Friday, December 04, 2009

Which to fix first? Education or Proverty?

Matthew Ladner says we should Fix education before fixing poverty:

New York City Schools Chancellor Joel Klein recently stated:
People have said to me ‘Chancellor, we will never fix education in America until we fix poverty in America.’ Now I care about fixing poverty, but those people have got it exactly backwards folks. We are never going to fix poverty in America until we fix education in America, and this report shows that it is entirely doable.
Klein has both his theory of causality and priorities correct. Claiming that education cannot radically improve without the working class seizing the commanding heights of the American economy is more than silly. It is destructive to children.
A vastly expanded welfare state won’t change the fact that we recruit too few of the right people, and too many of the wrong people into teaching. It won’t change the fact that we distribute the limited supply of high-quality teachers as if we are intentionally stacking the deck against poor, inner city children. For that matter, it won’t change the fact we still don’t measure teacher effectiveness, and that when we do, we don’t do much of anything with the information. In fact **ahem** all of this happens in the government-controlled system of schools.
Pop quiz: should we bring the practices of our failed public school system to the rest of the economy to solve our education problems, or some market discipline into our failed schools? Anyone who actually cares about the plight of the poor would do well to listen to Chancellor Klein on this point.

Human nature is funny. We consider people poor who don't have as much as average people. We rarely stop and realize that even poor people today live much better than people a hundred years ago. I'd rather live now than three hundred years ago as a king. I'm safer now, have better entertainment, it is easier to travel, there is more knowledge available, and I'll live longer.

Klein is right. Government does not have infinite resources. They should focus their limited resources on improving education.

Technorati tags: children, education, government schools, children, public school, public education


purelabor said...

Just like Obama's health care nothing should be run by government.
Look at your schools and think what they could do to health care in this country.

Henry Cate said...

You are right. I am reminded of the line: Obama health care, the soul of the IRS with the efficiency of the DMV.