Green Party calls for a Student Debt Jubilee

Green Party Speakers Bureau: Greens available to speak on education policy: http://www.gp.org/speakers/speakers-education.php

WASHINGTON, DC — Green Party leaders spoke out on education at the beginning of the New Year and called for a student debt jubilee and free tuition to state colleges and universities in 2013.

Jill Stein, 2012 Green Party nominee for President: “A student debt jubilee, with forgiveness for all student loans, would be more than just a New Year’s gift for students and former students enduring crushing student loan debt while facing dim prospects in today’s job market. Freeing students from the debt trap would be comparable to the GI Bill, enacted after World War II, which sent millions of veterans to college and helped jumpstart America’s postwar period of unprecedented prosperity. Instead of buying up $40 billion a month in toxic mortgage securities, we should be buying up student loans and forgiving them. Instead of bailing out the banks, whose waste, fraud, and abuse caused the economic crisis, we should be bailing out the students who are the victims of that crisis.”

Alex Shantz, Youth Caucus delegate to the Green Party’s National Committee and co-chair for the Green Party of California: “Students in the U.S. are being cheated. Skyrocketing tuition costs have burdened today’s students with tens of thousands of dollars in debt, sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars as interest compounds. Financial sector companies, including Sallie Mae, have turned higher education into a scheme for indentured servitude, with many students stuck in low-paying jobs. The current system is creating compliant workers for Big Business and is resegregating our schools by race and economic class. Meanwhile, students in Europe enjoy free or low-cost college tuition at state-run colleges and universities.”

Samantha Rocknowski, co-chair of the Green Party’s Youth Caucus: “I have about $43,000 in student loans, and I’m still without a full-time job a year after finishing school, for all the money I spent getting a higher education. There are millions of college graduates with debts like mine or worse (http://libertystreeteconomics.newyorkfed.org/2012/03/grading-student-loans.html). We need a student movement against the debt trap and mounting tuition costs — a movement that’s comparable to the student protests of the 1960s. Jill Stein made the $1 trillion student debt crisis and the need for drastic change a top priority in her campaign as the Green Party’s 2012 presidential nominee. This debt is a drag on the U.S. economy, while bipartisan austerity measures, combined with high military spending and tax cuts for the wealthy, are only creating more debt and making more students and graduates helpless. We urge students in the U.S. to stand up and protest — like the students in Quebec who demonstrated en masse against tuition hikes in 2012 and won concessions.”

See also:

“Eliminate tuition, student debt, says Stein as campus protests spread nationally”
Jill Stein for President, March 1, 2012
http://www.jillstein.org/occupy_education

“Higher education in peril: Students take a stand for the Green Party”
Jill Stein for President, November 4, 2012
http://www.jillstein.org/higher_education

“Green Party recognizes and welcomes Green Youth Caucus”
Green Party press release, December 5, 2012
http://www.gp.org/press/pr-national.php?ID=573

“Is Education a Human Right or a Privilege for the Wealthy?”
By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers, Truthout, December 13, 2012
http://truth-out.org/news/item/13299-is-education-a-human-right-or-a-privilege-for-the-wealthy

Youth Caucus
http://www.gp.org/caucuses/youth
http://www.facebook.com/GPUSyouth

MORE INFORMATION

Green Party of the United States http://www.gp.org
202-319-7191

Green candidate database and campaign information: http://www.gp.org/elections.shtml

News Center http://www.gp.org/newscenter.shtml
Speakers Bureau http://www.gp.org/speakers
Ballot Access Page http://www.gp.org/2012/ballot-access.html
Video Page http://www.gp.org/video/index.php
Green Papers http://www.greenpapers.net/
Google+ http://www.gp.org/google
Twitter http://twitter.com/gpus
Livestream Channel http://www.livestream.com/greenpartyus
GP-TV Twitter page http://www.gp.org/twitter
Facebook page http://www.gp.org/facebook

Green Pages: The official publication of record of the Green Party of the United States
http://gp.org/greenpages-blog

40 thoughts on “Green Party calls for a Student Debt Jubilee

  1. Root's Teeth Are Awesome

    Debtors should pay their debts. It’s a moral obligation.

    So some student borrowed a fortune for a PhD. in gender studies, and now works at Starbucks? In debt for life? Tough.

    Why should taxpayers subsidize your idiot educational purchases (which is what loan forgiveness amounts to)?

  2. Slam In A Y-Trap

    Government involvement in education funding along with loan guarantees has caused a price spiral in education prices. The same thing has happened with medicine.

    When it comes to medicine, the big insurance and phramaceutical companies are the government’s partners in crime. When it comes to education, much as with the housing bubble of the last decade, it’s the banks. Wall street speculators are also in on the profiteering, betting on bad debts much as they did with the housing market.

    Maybe Jill Stein is right…time to tell the crony corporatists to take a hike and let them eat their debt.

  3. Catholic Trotskyist

    Poor people should not be personally responsible for their education debts. They should be paid by the parasitic capitalist billionaires. Cut taxes to 0 for all making less than 100000. Millionaires should have no rights.

  4. marzak

    Why don’t the greens just call themselves democrats? What if you don’t want to be” green”?What if motorboats and ATV’s make you happy?Too bad?

  5. Root's Teeth Are Awesome

    @ 4: Government involvement in education funding along with loan guarantees has caused a price spiral in education prices.

    True, but … so what?

    Students knew the high cost before taking out the loan, so they’re not morally off the hook.

  6. paulie Post author

    @6 I don’t understand your question. That’s like saying “what if you like to initiate violence” or “what if you like to work for the government or get welfare” to a libertarian. Or asking what if you like entrepreneurship and business to a socialist. And so on.

    Greens believe that environmentally irresponsible individual behavior is killing the planet and thus is everyone’s business, not just a matter of personal choice.

  7. Green_Liberal

    Our society is it is dominated by a corporate elite (which desires to maintain their class privileges) and not the people. There is no area where this domination is more obvious then in education and certification.

    USA citizens enjoy broken public K-12 systems, absurd college prices and absurd gulag rates for those who don’t make it in the system. Adding to the difficulty is that the USA can (and does) simply use the educational services of other nations to meet the needs of industry. The profits from finance and war profiteering keep the economy afloat and the GOP/Libertarian types remain safe in fantasyland…but its a bubble waiting to burst.

    Ultimately a rational and modern system of education would offer knowledge and instruction free to all, with as little state certification muddying the market as possible.

    Imagine if law school and medical school were both offered free of charge (with minimal fees only for actual face-to-face services like tutoring, testing, labs, certifications, etc). The prices for law and medicine would come down drastically just as availability would shoot up, as we can plainly see by looking at the example of other nations.

