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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/16501/conventional-education-will-go-the-way-of-farming/

Conventional Education Will Go the Way of Farming

April 15, 2011 by

An army of 8 million and a budget of $1 trillion and counting are no longer necessary for teaching what needs to be taught. FULL ARTICLE by Doug French


Rick Weinle April 15, 2011 at 10:10 am

In the spirit of the ideas on IP that are expressed by intellectual contributors to the Mises Institute: why limit the Rothbard Graduate Seminar to grad students? Respectfully, please practice what you preach.

John P. Cunnane April 17, 2011 at 1:59 pm

I agree with Rick. My son attended Mises University last summer. He did well there. This fall he started as an economics major at Duke and, of course, everything they taught him conficted with what Mises, Rothbard and even Hayek wrote. He found economics, as taught at the University level to be dreadful. That being said he found Praxeology and Liberalism to be wonderful stimulus (haha) for his writing, particularly fiction.

Why would the Mises Institute make a degree in Keynesian economics and central planning a prerequisite for anything? Progress within the Institute’s own curriculum should be the only measure of one’s suitability to advance.

Steve Eckhardt April 15, 2011 at 10:16 am

As a homeschool dad, I believe in the value of education but not the way it is delivered in America’s schools. Dr. Raymond Moore, founder of the modern homeschool movement, in his book “Better Late than Early” makes it very clear that school before age 10 or so is merely babysitting. Beyond those years, there is a healthy debate regarding the purpose of education. Neil Postman, in “Amusing Ourselves to Death” posits that the point of education is to develop a person’s reasoning ability. John Taylor Gatto believes that the purpose of education is to build a person’s skills so they can earn a living. It appears that the NEA (National Education Association) wishes to inculcate liberal philosophy into students. Another common belief is that education exists simply to shovel facts into the brains of students. The only problem with the debate is that too few of the debators have followed Postman’s course and are therefore unprepared to engage rationally. Until alternative schooling reaches critical mass, we will continue down the road to the Dark Ages.

greg April 15, 2011 at 10:31 am

It is not about what you know, it is about how you use what you know. Creative thought is the most important tool one can have.

Now on the topic of farm production. This exactly what I have been saying, productivity advances reduce the inflationary pressures of increases in the money supply. Without inflation, we would be paying a tenth of the cost for corn today than in 1945.

Brett in Manhattan April 15, 2011 at 10:42 am

While it’s true that the internet has rendered about 80% of the education infrastructure obsolete, don’t expect those work the education racket to go quietly into the night.

Creative Destruction tends to be unpopular among those being destroyed.

Tony Fernandez April 15, 2011 at 11:02 am

Well I don’t know about private schooling, but I do know that a huge bubble is ready to burst in public schooling. The pensions and salaries are simply impossibly high. The crash is coming soon, and all those involved had better realize it. The day of reckoning is upon them (speaking fiscally, of course).

Joe April 15, 2011 at 12:42 pm

Thanks for another great article. I totally agree with your assessment. I look at the total dollars spent on education in my state and it is astronomical. Half of the state budget is for schooling and then they also have the Lotto money going to schools. When I speak to young people I am amazed at the lack of comprehension of any particular subject. I agree with Greg above that it is how you use what you know.
The longer public schools are allowed to exist the more difficult it will be to get a good education. If I had a child today I would definately homeschool. When you homeschool you can determine how capable your child is and how to design a program for better success.

Dave Albin April 15, 2011 at 5:11 pm

The driver of all this is the employers – public and private jobs alike (more public than private) want high school and college degrees. Once this starts to go away, the education crash will come….

Joe April 18, 2011 at 4:52 pm

You are absoulutely right when it comes to employers. Business gets the taxpayers to pay for the training of new employees and they reap the rewards. Let them pay for their own employee training.

