to good schools), and he has proven time and time again that he's not open to suggestions. A school administrator with such an attitude would be fired or run his business into the ground in a free market, limiting the number of minds he could cripple.
While my parents weren't exactly poor, I do know that their decision to send us to private schools was a hardship for them, and it's something I am grateful for to this day. Thanks for being "ignoramuses," Mom and Dad!
Today: Corrected Professor James Tooley's name.