    Now think about how it is now. To get through law school, a student has to take out some 100K in debt. Now what are the implications of this indebtedness for the student and his ability to practice law ethically, according to justice and his/her conscience? What percentage of lawyers are able to rise above the temptation to serve the interests of the status quo and hence pay off their debts and make a good living?

    There is also plenty of reason to believe that society in general would be better off with a more educated populace, and plenty of evidence that TPTB are determined to keep the people in a largely degraded state, distracted by mindless entertainment mediums.

    For the present, no I don’t support forgiveness of all student debt. However, forgiving up to 10K in FEDERALLY SUBSIDIZED LOANS for every student that qualifies…..this would be a much more fair and sensible government appropriation then handing the money over to the big banks. Consider that if you don’t pay your loans, then eventually federal loans are extracted directly from paychecks…the new serfdom.

    We can’t forget the real cause of the problem–spiraling educational costs within a corporatist system. All “tuition” ought to be free, as it is is many civilized nations. The Internet provides a means to offer educational opportunities to all people, regardless of station.

  8. Steve

    Wow, what a slap in the face to all of us who worked our way through college, went to community colleges and took clep tests to save money, borrowed modest amounts for the rest and are paying our loans back faster than our creditors demand.

    I’ve been out of college for 4 years, not working in my field because I was sidetracked by a failed business venture, and still managed to pay off 2/3 of my student loans. I’ll probably wipe the rest off the books this year. Sacrifice and personal responsibility, try it sometime Greens, you might like it!

    But while you’re handing out free stuff, I could use a new car. I’ll take a hybrid, that’s probably what I’ll be buying anyway, again personal responsibility and all. In fact, look under your chair! You get a car, you get a car, everyone gets a car! :-)

  9. Green_Liberal

    I don’t dispute that people with 43K in student debt used poor judgement if they contracted such debt without getting a degree in a field that pays extremely well.

    But we can’t ignore that the “American dream” is a large part of what motivated these students to take out such sums of money…. We can accurately condemn young individuals for bad judgement, but we can’t ignore that the role of education and propaganda in shaping those judgements. And loans rarely apply to monied individuals….and even if a monied individual has large amounts of loans, they will have more opportunities for profit then someone from a poor background.

    So much for equality of opportunity…..

    Expressions of ressentiment against young people calling for student loan forgiveness may feel nice, but they are a ruse and a distraction. The real issue is spiraling tuition costs that make equality of opportunity a myth and underline the ever increasing class gulf in America.

  10. Wes Wagner

    I think the Green Party should consider another possible position on this matter:

    Abolish the special protections student loans have under bankruptcy law.

    This makes the lenders and the borrowers have the same liability relationship as any other form of debt. Lenders make shoddy loans… well they can lose their shirt in bankruptcy court. Take out loans you can’t afford … welcome to bankruptcy court.

  11. Deran

    Student loans have become similar to the housing mortgages. Deregulation of financial services and the propaganda abt the “American Dream” and the propaganda abt how anyone can become a 1%er all lead to building massive debts that benefit Wall Street speculators.

    Since the US has become post-industrial there are fewer and fewer jobs that pay wages that afford people the opportunities of social advancement that their parents enjoyed. The propaganda has been that only if all Americans get college degrees can they maintain the “American Dream”. Very much the same as the hype abt the “American Dream” must include housing ownership.

    One thing I do agree with the Greens about is their support of rent stabilization regs to make it so working people can hold lower paying jobs and yet have stability in their lives. Such regs would reduce the drive to participate in the college and housing ownership ponzi schemes.

    And the notion that all these people are Liberal Arts grads seems sort of vicious and petty. College grads I know when large student debt tend to be in technology, engineering and medical professions.

  12. Slam In A Y-Trap

    “Students knew the high cost before taking out the loan, so they’re not morally off the hook.”

    Large corporate and government institutions form mutually beneficial parasitic arrangements at the expense of most of us.

    The people at the bottom and middle of these pyramid often make choices such as

    *Taking on housing, student and medical debt

    *Joining the military

    *Receiving government assistance

    *Taking government jobs such as police, prison guards, teachers

    *Taking jobs at large government-contractor crony capitalist firms

    *Dealing drugs or other criminal activities which land them in the police-prison-court system

    *Getting subsidized medical care, education, housing, etc

    These choices are in response to the artificially limited choices presented by those colluding to be and remain at the top using government force.

    I would place most of the blame at the top of that pyramid of power, and relatively little at the bottom or even in the middle.

  13. Be Rational

    Government schools in the US and around the world have failed. The quality of education they offer is abysmal. But, as we all should know by now, you get what you pay for. Pay nothing and that’s what you get.

    If we want the people to have the chance to obtain a good education we need to eliminate all government schools and give up on the failed socialist notion of “free” education.

    If we eliminate the government-controlled, fascist-socialist education monopoly and the associated regulations and taxes, we can set up private schools at half the cost per student with only 5 students per class, where classes are organized according to the level and ability of the students and advancement is at a pace that fits the ability and ambition of each individual student; better education and lower cost. Only the government stands in the way.

    People who pay their own way will be able to select the best education opportunities that fit their needs and the needs of their children. They will get better educations, spend less time in actual classrooms – most of which is currently just wasted, no longer suffer from the very large percentage of unfit and unqualified teachers who currently dominate the current failed system, no longer be forced to suffer with masses of students who don’t fit together, and we will all pay less for high quality, free market schools than the taxes we pay now for the “free” fascist-socialist government schools.

  14. Green_Liberal

    @15 well you will never get primary education reform until you accept the concept of vouchers for everyone. Otherwise, people will simply assume privatization is a scam to take away their rights and further enslave/impoverish them. Strategically, your approach is all wrong, and it really does favor the rich, since apparently you are making no attempt to provide funding to the education of the poor.

    It’s true that education is an area where free markets can help. But it’s naive to think you can get rid of public education—public education plays a vital role in the economic well-being of the nation and the preservation of justice. Namely, it provides an arena where citizens are educated in a common culture and mores AND it is the main avenue for meritocracy or equality of opportunity. Any free-market public education system has to be able to achieve these goals just as well or better than the current system.

    We can all have the benefits from free-market education that you describe without giving up the right of every American citizen to a quality education. If we give up our right to education, then sooner or later (sorry bro, human nature is imperfect) the educational system will be just as class-based and stratified as other aspects of society. The people (rightfully) fear such an outcome.

  15. paulie Post author

    Strategically, your approach is all wrong, and it really does favor the rich, since apparently you are making no attempt to provide funding to the education of the poor.

    Literacy levels were much higher at the time of the American Revolution – Common Sense distributed 300,000 copies, the equivalent of 30 million today vis a vis population, and I highly doubt that anything like 30 million people in the US now would come even close to being able to understand anything on that level today. And keep in mind that slaves were not allowed to learn to read!

