Saturday, January 29, 2011

Misleading Education Argument Exposed

With a RUSD referendum coming up, be prepared to hear a similar argument repeated over and over. An excellent example of this argument was submitted to the Journal Times by the lovely and feisty Dorothy Constantine, and it goes something like this:

Education is critical. Education prepares our youth to be productive members of society. Other nations are getting ahead of us, posing a threat to our quality of life. But alas, education costs money. We should spend it.

Though here argument isn't finished, I will stop there and comment. I am in full agreement with Mrs. Constantine at this point in here argument. Education is critical, it costs money and we should spend money on education.

And now for Constantine closes her argument with: Support our public schools, where our future lies.

Notice the subtle switch from education to public schools? If you're not careful that will slip right past you. The argument assumes that education and public education are one in the same and that anyone who believes in the importance of education will therefore support public education.

What Constantine and others forget or deliberately omit is that one could strongly value education, as I do, while also recognizing the failure that is public education. There are other paths to an education outside of of government schools. Indeed, when we speak of an education crisis, most I think assume the conversation is about our public schools. Is there a private education crisis in this country?

I agree with Constantine for the most part, but I would change the final sentence. Education is important, support the privatization of education, where our future lies.


Sean Cranley said...

Denis said; "Is there a private education crisis in this country?"

Answer, Yes, the vast majority of families with young children cannot afford private education. That is why we as a people pool our money and educate our children as a community.

It worked for me, I run circles round you guys with my public education. If you imagine for a moment that countries who are out perfoming us are doing it with private education, you're bigger foll than I thought.

Denis Navratil said...

Was that you I saw the other day running in circles with a public education? Counterclockwise if I remember correctly. An out standing job Sean. You're no foll.

Government discrimination in education funding is the reason private education is unaffordable.

Sean Cranley said...

Gosh Denis sorry about the typo, that's great catch, no doubt the result of you intensive studies of "Ann Rand". No follin!

"Government discrimination in education funding is the reason private education is unaffordable."

Please do enlighten us.

Denis Navratil said...

Sean, I am not sure I can spell it out in such a way that you would understand, but I will try.

Nearly all government funding in elementary and secondary education goes to public schools. As such, about 0$ is spent subsidizing a private school education. Thus we have government discrimination in education.

Sean Cranley said...

First of all, why should the government, or shall I say WE subsidize private anything?

Secondly, since the vast majority of private schools are religious/non-profit and therefore exempt from paying taxes, I would say we are subsidizing them and subsidizing them to a very great extent indeed, as a matter of fact.

Please excuse my logical circle running.

Denis Navratil said...

"First of all, why should the government, or shall I say WE subsidize private anything?"

Well Sean, I am glad we agree that Obamacare should be repealed.

Actually it is a fair question whether or not we should be subsidizing private anything? But we do, and, like it or not, it has been ruled constitutional.

So now it is a matter of choice as to how we subsidize education. For now, thanks to the pressure exerted by government unions, coupled with cowardice on the part of our elected officials and an unhealthy dose of apathy on the part of their subjects, we discriminate against private schools in terms of funding.

Sean Cranley said...

Again, we greatly subsidize private education in America through tax exempt status.

But Denis, surely you can give one example of a country whose students are excelling in an education system that is primarily or even substantially private to bolster unsubstantiated pronouncement of faith.

Denis Navratil said...

Sean, both public or private schools, being nonprofits, are subject to taxes, so there is no tax advantage to send kids to private schools. And you well know that public education costs are covered entirely by taxpayers while a private education is not covered at all by taxpayers. Hence the discrimination in favor of public education and against private education. I am sure even you can understand the difference.

Denis Navratil said...

Oops, meant both private and public schools are exempt from taxes.

Sean Cranley said...

Let's see so under your "logic", if my taxes go to subsidize PUBLIC transportation, say buses, then it's dsicrimination if it doesn't also go to private transportation, say limos.

You kill me.

Denis Navratil said...

Well, per usual, we (or rather you) are getting off subject. However if the government mandated that we travel, and offered a mode of transportation that didn't work, then yes, I suppose they should in all fairness subsidize modes of transportation that did work. A better idea would be to wean us off of our dependence on government for those things we should be doing ourselves and or via our own private and coercion free associations.

Anonymous said...

Actually, Sean, by definition, that's true. And you COULD say that government discrimination against limos is why most people can't afford them.