Derek Sheppard April 17, 2011 at 5:38 am

Learning can be different. And it can happen in ways that accord with American ideals. There are schools that are democratic! Doug, I hope that you are aware of the Sudbury Valley School and its sister schools, which are private, charge less than the (excessive) cost in public schools, maintains a disciplined approach to spending money and in formulating its annual budgets, and has high acceptance rates of Graduates and alumni being accepted in tertiary education institutions. In Queensland, Australia, our Sudbury model school was closed by a government, against the wishes of everyone involved, that won’t allow real choice, legislating to bring all schools down to the level of public schools. We want to re-establish a private school, fully self-funded, but under current legislation would be required to waste our time and money forcing students to teach a generally socialist, State mandated curriculum, that is so good that the State is throwing it away in favour of a nationally mandated curriculum. What should we do with our youngest son of 5? Fight it out to establish the democratic School we want so that he and others can benefit from it as his 4 older brothers have, even if it means criminal charges (as applies under current non-state school legislation for operating a non-state school without government accreditation), or enrol him in the US based Sudbury Valley School? I favour the good fight, and not giving in.

Andy April 18, 2011 at 3:57 am

Wow, that sounds great! It costs me about $800 per year to send my two children to a public school. I could sure use a little relief from that burden!!! How much exactly is tuition at your children’s school?

Derek Sheppard April 18, 2011 at 6:41 am

Andy, what you’re paying to a public school are only a tiny proportion of the overall cost. Taxpayers are paying the majority. You’re only paying to top up what the local government authority can’t or is unwilling to pay. Find out what the actual overall cost is of funding your public school per student. Don’t be surprised if its over $US10,000.00 / student plus of course your additional $800.00.

Andy April 18, 2011 at 10:00 am

Geepers!!! On average, private tuition is $7000/year per student!!! That’s $14000/year for my family. I’m thinkin’ public ed is the way to go.By the time I die, my property taxes will have put $12000 into the public education system and McDonald’s can get about $600,000 worth of labor from them over the next 30 years (if I have an average lifespan).They can take advantage of the internet and public libraries if they care to do more than work at McDonald’s. I’m not going to pamper them. They’ll figure it out for themselves and be as successful as their effort and skill allows in the labor market. If they become financially successful, they’ll pay for that public education by occupying a higher tax bracket.

Drigan April 18, 2011 at 10:49 am

Could please *pretend* to have read Derek’s post?

Andy April 19, 2011 at 1:48 am

I did read it, and I am happy that he can afford to pay for a private education. Is my sarcasm too subtle? As of this moment, I can only hope that my three children (one preschool) make it through the public education system before you all get your wish.

Alpheus April 19, 2011 at 4:43 pm

Andy, home-schooling doesn’t nearly cost as much as private schooling. Additionally, my wife and I got to see first-hand what public “education” my daughter would get–it isn’t worth the loss in property taxes.

Let’s face it: for those of us that want an alternative to public education, being forced to pay property taxes (and oh, so many other taxes) to prop up a failing institution only adds insult to injury!

Andy April 20, 2011 at 2:25 am

Isn’t the difference in the number of payers? Comparing per student cost in private education against per student cost in public education is misleading. It actually costs me $400 per year in property taxes, and another $400 plus for book rental fees. Not $10,000 or even the bargain bin $7000 education.

I supplement what they learn as often as I can. I lack confidence in my ability to teach better than a professional, and therefore defer to someone more qualified in most cases.

Considering Indiana’s 1% property tax cap, a property must be assessed and taxed at $700,000 in order to equal the yearly average per student cost of attending a private school. I don’t feel anymore sympathy for the people that do pay that much than they have for my situation.

I am annoyed at all the “concern” expressed for the children that can’t get a good education in public schools. You care about your tax bill. I understand that, and please understand that I don’t care about your tax bill anymore than you care about mine.

You are all so busy convincing each other that private education is a superior option, but people like me are where your attention should be. I vote for people that perpetuate the system you despise. I’m sorry you don’t like paying for anything public and I’m sure you are so very sorry that private education is simply out of my reach.