    I somehow doubt that only the well off were among those who read it. What’s more, income distribution was generally more equitable, particularly in states that had few or no slaves – there were many independent farmers and small business owners. We now have bigger government, bigger corporations, and fewer people working independently.

    Any free-market public education system has to be able to achieve these goals just as well or better than the current system.

    See http://www.ruwart.com/Healing/chap10.html

  16. Green_Liberal

    @16 It’s kind of ironic that to cite revolutionaries reading Thomas Paine to support an argument for abolishing public education, given Paine’s views on the subject.

    Revolutionary America was a different society. I’m skeptical that literacy rates were higher but it wouldn’t totally surprise me, given the large proportion of Christians (of the Bible reading type). As for equality, agrarian societies will have more material equality than urban technological societies.

    I support radical free-market education reforms. However, we won’t get anywhere useful by devaluing education per se. Education and enlightenment are critical to solving humanity’s most urgent problemse. For the good of every individual on the planet, not only quality primary education but also quality higher education should (in principle) be free and accessible to all.

  17. paulie Post author

    As for equality, agrarian societies will have more material equality than urban technological societies.

    The whole world was agrarian back then, yet the relatively more free market parts of it had greater income equality.

    Likewise, the authoritarian nations, mostly poor (and many still heavily agrarian) today have far more wealth inequality than we do.

    However, we won’t get anywhere useful by devaluing education per se.

    Not at all what I’m suggesting. Did you get a chance to read http://www.ruwart.com/Healing/chap10.html ?

  18. paulie Post author

    Here it is for anyone unwilling to follow a link; hopefully at least some people will read it.


    How can our children learn to abhor aggression when we teach them in a school system built on it?

    At the turn of the century, horses were still the mainstay of the transportation industry. Today, automobiles and planes take us all over the world. Most of our great-grandparents remember using Rockefeller’s kerosene to light their homes. Today, electricity and natural gas provide light, heat, and power for innumerable appliances. Just a few generations ago, infectious disease was the most frequent cause of death. Today, most bacterial plagues are effectively controlled with antibiotic treatment. In most areas of our lives, radical progress has been made over the past century. Unfortunately, education is one of those rare exceptions.

    In the early 1900s, our great-grandparents trudged off to the neighborhood school. For the better part of the day, the teacher stood in front of the class, chalk in hand, to expound on lessons contained in the school books. To-day, our children might ride a bus to their neighborhood school, but once there, every-thing is very similar to the way it was for our great-grandparents. For the better part of the day, the teacher stands in front of the class, chalk in hand, to expound on the lessons contained in the school books. The facilities are newer and the curriculum includes some ad-ditional subjects, but the teaching methods have changed little.

    The cost of doing things the same old way, however, has skyrocketed. Only national defense consumes more of our taxes than the public school system. (1) In spite of this great expenditure, a survey on education finds the United States “A Nation at Risk.” (2) Almost 25% of our high school students do not graduate, and another 25% have too few academic qualifications to be placed in a job or college program. (3) Even those in the top 50% of their graduating class frequently find themselves classified as unskilled labor. After a 25-year decline in scholastic aptitude tests (SATs), (4) our best and brightest compare unfavorably to students from other nations. (5)

    Perhaps we shouldn’t be too surprised. Af-ter all, our grade school and high school educations are examples of Fourth Layer ag-gression. The educational system is basically an exclusive monopoly (Second Layer aggres-sion). All schools, even private ones, must meet the requirements of the accreditation (licensing) boards. Such boards usually dictate the core curriculum, the list of acceptable textbooks, and the educational standards for teachers. (6) High prices, low quality, and lack of innovation are hallmarks of licensing laws, especially exclusive ones that create monopolies.

    Education is heavily subsidized by taxes (Third Layer aggression). Subsidies cause waste, especially when services are provided by the government. Public schools consume twice as many dollars in operating costs as do private ones. (7) The amount of money spent per pupil, however, does not significantly affect educational quality. (8) The real waste is not money, however, but the minds of our children. A poor education means fewer skills with which to create wealth. As always, aggression breeds poverty.

    School-age children are forced at gun-point, if necessary to attend a licensed school (Fourth Layer aggression). Because we want all children to get a good education, we view tuition-free public schools and mandatory attendance as a way to ensure that neglectful parents are not allowed to deny their children this valuable asset. As always, aggression gives us results we’d rather not have. Specifically, Fourth Layer aggression allow others to control the way we think about our world, just as it allows an elite group to control our finances (Chapter 9: Banking on Aggression).

    The Marketplace Ecosystem: Honoring Our Neighbor’s Choice

    Early in our country’s history, Americans were considered to be among the most literate people in the world. (9) Schooling was neither compulsory nor free, although private “charity” schools provided education to those too poor to afford formal instruction. (10) Licensing requirements for teachers and schools were almost non-existent. In the early 1800s, Boston had schools that were partially tax-supported public institutions, but twice as many children attended the private ones. Admission to these public schools required that the students already have been taught to read and write either by their family, a tutor, or one of the private “dames” schools. (11) Nevertheless, a survey in 1817 revealed that over 90% of Boston’s children attended the local schools! Evidently, only a few parents were too proud to take charity, didn’t feel schooling was of much value, taught their children at home, or needed the extra income the child could make working. (12) Education was readily available for those who chose to take advantage of it. Not surprisingly, school attendance in New York City showed no change after the establishment of tuition-free public education. (13)

    Parents had a variety of schools from which to choose, especially among institutions that were not restricted by conditions attached to state support. Some schools prepared students for the university and some taught the trades. Some schools provided a broad-based education, while others focused on a particular area of expertise. Private tutoring was available for those unable to attend ordinary day school. The marketplace ecosystem, free from aggression, quickly adapted to consumer needs. Parents voted with their dollars to support the educators who served them best. In this way, parents determined both the content and process by which their children would be educated.

    Aggression Disrupts the Marketplace Ecosystem

    The diverse education available in the United States greatly pleased the immigrants, who came from societies where their children could not go to a school that taught the values they cherished. Some influential citizens, however, felt that society was disrupted, rather than enriched, by the different perspectives and faiths that the immigrants brought with them. With a uniform system of “American” education, they could mold children into what they perceived as proper citizens. They clamored to increase the aggression of taxation so that public schools wouldn’t need to charge much tuition. Parents would be forced at gunpoint, if necessary to turn over their hard-earned dollars to the public schools. If they were wealthy enough to have any money left, their children could still go to the private school of their choice. Like the serpent in the Garden of Eden, the so-called reformers tempted the American citizenry to use aggression against the poor immigrants, ostensibly to create harmony throughout the land.

