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The Education Thread

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
I'll kick things off with a great read from Cato:

Why Is Bill Gates Writing Code for a Coleco Adam?

Quote:
Posted by Andrew J. Coulson

Bill Gates is addressing the Council of Chief State School Officers today. According to the NYT, hell tell them to bite the bullet and start making sound budgetary decisions like rewarding teachers based on merit instead of time served, and not handing out raises simply for the trappings of higher learning, but rather for demonstrated prowess in the classroom. In principle, thats good advice.

But its an ultimately futile effort, and heres why:

Bill established himself early on as a pretty sharp computer programmer, and no doubt he still is. But theres only so much you can do when the hardware youre writing for is a pile of junk. Public schooling is the Coleco Adam of education systems.

The Adam was a pretty cute looking machine for its time (1983), but it had some fundamental flaws. Among other things, turning the power on or off had a habit of sending out electromagnetic pulses that fried the data on its storage tapes. Oops. Now a good programmer might figure how to mitigate the damage caused by that problem (I dunno, treat the two tapes as a RAID 1 array, maybe?), but then the machine also had its power-supply located in the mandatory (and noisy, and slow) printer that came with it. So if the printer had to be serviced, you were left with a paperweight. Hard to fix that one in software.



Its the same with public schooling. By its very design, it lacks the freedoms and incentives that relentlessly allow and pressure executives to make sound decisions in the free enterprise sector of the economy. Bills a sharp corporate executive as well as a sharp programmer. Hell no doubt give the state superintendents of public instruction some reasonable advice. And ultimately it wont matter.

If they make great decisions, these execs will at best get a pat on the back. If they make terrible ones, it likely wont affect their compensation or careers much, because millions of families have little choice but to send their children to the official state-run schools. Given the state-run systems monopoly on $13k / pupil of tax funding, its hard for most parents to pay for a better quality education for their kids.

This is a systemic problem. Without the necessary freedoms and incentives, good decisions made today will eventually be supplanted with worse ones in the future because public schooling has no built-in mechanism to consistently encourage the good over the bad.

Bill, its a hardware problem.

So how do we fix this "hardware problem"?

I have 2 suggestions right off the bat:
  1. Eliminate the Department of Education - Repeal all federal legislation pertaining to education. Per the 10th Amendment, authority to administer public education should be returned to where it belongs: the state and local level. This will increase accountability and make it easier to manage. Parents should have the most responsibility for and control over the education of their own children, not the government.
  2. School choice - let parents send their children to the school of their choice, whether public, charter, or private. Tax relief should be offered to those who choose to send their children to schools not run by the government. This would increase healthy competition among all education institutions to offer the best educational experience possible and thereby attract enrollees.

Malo periculosam, libertatem quam quietam servitutem.

(I prefer the tumult of liberty to the quiet of servitude.)

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Malo periculosam, libertatem quam quietam servitutem.

(I prefer the tumult of liberty to the quiet of servitude.)

Reply
post #2 of 3
Thread Starter 
Couldn't resist

Department Of Education Study Finds Teaching These Little S#!@$ No Longer Worth It

Malo periculosam, libertatem quam quietam servitutem.

(I prefer the tumult of liberty to the quiet of servitude.)

Reply

Malo periculosam, libertatem quam quietam servitutem.

(I prefer the tumult of liberty to the quiet of servitude.)

Reply
post #3 of 3

Saw that and laughed out loud.

As you know, I'm a teacher. I've recently started an admin certificate. The instructor I have for my educational leadership class is amazing. We've spent a good deal of time talking about the structure of schools and the problems in the system. I couldn't agree more with the article you posted, believe it or not.

Check this out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ea5Ig..._safety_mode=1
I can only please one person per day.  Today is not your day.  Tomorrow doesn't look good either.  
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I can only please one person per day.  Today is not your day.  Tomorrow doesn't look good either.  
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