Alpheus April 25, 2011 at 10:46 am

Andy, that’s how much *you* pay. But you pay it your entire life, even after your children are educated. And, those who are childless also pay it. And if there aren’t enough property taxes to pay for education, additional funds can, and is, pulled from other tax coffers, both State and Federal.

“I am annoyed at all the “concern” expressed for the children that can’t get a good education in public schools.”

I am, too–parents should just jettison the failing system, and teach their children on their own. Of course, in certain States (often the States that are failing the most, and paying the most per child), make it as difficult as possible to teach your own children, even as they are failing to teach them themselves.

Andy April 26, 2011 at 4:28 am


I have an Associate Degree in Accounting, delivering pizza for the last 17 years. I haven’t been in school since ’91. WTF am I supposed to teach my children that will be useful to them in finding meaningful employment? I at least have the benefit of community college, which is far more than others that would be home-schoolers. I am not a teacher and it would be a disservice to pretend that I am.

“And, those who are childless also pay it” …And they get no benefit from living in a relatively educated country?

Your assumption is that everyone will be educated by their parents if a formal private or public education is unavailable. You may end up paying for prolonged training periods for REALLY uneducated workers, not to mention the extra time searching for qualified applicants. How do we progress economically with a less educated population?

Alberto Zaragoza April 17, 2011 at 5:56 am

But……why do Austrians hate college? Especially when most of you work in academia and don’t have “normal” jobs?

I understand that many invididual colleges, degrees, teachers, students and practices are flawed. That college as a whole may be a complete waste of time, money and effort for many people. But everything under the sun meets that definition. College is not for everybody. Chocolate is not for everybody. Creative thinking and passion in work are not for everybody: many will prefer something safe and simple that allows them to pay the bills and keeps them busy 9 to 5, while affording them plenty of free time. What’s wrong with that?

The author states that “the facts are a click away”, but he provides no such facts. He doesn’t tell us how many billionaires do have college degrees (hint: at least in the US, it’s an overwhelming majority). Or what is the average income of a graduate. He doesn’t tell us that recently Google’s top brash has been re-organized, and guess what, there are zero historians, philosophers, or liberal arts graduates; there are several software engineers. You know, fighting fragmentation across Android devices takes something more than coherent thinking: it takes deep technical expertise. This can be achieved with or without college, but many people happen to have achieved it after several years of college education…..so what?

(Btw, I suppose that Google’s founders were themselves two of those comformist, egalitarian, left-minded keynesian cranks churned out of Stanford and devoid of any sense of initiative and entrepreneurship!)

He doesn’t attempt to make the distinction that, well, there are countless different people living through countless different situations, and any sweeping generalization like the one in this post is absolutely pointless.

Perhaps most importantly, he doesn’t talk about individual freedom. He could’ve mentioned that subsidies extracted at gunpoint and redistributed to “research” and “education” are an atrocity, but curiously enough he doesn’t.

He just throws a rant: “I don’t like college”. Meh. I could write a blog post criticizing celebrities, too; but in a site dedicated to liberty and economics, er, it’s not very appropriate.

Inquisitor April 17, 2011 at 7:03 am

“But……why do Austrians hate college? Especially when most of you work in academia and don’t have “normal” jobs?”

Because they’re not under the delusion that you need to get a degree to get a job (I mean some jobs do require it or greatly benefit from it but far from all), whereas they are full time academics where a degree is a prerequisite? Because a college education won’t necessarily teach you anything, or at least nothing you couldn’t have learnt without putting yourself in debt? You basically answered your own question later on.

Andy April 18, 2011 at 4:06 am

Unemployed, with a college degree?

Anthony April 17, 2011 at 9:37 am


You definitely make some good points… Education is not the problem, government distortions in education are the problem. By publishing articles like this there is the risk of diluting the focus of this website away from economics and liberty. Articles complaining about voluntary associations and activities should be very carefully screened here lest they turn people off of the more concrete economic arguments that are usually made here.