    Many immigrants had come to the United States to escape this holier-than-thou attitude. In spite of the additional financial burden, impoverished immigrants made great sacrifices to educate their children as they saw fit rather than send them to inexpensive or even free public schools. Catholics saw the public schools as vehicles for Protestant propaganda and established parochial schools; German immigrants sent their children to private institutions when the public ones refused to teach them in German as well as in English. Immigrants who preferred that their children be taught in their native tongue and learn about their Old World heritage opted for private or parochial schools that catered to their preferences. (14)

    The willingness of poor parents to send their children to private instead of public school tells us how highly they valued education, specifically, education that reflected their belief system and culture. Many people had come to the United States for a chance to pull themselves away from the poverty trap spun by Europe’s guild-style licensing laws and other forms of aggression. Perhaps they didn’t want their children in schools that were created by the kind of aggression from which they had recently fled. Perhaps they feared that schools built on aggression would teach aggression. If that seems farfetched, consider your own education. As you’ve read through the past few chapters, have you been saying to yourself, “That’s not the way my teachers told me the world worked”?

    Can you imagine a school system that is funded by taxation hiring a teacher who equated taxation with theft? Such a teacher would be unlikely to seek a job in the public school system in the first place. Obviously then, public school teachers are highly likely to believe that selfish others are the cause of war and poverty and that altering their behavior at gunpoint, if necessary is justified even noble. From this perspective, children will be taught that first-strike force, fraud, or theft is acceptable as long as it’s for a good cause. An obvious underlying assumption of this philosophy is that the ends are not influenced by the means used to obtain them. To parents with an enlightened view of how the world works, this is analogous to teaching their child that 2 + 2 = 5! Unfortunately, these are the beliefs that are being propagated. These are the beliefs that are keeping us from a world of peace and plenty.

    We interpret facts according to our world view. If our interpretation is correct, we will do the things that take us to our goal. We will be able to create peace and plenty in our hearts, our families, our communities, and our world. If our interpretation is faulty, we will create problems instead of solving them. No wonder parents who wanted the best for their children were willing to make great sacrifices to send them to a school that would complement their home instruction!

    The immigrants not only wanted their children instructed according to their faith and culture, they wanted their children to develop readily marketable technical skills. Since school boards were drawn from the upper class and professional groups, curricula tended to be geared toward a liberal arts education as preparation for college. (15) Those who could not afford to pay public school taxes and private school tuition sometimes opted for informal instruction in the trades or home schooling.

    Some immigrant children worked because their families needed their support. (16) Today, our society is wealthy enough that child labor is usually unnecessary, but this was not true in the 1800s. Immigrant children, especially those on farms, contributed substantially to their family’s financial well-being. When the family’s financial condition improved, the level of the children’s education did too. (17) This pat-tern suggests that rather than being “exploitation,” child labor was a matter of necessity and was dispensed with as soon as possible. Since schooling was not compulsory, children could mix work and school as necessary to strike a balance between creating enough wealth to survive and learning long-range wealth- creating strategies in school. Of course, working was also a form of education. It gave the child experience, skills, and accountability training. Employers look for experience. By forbidding children to work, we deny them an excellent educational opportunity.

    Compulsory school attendance made it more difficult for children to obtain work experience. Children were less available for learning a trade or obtaining employment when they had to be in school for many months each year. Without the ability to mix work and school, private education became less affordable. Private education was an option only for children with parents wealthy enough to pay for private school tuition in addition to the taxes that supported free public schools.

    As always, when we sow the seeds of aggression, we reap the bitter fruit. The reformers were successful in getting education by aggression but the results have not been what they desired. Because children are required by law to be in school, the public institutions find themselves saddled with some individuals who have little motivation to learn. Although these children can be disruptive, sometimes even violent, expelling them is not a legal option. As attendance has risen, so has theft, drugs, and violence perpetrated by students unmotivated by the curriculum. (18) As attendance has increased, SAT scores have declined (Figure 10.1), suggesting that keeping problem students in school adversely affects learning for other students.

    In response to schools that cannot educate or even guarantee student safety, many parents have chosen to keep their children out of schools and teach them at home. In many states, home schooling is legal only if a state-certified teacher is instructing. Parents without certification have been fined or jailed for home schooling, even when the education has been progressing well.

    The Amish have been persecuted as well. These closely knit rural communities shun modern technology and embrace a simple, non-violent way of life. They found that standard curricula encouraged a materialistic and violent perspective that was incongruent with their spiritual beliefs. Certified teachers were ill-equipped to teach the Amish children the values the community cherished. In addition, certified teachers were more expensive than their Amish counterparts.

    Reprinted with permission of the National Center for Policy Analysis

    The Amish believe secondary education should consist of learning agricultural and domestic skills, rather than the liberal arts and science. Instead of honoring their choice, aggression is used to herd their children into the schools of “the one best system.” While we deplore historical references to the persecution of early scientists, such as Galileo, we feel comfortable in dictating the choices of those who prefer a life without technology. If the Amish tried to force our children to learn their ways, we’d be appalled; yet we feel justified in doing to them what we don’t want done to us.

    Of course, well-to-do parents needn’t worry about persecution or home schooling or even paying private school tuition in addition to school taxes. They congregate in expensive neighborhoods where only “their kind” can afford to live. Their local public schools cater to their values. Indeed, the suburban public schools have become more exclusive than the private ones. (19)

    On the other side of the tracks, parents too poor to move from the ghetto shudder at the prospect of sending their children to neighborhood public schools where violence prevails and learning is difficult. Through their rents, they pay a large portion of their income for the property taxes that support schools they dare not send their children to. Instead, they’ve started to enroll their children in the local parish or independent neighborhood schools even if they have to pay tuition with their welfare checks! (20) As a result, the proportion of minorities in private schools increased from the early 1970s to the early 1980s, even though tuition costs continued to rise. (21) In the late 1970s, more private school students came from families in which the parents earned between $5,000 and $10,000 a year than from families with incomes of $25,000 or better. (22)

    The minorities and low-income families are not the only ones choosing private education for their children, however. Public school teachers, who ought to be best informed, are twice as likely as the rest of the population to send their children to private schools! (23)

    Obviously, parents choosing private schools do so for reasons other than their religious beliefs or their concern for their children’s safety. Public schools are doing such a poor job of teaching students, that many children are being sent to private after-school learning centers, (24) which were virtually non-existent a generation ago. Private schools nationwide are much more successful at teaching students than public schools are. This difference was obvious to me even as a high school student. Students from the Catholic schools took a higher proportion of awards at the Science Fair than public school students did. A 1987 study found the reason: parents can choose to take their children and their dollars elsewhere if schools don’t meet their standards. (25)

    One innovative private institution charges less than half of the dollars consumed by the public system, even though it caters to students who are about to drop out of school. Using computer technology and a low student to teacher ratio, the school boasts an 85% graduation rate. (26) The founder of this school is a former public school teacher who just couldn’t convince the bureaucracy to try something new.

