Sunday, December 04, 2005

Voucher money stolen... oh, and they don't work even when they're not stolen

The NASB reports on theft of voucher funds in Florida and a report in Ohio that shows vouchers students scored no differently than their peers in public schools.

Can we please put this half-baked, overly simplistic, illogical, ideological, lunatic scheme to bed and focus on real substantive educational issues?


Blogger Malcolm Kirkpatrick said...

It would be a mistake to dismiss school voucher policies on the basis of one report of fraud in voucher-accepting schools. Certainly there will be fraud in a school voucher subsidized market, but there is a lot of fraud in the current State-monopoly system,...

...which restricts a parent's options for the use of the taxpayers' pre-college education subsidy to schols operated by the NEA/AFT/AFSCME cartel.

Abundant evidence supports policies which give to parents the power to determine which institution, if any, shall receive the taxpayers' pre-college education subsidy.

Gerard Lassibile and Lucia Navarro Gomez, ["Organization and Efficiency of Educational Systems: some empirical findings", pg. 16, __Comparative Education__, Vol. 36 #1, 2000, Feb.]
"Furthermore, the regression results indicate that countries where private education is more widespread perform significantly better than countries where it is more limited. The result showing the private sector to be more efficient is similar to those found in other contexts with individual data (see, for example, Psucharopoulos, 1987; Jiminez, et. al, 1991).
This finding should convince countries to reconsider policies that reduce the role of the private sector in the field of education".

See also:...
Joshua Angrist, "Randomized Trials and Quasi-Experiments in Education Research",___NBER Reporter___, summer, 2003.

See also... (Massive site. Useful links). (OECD on school vouchers) (voucher study) (Tooley on ind sch),,2092-1669110,00.html (James Tooley on independent schools in Africa)

Beyond a very low level, the education industry exhibits no economies of scale at the delivery end, as it currently operates and the education industry is not a natural monopoly. Natural monopoly and economies of scale are the usual welfare-economic arguments for State operation of an industry. The "public goods" argument for a State (government, generally) role in the education industry implies subsidy and regulation, at most, not State operation.

The agreement between theory and observation should not surprise anyone. I reason axiomatically, here. 1). Most parents love their children and want their children to outlive them. 2) If you live among people there are basically three ways to make a living: i) you can beg, ii) you can steal, iii) you can trade goods and services for other peoples' goods and services. 3) Most parents accept #2 and prefer 2.iii for their children. 4)Therefore, most parents want what taxpayers want from any education system: that children be educated to be contributing members of society.

System insiders are not representative of society at large. The government school system of the US originated in anti-Catholic bigotry and has become an employment program for government workers, a source of padded contracts for politically-connected contractors, and a source of reliable campaign support for cooperative politicians (The Hawaii DOE food service budget rises in even-numbered (i.e., election) years. We --know-- AFSCME members will loot a hospital's food budget to supply Democratic Party fundraisers. That they do this with the Hawaii DOE food service budget is the most likely explanation of the observed fluctuation.

If you believe that the taxpayers' K-12 budget is an --education-- program, tell me why students cannot take the GED at any age, and apply the taxpayers' K-12 subsidy toward tuition at any VA-approved post-secondary institution or toward a wage subsidy at some private-sector employer.

Benjamin Franklin attended school for two years. Thomas Edison
quit school at 13. Hiram Maxim left school at 13 and apprenticed to a machinist. Bertrand Russell was homeschooled. The Beagle captain, Robert FitzRoy started the British Admiralty school at 12 and blazed through what the Admiralty considered a 36 month curriculum (Math through Calculus, navigation, ship handling and gunnery, fencing, dancing, History, classical and modern languages) in 20 months. The singer Jewell was homeschooled. In their area of expertise, G.F. Handel was largely self-taught, as were Billie Holiday, Joss Stone, Yngwie Malmstein, and Karen Carpenter. (One page. Marvin Minsky comment on school. Please read this.)

Even if a voucher-subsidized competitive education market were somewhat less cost-effective, in terms of test points per dollar of subsidy, than a State monopoly system, there would be a good case for denying the State a role in the education business. Contrary to NEA propaganda, State operation of schools is a threat to democracy. It's totalitarian countries which compel attendance at State-operated indoctrination centers.

"The terrifying thing about modern dictatorships is that they are something entirely unprecedented. Their end cannot be foreseen. In the past, every tyranny was sooner or later overthrown, or at least resisted because of "human nature," which as a matter of course desired liberty. But we cannot be at all certain that human nature is constant. It may be just as possible to produce a breed of men who do not wish for liberty as to produce a breed of hornless cows. The Inquisition failed, but then the Inquisition had not the resources of the nodern state. The radio, press censorship, standardized education and the secret police have alterted everything. Mass suggestion is a
science of the last twenty years, and we do not know how successful it will be." --George Orwell-- Review of __Russia under Soviet Rule__ by N. de Basily" (__Essays__,George Orwell, Knopf, 2002).

"One has only to to think of the sinister possibilities of the radio, State-controlled education, and so forth, to realize that 'the truth is great and will prevail' is a prayer rather than an axiom." --George Orwell [Review of __Power; A New Social Analysis__ by Bertrand Russell].

6:47 PM  
Blogger Malcolm Kirkpatrick said...

PS. While I believe that school vouchers would be a big step up from the current policy, which restricts a parent's options for the use of the taxpayers' pre-college education subsidy to schools operated by the NEA/AFT/AFSCME cartel, I prefer a policy I call Parent performance Contracting (tm). Under Parent performance Contracting, your legislature would mandate that school districts hire parents on personal service contracts to provide for their children's education, if the parents apply for the contract. Count children as enrolled inthe school they would otherwise attend. Make payment equal to some fraction 0 < a/b < 1 of the school's per-pupil regular-ed budget. Make payment contingent on performance at or above age-level expectations on standardized tests of reading vocabulary, reading comprehension (any language) and Math. Parents could then homeschool, hire tutors, extend day care to age 18, or supplement the contract fee and send their children to independent schools. PPC provides parents with a wider range of options than does a school voucher policy. PPC provides greater financial and performance accountability than either school vouchers or the current system. PPC poses less of a threat to the autonomy of independent schools than does a school voucher policy. Since schools already hire contractors on personal service contracts and since children remain enrolled, there is no sense in which PPC "takes money from public education" or "from public schools". PPC elides the whole Church/State separation argument.

7:10 PM  

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