On the other hand, I did find this particular article interesting. Although the issue of government loan guarantees, subsidies, etc. were not addressed in this article they have been addressed elsewhere here and I found that this article added to my understanding of the situation. With such a large volume of articles published it is inevitable that each article will pick a different aspect of the situation to discuss. If read along with previous articles on this subject most of your entirely legitimate objections are answered.

Jim P. April 17, 2011 at 9:39 am

The reason for the “anti-college” bits on this site is, much like everything else here, an issue of government intervention in the market. College education is pitched very heavily by state and federal governments as being available for everybody. The point being presented here is that, much like you yourself said, education is not for everybody.

A few scattered points as to why it matters on Mises.org:
1. Fed and State governments subsidize loans to literally anyone. Banks would not normally give a gigantic line of credit to a 17 year old with no experience and no money and no job. They’re not usually a good investment. But education loans are fully backed by the Federal government. So, like the housing bubble where mortgages were sold immediately by banks on the secondary market (fannie/freddie), there is no incentive to behave rationally. Thus, every kid goes to college whether they should or not thanks to government intervention. If they default, the government takes the loan and collects.

2. Government backing of loans causes the price of education to ever rise higher. If there is no risk on the loans, then anybody can get one. If anybody can get one, everybody can go to college. If everybody goes to college, the money is now easy, and colleges don’t need to compete much for customers. With the flood gates open, the quality of secondary education is now getting lower because college must cater to an ever dumber and less capable average student. Also, remember that State colleges have lower prices because they are subsidized by every taxpayer in the state. In short, the whole market pricing mechanism is busted by government interventions. And the prudent savers and workers are penalized by this: You can’t “work your way through school” anymore. It costs too much.

3. States typically run a multitude of their own schools. You can see the conflict of interest here. Kids coming out of the state education system hear the preaching all day about how you have to go to college to be successful, despite this being quite obviously untrue. Kids don’t know better thanks to the lack of life experience and lack of self-confident direction. It becomes a self-serving mill.

The result is that broke college-bound kids are increasingly taking on $100k+ of debt with no job and no skills. The degree that they get, say, a 4-year, is increasingly more worthless with each passing year. Maybe 15 or 20 years ago having a BS would get you somewhere on a resume. Today it’s “yeah, you and everybody else.” And more advanced degrees are suffering the same problem – because you can live on loans for 8 years, everybody’s got one. That means you can’t get a job to pay off the death-pledge. Cost for advanced degrees routinely tops $200k. There is no honor in being highly educated but dead broke.

So again, this piece isn’t merely a “college sucks!” rant, as you characterized it. The main thrust is that government interventions are jacking up the cost of education to the point where extremely few can pay for it out of pocket anymore – thus the education bubble. Department of Education propaganda to the contrary, not everybody needs to be in school. It is not the key to success. A degree may or may not be the right tool for your particular situation, but typically, it is a huge waste of time and money for most. That’s why it matters on this site.

Libertarian jerry April 17, 2011 at 8:32 am

The 10th plank of the Communist Manifesto calls for free public education. As America has become a Socialist/Fascist nation,over the last 100 or so years,the Prussian Model of public education has been implemented. This calls for the regimentation and “pigeon holing” of students both in their public school years and their college years. The object of the modern public school system is not to educate but to indoctrinate. This dumbing down of the average American makes them easier to rule,in essence making America into a nation of sheep. The only way, short of a Constitutional Amendment to separate education from the State, is to home school your children or to find private schools that will teach our young how to think for themselves and be self reliant.

RobTzu April 17, 2011 at 4:31 pm

Excellent point Jerry.

Drigan April 18, 2011 at 11:04 am

I believe what you say is true, but I’d like to caution you to be less adversarial toward public schools. The average person (not the average mises.org visitor) would likely see your attacks on public schooling and the lack of any backing and discount the entire libertarian movement. That’s not at all what we as a society need right now.