    The secret behind the success of private schools is less aggression. Parents are not forced at gunpoint, if necessary to send their children to the neighborhood public school. Instead, they can remove their child if they are not satisfied with the educational content or process and can enroll them elsewhere. Removing even a tiny amount of aggression from public education has a beneficial effect. For example, public schools in Harlem were encouraged to each take on an individual specialty, one emphasizing science and math, another encouraging the performing arts, and still another providing special attention for those with learning difficulties. Parents could choose which school their child would attend. If things didn’t work, they could move to another. Schools had to either perform or lose their clientele. The results are impressive. Before “choice,” only 15% of the district’s students read at grade level; now 64% make the grade. (27) Similar results have been reported in other areas of the country. (28) No wonder the poor and the minorities are the strongest supporters of educational choice that is engendered by less aggression. (29)

    The Easy Way Out

    If such a little freedom from aggression goes such a long way, what might we expect if we were willing to forgo it altogether? If we honored our neighbor’s choice, what educational heights could we aspire? Let’s try to imagine what a successful school might look like if education were totally deregulated (i.e., completely free from aggression).

    Quest, Inc., might be such a school. Larger than most high schools before deregulation, it’s still expanding to accommodate the large number of student applicants. Quest’s success is largely due to its effective use of computers and audiovisual equipment, which have long been known to double a student’s learning. (30)

    Both of Carol’s parents work and are easily able to pay her tuition at Quest. Some of Carol’s classes begin with a professionally produced, entertaining video produced by a company that sells exclusively to schools. This company pays royalties to any teacher whose ideas for improvements or new subjects are incorporated. Continuous updating ensures that the videos use the best ideas and methods to maintain the student’s interest.

    After the video, students go into one of several “query” classrooms where the resident teacher answers any questions the students may have. Different students relate best to different teachers; letting the students gravitate to those who “speak their language” facilitates understanding. Not all Quest teachers have advanced degrees, but all in-structors must facilitate students’ learning. Teachers who can’t attract students to their query sessions won’t be at Quest very long. Teachers who do especially well are given bonuses and asked to share their techniques with other Quest faculty members. Teachers reap as they sow.

    When their questions are satisfied, students proceed through an interactive computer program that tests their new knowledge gained from the video. Students who do not properly answer the computers’ queries review the relevant part of the lesson on the computer in a different format, and the student is retested later in the session. Students may then opt for more sophisticated problems or mini-lessons to extend their knowledge.

    The programming is designed according to a student’s strengths and weaknesses. Carol excels in history and the social sciences and does poorly in math and the sciences. When she keys in her password on the computer, she accesses the math problems formulated in terms of historical events. Sometimes Carol finds the math video so confusing that she spends all her time in the query session, never getting to the computer at all. Since her family has a home computer, she can either take a disk home to catch up or stay after class, since Quest staff is available from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. This format lets ambitious teens work and go to school part-time.

    Some teens are actually placed in jobs by Quest. Students aspiring to be scientists or doctors, for example, cannot be sure they have made the appropriate choice until they actually find themselves immersed in the type of work they have chosen. Quest cultivates relationships with good employers/mentors to expose students to work environments (e.g., hospitals or laboratories) before students need to make definitive career choices. Before deregulation, students might be in their last year of college before they actually held the type of job for which they had spent so much time learning.

    The instructors enjoy working at Quest, Inc., because they can do what they were trained to do teach. The repetition is taken out of their jobs by the extensive series of professionally produced videos and computer learning programs provided for the students. Some teachers supplement their income by preparing audio-visual texts in their specialty. Teachers devote most of their time to answering students’ questions, guiding them toward the curriculum most suited to their needs, or teaching essay writing and other skills that do not lend themselves to electronic instruction.

    The computer summarizes each student’s progress, so teachers can monitor what each child is learning on a regular basis and give special attention when needed. Since they are paid partially in stock certificates and they share in school profits, teachers make sure all students meet their predefined targets.

    For example, Carol’s counselor explained that her exceptional grasp of the socialsciences and her weaker understanding of math and the sciences gave her several options. She could spend more time on science and math to match her proficiency in other areas. Alternatively, she could elect to focus only on the basics in math and the sciences while earning college credit in her specialties. Most colleges expect applicants to take some of the privately administered national tests to be sure prospective students meet college standards. High school diplomas are a thing of the past. Instead, students continue until satisfied that their test scores indicate the proficiency level they had targeted. By age 12, most Quest students have the equivalent of an old-style high school diploma. Most also have at least one work reference from on-the-job training.

    Problems with drugs or violence are virtually non-existent, since students are suspended for the first offense and expelled for recurrence. If they choose to, expelled students can still get a Quest education through the home-study program described below.

    Social interaction is integrated into the curriculum. Children are instructed in how to tutor younger siblings and classmates, engage in constructive teamwork, and practice leadership by taking turns coordinating cooperative assignments. Some of this instruction is intertwined with physical education or work-study assignments.

    Quest is less expensive overall than the old-style public school system, for a number of reasons. Because of the advanced technology, students learn faster and spend less time in school. Teachers are able to give whatever level of attention is needed to maximize each student’s learning. Bureaucracy is minimized, and teachers are discharged if they aren’t proficient.

    Nevertheless, the yearly tuition is still beyond the means of many who would like to see their children go there. Pete’s father, for example, never finished high school and works as a janitor for a small hotel. He wants his son to have the best education money can buy but he doesn’t have the money to buy much. Quest enrolled Pete in the parent-student work-study program. The school assigns Pete’s dad evening and weekend janitorial and maintenance work under the watchful eye of the full-time school maintenance supervisor. Most of the non-teaching function of the school is provided this way. Eventually, Pete will do his part by supervising younger children as they watch the teaching videos, working with the cafeteria staff, and tutoring less-advanced students. Pete will not only get a Quest education, but a work reference as well.

    Stephanie Baker’s single mother wants her daughter to get a Quest education. Tuition, however, is beyond her means, and work-study is difficult because Stephanie’s bedridden grandmother requires constant supervision. By providing the day school to three children with working mothers, Mrs. Baker pays for the rental of Quest video tapes and workbooks for Stephanie. Computer software is available too, but Stephanie’s mother doesn’t have a home computer. The children watch teaching videos, then use their workbooks to solve problems and test their understanding. Mrs. Baker answers their questions and helps them as much as she can. Every two weeks, the children are given a Quest test. Quest provides the children with recommendations for further studies. For example, one child had trouble with math and received a special series of videos and workbooks for his homework. As the children get older, they begin tutoring in their neighborhood to pay for the formal testing that colleges and employers frequently require.