We really *do* need to have private schooling, and employers that take a chance on unschooled individuals . . . but who would do such a thing? The risks are just too big to both the employer and the employee . . . the employer needs *some* way to weed out the incapable, and the employee runs a huge risk if their employer goes under; what are the odds they can find someone else who is willing to hire an ‘unqualified’ candidate?

Andy April 19, 2011 at 2:38 am

If you want to see indoctrination, check out Patrick Henry College.

Andy April 19, 2011 at 3:02 am

If you would like to see indoctrination in private education, check out College of the Ozarks and Patrick Henry College.

“Patriotic Goal
To encourage an understanding of American heritage, civic responsibilities, love of country, and willingness to defend it.”

“The Mission of the Department of Government is to promote practical application of biblical principles and the original intent of the founding documents of the American republic, while preparing students for lives of public service, advocacy and citizen leadership.”

When did school become such a political and religious battleground?

Alpheus April 19, 2011 at 4:49 pm

“When did school become such a political and religious battleground?”

When government took it over.

Andy April 20, 2011 at 3:22 am


Not the entire point, but well taken. Taking Christ out of Christmas? Many of these fights are a matter of perspective, having very little to do with Constitutionality and much more to do with practicality, equity and appropriateness.

I would like to have specific examples of indoctrination in public schools, and an explanation of why it is any different than the examples I have given above for private schools doing the same thing. I attended public schools for my whole educational career, and I don’t recall hearing anything nearly as blatant an indoctrination as above.

Alpheus April 20, 2011 at 2:08 pm

Just looking back in my own life, I can think of several “indoctrination” points:

– Only the Government can provide railroad and subway systems.
– Without the Federal Government’s TVA program, farmers would never had gotten electricity.
– The Great Depression was caused by Hoover’s inaction, but was fixed by Roosevelt’s actions.
– Public School is necessary to ensure an educated republic.

These are just off of the top of my head; they are also things I’ve come to learn later that are misguided at best. These are things that I would not have considered indoctrination at the time that I learned them, though.

Furthermore, to the extent that someone sent to a private school may be indoctrinated, I wouldn’t lose sleep over that, because such indoctrination is the result of parents, and perhaps children, making a choice for their own lives. Public Education, however, has a wide array of laws, from taxes to accreditation to compulsory education, that does a lot to limit these choices–and that’s the heart of government indoctrination, as well as the the cause of all these controversies.

Andy April 23, 2011 at 4:02 am

I don’t know that you could consider these things “indoctrination”, but rather a matter of opinion. I’m going to guess that you are the product of public education, and you have come to very different conclusions yourself about how the world works despite your indoctrination. Me too, and I encourage my children to question what they are taught.Everything the government now does can be done in the private sector, education included. That doesn’t mean that I am willing to risk the best education currently available to my children (apparently not yours, but available to mine) to find out how much better bad can be. I believe the entire argument is disingenuous. I don’t think you care a bit about the state of education and how it effects anyone but you. I feel the same way. I need more assurance than “the invisible hand”. I already know that private ed is not available to me today, and may still be out of reach for my future grandchildren. All markets have exclusions, regulation or not. I don’t expect to be able to afford a Ferrari anytime soon either (and don’t give a shit). But I do care that my children have an opportunity to be formally educated and foster their skills and abilities. Much of that is on them.Where exactly is the threshold between an idea and an ideology? The “Patriotic goal” that I quoted from PHC could easily be the slogan for the U.S. Marines. Put together enough private schools with the same ideology and you have an emerging theocratic state, poised to once again save the world. I fail to see the difference.Stupid people are the cause of these controversies. Fighting to keep crucifix cookies from entering a school is just as dumb as fighting to ensure that they will be allowed in school (Tennesse a few years back). I’m not sure what you are referring to, but these are not Constitutional matters. I think the actual issue is allowing EVERYONE to clutter schools with religious trinkets vs. allowing none, and concentrating on math and crazy shit like that instead.”Public School is necessary to ensure an educated republic.” PHC has their educators sign a code of conduct. One specific area pertains to geology. The story of Noah must be taught as opposed to current theories related to dating sedimentary strata. Everything must be in harmony with the bible. I am not trying to bash anyone’s belief system, but I don’t see how that particular style of education foster’s scientific innovation. They have a Department of Government that is dedicated to occupying the Federal Government with good Christian politicians. What happens if they do succeed and get a taste of blood? Again, I fail to see the difference or a different outcome that does not include a political state of existence in one form or another.

Alpheus April 25, 2011 at 10:41 am

Andy, two reasons make my examples indoctrination: they were taught as fact, not opinion; and I was forced to learn them by government fiat. Even if I had gone to private school, or were home schooled, the government expects me to learn such things, else my education be declared “inadequate”. Even if I opposed public school (and I do!), I still am expected to pay for it, even as I am pursuing alternatives.

A am not bothered by anyone teaching their children about evolution and geology; neither am I bothered about anyone teaching their children about Noah, and claiming that the stratification we see today is the result of Noah’s flood. The reason this is such a controversy, though, is that public education, is, by necessity, indoctrination–and we have come to believe that it’s necessary! Thus, if I believe one thing, then I would expect it to be taught in school–but if someone believes the opposite, then that person expects it to be taught in school as well. There is no clean compromise while education remains the dictate of the State.

I *am* a product of public education–it didn’t make me a complete robot–but even as I was in school, I had a sense that something was wrong, and that the solution was home-schooling. I have since come to the conclusion that it is ultimately the family’s responsibility to teach our children–and that the most successful students are those who are home-taught, even if they remain in public or private education.

When you say that “I think the actual issue is allowing EVERYONE to clutter schools with religious trinkets vs. allowing none, and concentrating on math and crazy s*** like that instead.” you *almost* hit on the solution: let every family, every parent, and every child, decide for himself, what should be taught, and what should be learned. UNTIL we do that, we will continue to have deep controversies–even down to what “math and crazy s***” should be taught, and how it should be taught (and yes, as a mathematician, I am well aware of the controversies underlying that!).

Donny York April 18, 2011 at 10:29 am

Wonderful read. I’ve been arguing for years — against blank or aghast faces — that government’s only role in education should be norming standards of evaluation. (Think England’s “levels” in various academic disciplines.) Many institutions of business or higher learning, wishing to know what new applicants actually know, do have natural need of a common currency in these matters.
Beyond that, education is simply known to be valuable, and people will continute seeking to acquire it from any source that WORKS. Which is why mass-normed government sources will lose customers and likely die away.
As to the societal function of WAREHOUSING the young, would cost/benefit not be more favorable in simply enforcing public standards of street behavior more aggressively?

Derek Sheppard April 19, 2011 at 5:02 am

Andy, in particular, seems to think that he’s getting some value by sending his children to public schools. It was also suggested by Drigan that employers would take a chance on employing someone who is unschooled. I think and have long believed that employers and tertiary education providers take a far bigger chance by employing or enrolling public school leavers. There has never been guarantees associated with the provision and take up of government funded education. Individuals in it are subject, as Libertarian Jerry suggests, to indoctrination (although as I’ve said, this happens in all schools in Australia, because almost all schools receive government funding and have done so since the 1960′s; and governments at both State and Federal levels have gradually realised the strings that can be attached to that funding). There is a distinct lack of values, standards and useful assessment outcomes, with bureaucracies all too willing to apply, in teaching, delivery and outcomes, the lowest common denominator principle.

The big difference between public education and private education is that in private education (at least in most State in the US, but not Australia), people take up their freedom to make the choice to take responsibility for the education of their children seriously, by ensuring they choose a school that reflects their values and their expectations of education. They pay for the exercise of that all important freedom, but they can withdraw from the contract as necessary, which keeps everyone on their toes. Lastly, I should say that many people who choose private over public education often readily make sacrifices in their lives and get second jobs in order to pay the tuition fees.