    The children Stephanie has tutored got most of their schooling from one of the cable television stations that carry programmed learning courses. For a monthly fee slightly higher than the entertainment channels, a family can order the educational programs geared to the ages of their children. Some parents have gotten each child his or her own television, and learning becomes an all-day affair at home. Workbooks and textbooks come with the cable subscription, complete with answer books to test questions. A number of correspondence courses are also available for subjects in which a professional’s evaluation is desirable (e.g., essay writing).

    Even less expensive are the TV-schooling channels supported by advertising. Many churches combine day care and education by providing space for volunteers to use. To keep the attention of the young people, the videos tend to be highly participatory. Children sing their alphabet to catchy jingles and march around the room chanting historical dates, names, and happenings. Madison Avenue techniques are used to produce stimulating programs so that the firms would pay top dollar to sponsor them. Some of this programming was pioneered before deregulation and was available in a few futurist locations. (31)

    With all of the options available at costs ranging from substantial to trivial, few children are unschooled. The exceptions tend to be children of parents who despise education of any kind. Since family background is a significant factor in a child’s scholastic achievement, many of these children would not have benefited by any kind of schooling. Before deregulation, these children would have disrupted the learning of others with drugs and violence, while learning little.

    Now they do have a chance. The local Kiwanis and Rotary Clubs run newspaper advertisements asking concerned citizens to help them identify such children, hoping to get their parents’ permission to get them special teaching assistance. With advertised educational TV channels widely available, few such children were located. People smart enough to want to learn are smart enough to tune the selector button to the channel that has what they want!

  19. paulie Post author

    And from the sidebar:

    In no other industry in U.S. history has there been so little technological change as in the field of public school education.

    - National Center for Policy Analysis, “The Failure of Our Public Schools: The Causes and a Solution”

    Only 20 percent of job applicants at Motorola can pass a simple seventh-grade test of English comprehension or a fifth-grade mathematics test.

    - Nation’s Business, October 1988

    Of the Aquarian Conspirators surveyed, more were involved in education than in any other single category of work… Their consensus: Education is one of the least dynamic of institutions, lagging far behind… other elements of our society.

    - Marilyn Ferguson, THE AQUARIAN CONSPIRACY

    Historically, much of the motivation for public schooling has been to stifle variety and institute social control.

    - Jack Hugh, Cato Institute

    …public schooling often ends up to be little more than majoritarian domination of minority viewpoints.

    - Robert B. Everhart, Professor of Education, University of California, Santa Barbara

    A general State education is a mere contrivance for molding people to be exactly alike one another; and as the mold in which it casts them is that which pleases the predominant power in the government, whether this be a monarch, a priesthood, an aristocracy, or a majority of the existing generation; in proportion as it is efficient and successful, it establishes a despotism over the mind, leading by a natural tendency to one over the body.

    - John Stuart Mill, English philosopher and economist

    Yet some parents are now saying that deliberate withdrawal of their children from compulsory schooling-an illegal act in most states-is not unlike draft resistance in an immoral war.

    - Marilyn Ferguson, THE AQUARIAN CONSPIRACY

    …the Plain Peoples’ approach to education may be one of the most effective yet devised. Their success in training the young to be farmers has impressed many agricultural experts. Unemployment, indigence, juvenile delinquency, and crime are surprisingly infrequent. Amish prosperity and self-sufficiency are legendary. These are not the characteristics of a preparation for adulthood that has failed.

    - Donald A. Erickson, Professor of Education, University of California, Los Angeles.

    …when it (the State) controls the education, it turns it into a routine, a mechanical system in which individual initiative, individual growth and true development as opposed to a routine instruction become impossible.

    - Sri Aurobindo, SOCIAL AND POLITICAL THOUGHT

    Public educators, like Soviet farmers, lack any incentive to produce results, innovate, to be efficient, to make the kinds of difficult changes that private firms operating in a competitive market must make to survive.

    - Carolyn Lochhead, Insight, December 24, 1990

  20. Green_Liberal

    @18 I read with interest that Ruwart essay. She quoted Mill to support her argument, which made me find the original Mill passage, which happens to be remarkably sensible.

    J.S. Mill on Education in “On Liberty”
    ________________________________
    [i]
    Consider, for example, the case of education. Is it not almost a self-evident axiom, that the State should require and compel the education, up to a certain standard, of every human being who is born its citizen?…If the parent does not fulfil this obligation, the State ought to see it fulfilled, at the charge, as far as possible, of the parent.

    Were the duty of enforcing universal education once admitted, there would be an end to the difficulties about what the State should teach, and how it should teach, which now convert the subject into a mere battle field for sects and parties, causing the time and labor which should have been spent in educating, to be wasted in quarreling about education.

    If the government would make up its mind to require for every child a good education, it might save itself the trouble of providing one. It might leave to parents to obtain the education where and how they pleased, and content itself with helping to pay the school fees of the poorer classes of children, and defraying the entire school expenses of those who have no one else to pay for them.

    [b] The objections which are urged with reason against State education, do not apply to the enforcement of education by the State, but to the State’s taking upon itself to direct that education, which is a totally different thing. That the whole or any large part of the education of the people should be in State hands, I go as far as any one in deprecating.[/b]

    A general State education is a mere contrivance for molding people to be exactly like one another, and the mold in which it casts them is that which pleases the predominant power in the government, whether this be a monarch, a priesthood, an aristocracy, or the majority of the existing generation.

    In proportion as it is efficient and successful, it establishes a despotism over the mind, leading by natural tendency to one over the body. An education established and controlled by the State should only exist, if it exist at all, as one among many competing experiments carried on for the purpose of example and stimulus, to keep the others up to a certain standard of excellence.

    In general, if the country contains a sufficient number of persons qualified to provide education under government auspices, the same persons would be able and willing to give an equally good education on the voluntary principle, under the assurance of remuneration afforded by a law rendering education compulsory, combined with State aid to those unable to defray the expense.

    The instrument for enforcing the law could be no other than public examinations, extending to all children, and beginning at an early age. An age might be fixed at which every child must be examined, to ascertain if he (or she) is able to read. If a child proves unable, the father, unless he has some sufficient ground of excuse, might be subjected to a moderate fine, to be worked out, if necessary, by his labor, and the child might be put to school at his expense. Once in every year the examination should be renewed, with a gradually extending range of subjects, so as to make the universal acquisition, and what is more, retention, of a certain minimum of general knowledge, virtually compulsory. Beyond that minimum, there should be voluntary examinations for all subjects, at which all who come up to a certain standard of proficiency might claim a certificate.