Andy April 20, 2011 at 2:34 am

“Lastly, I should say that many people who choose private over public education often readily make sacrifices in their lives and get second jobs in order to pay the tuition fees.”

You truly do not realize how fortunate you are. I am very fortunate.

Andy April 23, 2011 at 4:23 am

Romans 13:1-7 ESV / 3 helpful votes
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. …

I’m not THAT much of a statist. Just a little “free” education and minimum wage reg. I wonder if they teach this at PHC too.

Alpheus April 25, 2011 at 10:57 am

First of all, you could be subject to governing authorities, but still oppose them. I would like to see radical changes to government, but I’m not going to advocate revolution–not unless it becomes clear that the government has become violent and abusive, and revolution is the only way to correct it. I merely advocate peaceful changes in government; if my advocacy falls on deaf ears, then so be it.

In the meantime, subjecting ourselves to government is a form of “self-defense”–if we appease the monster, then (sometimes) it leaves us alone.

Now, with regards to minimum wage: If I agree with my employer to sweep the floors of the shop for $3.00/hr, because I’m currently between jobs and would like to put at least a *little bit* of food on the table while looking for work, you would want to punish my employer and/or me for making this agreement? Where is the justice in that?

And with regards to “free” public education: how the heck did we come to accept the idea that we should let the government tell us what to think? Education is a duty–by convincing us that education is a “right”, we have distorted it into something ugly and harmful. Our children would be better off seeking education from places other than the State, and seeking education that most interests them, on their own.

Andy April 26, 2011 at 6:18 am

Alpheus,”you *almost* hit on the solution: let every family, every parent, and every child, decide for himself, what should be taught, and what should be learned.” …And we isolate ourselves from everything and everyone we don’t agree with? The “Ground Zero Mosque” controversy should be adequate evidence that we can’t isolate our religious differences outside of public classrooms any more effectively.Evolution is a question of science. I remember that creationism occupied an entire paragraph in my biology textbook from 26 years ago, without any controversy one way or the other. I don’t have a problem with teaching creationism, but it is more appropriately considered within philosophy. To analyze God empirically is to miss the point entirely.There is a separation of Church and State to avoid the perversion of spirituality by government, not to protect the government or the nation from God. You may have a point if you are someone that argues “God is being taken out of school”…(maliciously), if legislation against going to church were being deliberated as well. I don’t disagree with teaching any philosophy, but If I decide to leave creationism out of a science textbook, I am wrongly accused of hating God or religion.Someone that is taught and truly believes the story of Noah will NEVER get a job as a Geologist. “There is no clean compromise while education remains the dictate of the State.” I agree, and I question why there should be a compromise in all cases.
“Even if I opposed public school (and I do!), I still am expected to pay for it, even as I am pursuing alternatives.” We seem to be stuck on this point :) If you opt out, it isn’t public education. I have no other alternative for a formal education for my children without public education. There is no “pursuing alternatives” AND public education. It’s an all or nothing proposition.How can we both be satisfied with a solution? I agree to pay taxes. Rather, I am not bothered by the property taxes I am forced to pay for myself, and until the day I die for others. I don’t like the idea of the cost of private ed (homeschool included when you consider time invested away from other activities, such as working), and you don’t like to pay taxes. You are trying to avoid it, but you can’t have it your way without screwing me. :) If you don’t care about that, why should I care about screwing you? Isn’t cooperation within a Capitalist society great!!!I typed the bible verse above to illustrate private teaching that would not fit well within a Libertarian society.I always answer minimum wage questions with a question of my own. Where is the theoretical wage floor? In a Welfare State such as ours, minimum wage assures that at least a portion of the wage will be paid by the employer. I wouldn’t begin to question minimum wage until after welfare is gone, unless you would rather subsidize a $.02/hour wage. If you share the same mortgage company as the hypothetical employee who subsequently defaults on a loan, I would argue you may not be getting the bargain you believe you are while paying $3/ hour. I don’t believe that you “agree” to that kind of wage in an absolute sense.

Andy April 26, 2011 at 6:32 am

Nobody tells me what to think. You just find it hard to believe that I really don’t mind the amount of property taxes I pay in exchange for the education I receive. If you pay more than you like, move into a 1200 sq. ft. ranch home like mine. That seems about as reasonable as me financing a private education that I don’t want.

Matthew Swaringen April 26, 2011 at 6:56 am

But you tell everyone else what to think. Or at the very least, you tell everyone else how to act, which means that they can’t act on what they think.

You talk about being ok with screwing other people because you’d be screwed without their taxes. But what you’d really be screwed without is their productivity. If all the rich lowered themselves to your level of productivity and only bought 1200 sq. ft. homes we’d all have much less, and the education that was available publicly or otherwise would be awful.

What you really are doing is forcing other people to work for you. And I know you’ll say that private education does the same thing but you always have a choice on how you review the costs and benefits. You pointed out above that you don’t like private education including homeschool because it entails a cost of time. Well, then don’t educate? Count upon schools founded upon charity… after all, did you consider that perhaps because others are like yourself and are willingly paying taxes for education that in a society not founded on a monopoly of force maybe people would be willing to donate to that?

Additionally as the market expanded the costs of schooling would go down. Teaching is not that difficult at a basic level. Like most industries there is a huge scale between the excellent teachers and the normal ones, and if you think this doesn’t apply to public schools you haven’t been around much. Most of the teachers there are pretty horrible, not the least because the incentives of public schools are not aimed at pleasing their customers. And private schools are largely bound by a myriad of regulations that make them act similarly.

Andy April 29, 2011 at 5:57 am


My intention wasn’t to suggest that anyone reduce themselves to my meager level of production. I suggest that people that pay more than they would like in taxes reduce themselves to my meager existence, rather than squander all of the fruits of their labor on luxury homes and cars. I am much better off than many people with ten times my income for that reason.

An average family of 4, earning a combined income of $70k could put $25k/yr into savings after taxes if they live my lifestyle. Do so for 10, 20, 40 years and you would be better off than sitting around bitching about how much they could have if it weren’t for the government, whom are going nowhere soon. I don’t blame them for advocating tax abolishment, just don’t expect me to cooperate in my own demise for something that will benefit them more than I.

MAYBE private education would be more common and inexpensive after a long transitional period. MAYBE denying education to the much needed menial laborers would be more common as well. I have an emotional response when I realize the number of people that want to abolish public ed, and our history of denying education to African slaves, and later African American citizens.

As far as charity, I can agree with you somewhat. First of all, many of the people complaining about property taxes are the same people that would not allow public education to be terminated. (the Tea Partiers wanting gubmint out their Medicare and S.S.) Furthermore, the assertion that people would donate more to charity if only they were taxed less is a meaningless cliche designed to appease those of us concerned with losing the relative guarantee of social insurance (a.k.a. entitlements).

Another possibility exists. In a world without “safety nets”, charitable donations would be a more risky proposition and would possibly become less common as a result.

I had a teacher that showed up to class maybe twice a week. Two other students and myself did our work despite the barrage of wet paper towels and erasers flying through the air. In contrast, I had a very caring Recordkeeping teacher that encouraged me to stick with accounting which I currently have a degree for. I had an English teacher that quite often discussed my college plans with me after class. My biology teacher (Indiana’s teacher of the year at one point) praised me often, encouraging me to pursue an education in biology. Most, like everyone else I deal with on a daily basis, are just ordinary. I suppose that if you can tell me that nothing negative occurs in private schools, I can give you a few ex

Andy April 29, 2011 at 5:58 am

…amples to prove you wrong.

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