    [b]The examinations, however, in the higher branches of knowledge should be entirely voluntary. It would be giving too dangerous power to governments, were they allowed to exclude any one from professions, even from the profession of teacher, for alleged deficiency of qualifications. Degrees, or other public certificates of scientific or professional acquirements, should be given to all who present themselves for examination, but such certificates should confer no advantage over competitors, other than the weight which may be attached to their testimony by public opinion.[/b][/i]

  21. paulie Post author

    Mill wrote before there was empirical evidence to compare the theory with the reality, Ruwart after.

    If you are trying to use HTML tags to highlight sections change the square brackets to angle brackets.

  22. Peter J. Orvetti

    I understand where the Greens are coming from on this, even though I disagree with it. But it doesn’t seem that well-conceived. Why simply forgive student loans because they impede progress and economic growth? I’d be happier, more productive, and more likely to invest if my mortgage went away. What about hospital bills? Food and clothing? These are important things people go into debt over as well. #nofreelunch

  23. George Phillies

    “In no other industry in U.S. history has there been so little technological change as in the field of public school education.”

    Actually, there has been a vast amount of technology introduced into education.

    Unfortunately, much of it was worthless rose fertilizer from boy cows. Then there are the parts of negative value.

    Let’s see. I am old enough to remember hand-held slides, filmstrips, 8mm motion pictures, TV studio in the Junior High School, PA systems, auditoriums with motion picture projectors, teaching machines, language laboratories, the look-say reading teaching method, cursive writing (now being abolished by various epsilon-minus semimorons), Roman numerals, lantern slides, 2″ slides, slide carousel projectors, xeroxed lecture notes, 35mm and 70mm motion picture projectors, and, of course, somnohypnal learning. All of this electrical garbage served primarily to separate school boards and university administrators from their money.

    Then there are truly bad advances: Powerpoint slides, which take ten times as long and paralyze discussion. Textbooks with disks and homework on remote servers, which let textbook publishers charge $250 per textbook, and kill the used text market. (I do not use this perversion in my teaching.)

    I did, once videotape my lectures for three courses and put them up on the GeorgePhillies YouTube channel using Camtasia. I did this ONLY because the lectures match the books I write, giving me a sales gimmick. If you want to do this, be sure you have a one teraflop PC (which you can now buy) or your video conversions will take longer than the classes did.

    There have been useful technical advances in education:

    Compounded chalk, in that powdered chalk straight from chalk deposits in full of heavy metals and is quite bad for you.

    Electric lighting, so that students can see what you are writing on the board.

    Heating, so that the students do not freeze while sitting in class.

    Air conditioning, so that students and the poor instructors can stay awake while teaching and learning.

    Lead pencils, fountain pens, and their descendants, and cheap paper to go with them. Beats slates any day.

    Gutenberg printing and descendants, which beats out ‘the lecture speaks; students literally copy his words to create their textbooks.’

    Computers for typing papers are good. Computers for doing research are marginal, at least until students understand the difference between the shallow internet and the deep internet. Computers for taking notes do not work with current technology.

  24. Slam In A Y-Trap

    Hospital bills have been massively increased as a result of government-corporate collusion, much like education, so the same analysis applies to them.

    The housing bubble was an example of the same phenomenon at work. However, the suggestion above of “rent stabilization” is ill thought out – it is one of the major causes of decaying slums, abandoned properties and homelessness.

    Food prices have been distorted by government subsidies of agribusiness corporations and agricultural price supports, but nearly to the same extent as education and medicine.

    Likewise, there has been distortion of clothing prices through textile protectionism, hemp bans, and corporate welfare, but when compared with education and medicine it is a relatively free market – and one with relatively more affordability for the non-wealthy.

  25. Be Rational

    To summarize Mill:

    Government should not provide education: No government schools.

    Government should make education compulsory – but not school attendance – but instead would require children to test at minimum standards in a few basic subjects to show they had obtained the required education.

    Mill did not support that the government pay for education, except in the case of the very poor who would need partial or full assistance.

    Of course this help for the poor can be better obtained in the free market of charitable giving and free tuition and tuition assistance from the schools themselves. By eliminating all taxes on land, property and income, and allowing for a system of private, free market schooling that will teach useful skills to all to actually earn a living, there will be few poor enough to require assistance.

  26. Green_Liberal

    Mill’s ideas were never tried, as far as I’m aware. Instead, USA and GB adopted a system akin to the Prussian one. Uniformity can be an important virtue in war. Indeed, war is a big reason why we have the system that we have….our schools are crawling with recruiters.

    Either way, if you abolish the right to public education, then poor people will not have the ability to attend “Quest” type schools, unless they depend on outright charity. Without government regulation, there is the possibility that education could turn into a corporatist monstrosity, where parents are required to take out loans to put their kids through school which they repay the rest of their lives. After all, is there anything more important than a good education?

    Again, I’m sorry to be alarmist–but this (corporatism, greed and exploitation) is the world we are living in. If you’re asking people to give up a fundamental and hard-fought right, you’ll need a whole lot of empirical evidence indeed.

  27. Be Rational

    If government gets out of education, does not fund it and does not regulate it, then the poorest children will benefit most of all.

    Private schools without regulation can be set up almost anywhere and taught much better than the public schools currently, and at very low cost.

    Today’s “free” government run schools have failed. Few actually get a good education as a result of attending public schools. The poor are the biggest losers in the current system. Taxes and regulation prevent them from having the opportunity to escape.

  28. paulie Post author

    @31 Exactly!

    And I say this having attended some “ghetto” government schools, some of the better government schools as well as private schools, so I have a pretty broad range of different experiences there.

  29. Green_Liberal

    @28
    To say that poor people should rely on charity or indebtitude to have their children educated is not only an offense against their dignity–it contradicts the ideals of meritocracy and egalitarianism. Education should be about equipping and enlightening citizens and NOT just about making them efficient servants and slaves. We cannot put education wholly in the hands of private interests unless we wish to be enslaved to those interests–government run education should be evidence enough of that.

    Mill says that education should be mandatory and compulsory, so obviously he believes the state has a role to play. In today’s world he would agree with the necessity of universal public (and higher) education. He would just allow for a diffuse educational marketplace and plenty of room for educational innovation.

  30. paulie Post author

    To say that poor people should rely on charity or indebtitude to have their children educated is not only an offense against their dignity–it contradicts the ideals of meritocracy and egalitarianism.

    Another great argument against government run education!

    Education should be about equipping and enlightening citizens and NOT just about making them efficient servants and slaves. We cannot put education wholly in the hands of private interests unless we wish to be enslaved to those interests–government run education should be evidence enough of that.

    Agreed again. It would be much better to have education in the hands of the voluntary sector, which includes all kinds of non profit and mutual cooperatives as well as for profit institutions and charities, than in the hands of the monopoly state and the private interests that manipulate the state for their benefit in a mutual symbiosis of parasites against the larger host.

    Mill says that education should be mandatory and compulsory, so obviously he believes the state has a role to play.

    With the benefit of hindsight, I don’t agree, but his system certainly sounds like an improvement over what we suffer under now.

    He would just allow for a diffuse educational marketplace and plenty of room for educational innovation.

    A good step in the right direction. We may well pass through that on the way to a fully voluntary system of education.

  31. From Der Sidelines

    The whole idea of cancelling student debt unilaterally is simply nuts, even if one takes it to the logical extension and cancels all debt, public and private, secured and unsecured. As was said above, it’s about personal responsibility, and while government interference in the education marketplace is responsible for the increasing costs, simply cancelling the debts doesn’t solve the problem.

    As for brick-and-mortar education, at all levels but especially at the college level, with the ridiculous and growing amounts of information available on the Internet, along with advances in streaming technology and bandwidth, the classic school building is quickly becoming obsolete in favor of the cyber-classroom. As such, the cost factor for the brick-and-mortar institutions is quickly going to drop like a rock as people skip the $heep$kin in favor of online education at less cost or free, on their own pace, and tailored much more specifically to their chosen field. That’s an expected backlash to two factors: devaluing a Bachelor’s degree to the point that it is now what a high school diploma used to be, and jacking up the cost of getting one at the same time. The Internet is becoming the great equalizer in education costs and the great decentralizer in terms of curriculum and making education fit the student instead of the other way around.

  32. paulie Post author

    The system seems ripe for collapse, one way or another, probably sooner rather than later. It’s a giant bubble and massively unsustainable.

  33. FLAMETHROWING LIBERTARIAN !

    Abort ‘em if you can, but if not, – Feed em, house em, medicate em, and educate em! Let’s see, we gotta cloth em too. Don’t you know !?!

    Self-reliance & Responsibility be DAMNED !

    Don’t agree !?! Well you need a bullet in the back of yo head…

    “The largest threat to freedom, democracy, the market economy and prosperity,” warns Czech President Vaclav Klaus, “is no longer socialism. It is, instead, the ambitious, arrogant, unscrupulous ideology of environmentalism.”

    BEHIND THE GREEN MASK: U.N. Agenda 21 – http://shop.americanfreepress.net/store/p/512-BEHIND-THE-GREEN-MASK-U-N-Agenda-21.html

    “Hundreds of billion dollars have been wasted with the attempt of imposing a Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) theory that is not supported by physical world evidences…AGW has been forcefully imposed by means of a barrage of scare stories and indoctrination that begins in the elementary school textbooks.” — Brazilian Geologist Geraldo Luís Lino, who authored the 2009 book “The Global Warming Fraud: How a Natural Phenomenon Was Converted into a False World Emergency.”

  34. Green_Liberal

    @34

    The offense against dignity is that poor people would have to supplicate and indebt themselves to educate their children. As in any other capitalist enterprise, the debtors (in this case the parents) would potentially be forced to make moral compromises in order to receive the charity offered, given that there would be no government regulations protecting them from exploitation.

    In my view such a scenario is much less dignified then a public education system that acknowledges that every individual deserves a fair shot to “be all they can be”.

    Fear of enslavement by religious authorities is well grounded in history, and it’s why I can’t imagine primary education without government regulation in my lifetime. When school choice is more widely debated, I predict the fearmongers will use Islamic schools as an example of potentially malevolent consequences.

    But the main reason to support public education is not combating religion or preserving the dignity of parents. Rather, it is to conserve the right of the child to develop its talents and advance its station.

    In a purely capitalistic education system without regulation, how far an individual goes would depend greatly on how much capital and effort your parents invested. The illusion of social mobility would finally be put to bed (except for those strong-willed individuals that rise above institutions and statistics).

    Accepting such a system as natural would be a reversal of the progress towards egalitarianism accomplished by the American and French revolutions. The people would never accept it (not in my lifetime anyway).

    Now, I grant that in the real world people’s destinies are to a large extent influenced by their friends and relatives. However, that shouldn’t stop communities from exercising justice–justice (in this case) being offering each individual a fair opportunity to develop their talents, regardless of their class or station.

    As someone who is strongly pro school choice and wants to see radical free market reforms, I have to say that the primary obstacle to these reforms being enacted is the perception that they are merely a stepping-stone to abolishing public education. So when you Libertarians publicly argue that we’d be better off without public education, you are (in a strategic sense) confirming the fears of the people. This makes it all the more harder to accomplish actual reforms that would benefit our children.

  35. paulie Post author

    The offense against dignity is that poor people would have to supplicate and indebt themselves to educate their children. As in any other capitalist enterprise, the debtors (in this case the parents) would potentially be forced to make moral compromises in order to receive the charity offered, given that there would be no government regulations protecting them from exploitation.

    You seem to ignore the possibility of mutual aid and non-profit enterprises. Why?

    In my view such a scenario is much less dignified then a public education system that acknowledges that every individual deserves a fair shot to “be all they can be”.

    Have you ever attended a government school in a “bad” neighborhood? After having done so, I have a really hard time making a statement like that. There are a lot of things government schools teach; dignity is not one of them.

    Fear of enslavement by religious authorities is well grounded in history, and it’s why I can’t imagine primary education without government regulation in my lifetime. When school choice is more widely debated, I predict the fearmongers will use Islamic schools as an example of potentially malevolent consequences.

    There’s no reason that all private schools have to be religious. There’s a growing number of secular parents. Thus, I expect plenty of secular schools will exist. As for Islamic schools, they are legal now, and I don’t think Islam is likely to become a majority religion in the US any time soon, or probably ever.

    But the main reason to support public education is not combating religion or preserving the dignity of parents. Rather, it is to conserve the right of the child to develop its talents and advance its station.

    That’s actually a great reason to oppose government schools.

    In a purely capitalistic education system without regulation, how far an individual goes would depend greatly on how much capital and effort your parents invested. The illusion of social mobility would finally be put to bed (except for those strong-willed individuals that rise above institutions and statistics).

    Again, all-voluntary does not have to – and should not – mean all for profit. I expect a healthy place for non-profits in a voluntary educational system. They may well even dominate it.

    Social mobility has always been greater in relatively more free economies. That continues to be the case today.

    And have you noticed that there is already a major difference in the quality of education between school districts, much of it having to do with the income of the parents? On the other hand, there are quite a few private schools in the worst of neighborhoods producing good results at relatively low cost.

Leave a Reply