Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: The Problem with America’s Public Schools

 

The experts mean well, but a centralized system cannot possibly have that degree of personal concern for each individual child that we have as parents. The centralization produces deadening uniformity, it destroys the experimentation that is the fundamental source of progress. What we need to do is to enable parents, by vouchers or other means, to have more say about the school which their child goes to, a public school or a private school, whichever meets the need of the child best.

From Milton Friedman.

More text available here.

Published in Education
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  1. Eustace C. Scrubb Member

    But now we know the “experts” don’t mean well…

    • #1
    • September 17, 2020, at 8:51 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  2. Percival Thatcher
    PercivalJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    The primary problem with American public schools is American public schoolteachers.

    When I was a student, there were still some pretty good ones out there, but there were a few real losers.

    • #2
    • September 17, 2020, at 9:03 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  3. Arahant Member

    Whatever happened to that one-room schoolhouse with no administrators?


    The Quote of the Day is our own little schoolhouse. It’s a place to learn and to teach. If you have a quotation you would like to school us with, our sign-up sheet awaits. We still have five open dates this month.

    There is also the Group Writing Project. This month, the theme is an easy one: If I was a —, I would —. It looks as if Clifford has nine open dates in the future.

    If you haven’t written much on Ricochet, these projects are easy ways to get involved.

    • #3
    • September 17, 2020, at 10:01 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  4. James Gawron Thatcher
    James GawronJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Aug,

    The great power of the market is the near-instantaneous transmission of pricing information. When the real costs of producing the goods are widely separated from the price, a completely distorted view of reality is transmitted and the economic system fails to the point of total breakdown (see Venezuela).

    Freidman is right about the massively centralized & bureaucratic educational system that is characterized by the post-war era and especially the Great Society era. As the pricing information gets more and more distorted anything goes. Huge institutions designed around the assumption of mass-producing a good become captured by ideological exploiters out to use the system not to produce any real good but to produce a desired political outcome. This allows more and more public resources to be sucked into the system for less and less “good” being produced. Worse yet the “degrees” being produced are subject to inflation. Many more people have degrees at a lower standard of quality and can command only a lower wage for them. The vicious cycle continues.

    Everyone is surprised by the ability of charter schools to perform. However, there really isn’t any difference between the students going to charter schools and public schools. There really isn’t any difference between the teachers teaching at charter schools and the teachers teaching at public schools. The difference is in the incentive for both the students and the teachers. The incentive is a self-imposed individual purpose that can’t be manufactured by an external top-down system. 

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #4
    • September 17, 2020, at 10:34 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  5. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine

    You guys have a number of good points covered above. You don’t need a lot of help from me!

    Following up on the Gawron remark above, here’s a link to an earlier post on a related theme. With children, much like with the most efficient way of making a pencil, the knowledge of local experts is the best way to go.

    • #5
    • September 17, 2020, at 11:22 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  6. Percival Thatcher
    PercivalJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Arahant (View Comment):
    Whatever happened to that one-room schoolhouse with no administrators?

    Grandpap taught in one of those. Contact with the administration was primarily by mail.

    • #6
    • September 18, 2020, at 4:38 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  7. Eustace C. Scrubb Member

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Whatever happened to that one-room schoolhouse with no administrators?


    The Quote of the Day is our own little schoolhouse. It’s a place to learn and to teach. If you have a quotation you would like to school us with, our sign-up sheet awaits. We still have five open dates this month.

    There is also the Group Writing Project. This month, the theme is an easy one: If I was a —, I would —. It looks as if Clifford has nine open dates in the future.

    If you haven’t written much on Ricochet, these projects are easy ways to get involved.

    They’re coming back under the name of “pods”.

    • #7
    • September 18, 2020, at 6:02 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  8. Stina Member

    Percival (View Comment):
    The primary problem with American public schools is American public schoolteachers.

    I disagree. It’s unions. they keep the school from firing bad teachers.

    • #8
    • September 18, 2020, at 6:14 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  9. Bishop Wash Member

    Eustace C. Scrubb (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Whatever happened to that one-room schoolhouse with no administrators?


    The Quote of the Day is our own little schoolhouse. It’s a place to learn and to teach. If you have a quotation you would like to school us with, our sign-up sheet awaits. We still have five open dates this month.

    There is also the Group Writing Project. This month, the theme is an easy one: If I was a —, I would —. It looks as if Clifford has nine open dates in the future.

    If you haven’t written much on Ricochet, these projects are easy ways to get involved.

    They’re coming back under the name of “pods”.

    I was going to mention this too. Wu Flu might be breaking the government school model. A few parents are banding together to hire a person to teach their small group of students of all grade levels.

    • #9
    • September 18, 2020, at 7:30 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  10. Percival Thatcher
    PercivalJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Stina (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):
    The primary problem with American public schools is American public schoolteachers.

    I disagree. It’s unions. they keep the school from firing bad teachers.

    The unions have led a lot of good teachers to quit out of frustration. School administrations have seen to the rest.

    • #10
    • September 18, 2020, at 7:39 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  11. JoelB Member

    Friedman left out home schooling.

    • #11
    • September 18, 2020, at 7:43 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  12. JoelB Member

    Stina (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):
    The primary problem with American public schools is American public schoolteachers.

    I disagree. It’s unions. they keep the school from firing bad teachers.

    I think that the culture of the day has made life difficult for teachers whether union or non-union, public or private. One innovation in home schooling is the study center. Since the students are home schoolers participating for enrichment, ongoing classroom discipline problems are referred right back to the parents. The tutor is not the policeman caught between parents and administration. One example is Blackburn Study Center.

    • #12
    • September 18, 2020, at 8:07 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  13. I Walton Member

    New Zealand went from a centralized bottom of the west’s schools overnight to the top, just below Singapore by eliminating the entire bureaucratic overhead. They turned schools over to parents and teachers, let parents choose any school in the country. Competition works. Bureaucratization and centralization can’t. If we can’t do something in States not run by Democrats quickly we won’t survive as the country we used to be and can be again. We are too big and diverse to be run centrally and must begin with schools. This creeping partial approach with a few charter schools can’t work.

    • #13
    • September 19, 2020, at 3:00 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  14. Arahant Member

    I Walton (View Comment):

    New Zealand went from a centralized bottom of the west’s schools overnight to the top, just below Singapore by eliminating the entire bureaucratic overhead. They turned schools over to parents and teachers, let parents choose any school in the country. Competition works. Bureaucratization and centralization can’t. If we can’t do something in States not run by Democrats quickly we won’t survive as the country we used to be and can be again. We are too big and diverse to be run centrally and must begin with schools. This creeping partial approach with a few charter schools can’t work.

    The thing is, that New Zealand is small. California has about half again the area and seven times the population. Were New Zealand a state, it would be a middling one. It would be between Alabama (24) and South Carolina (23) by population. By area, it would be between Oregon (9) and Colorado (8). If we can just get things right in some of our states, the others will eventually see and improve.

    • #14
    • September 19, 2020, at 3:11 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  15. Eugene Kriegsmann Member

    Over the years I heard repeatedly that the problem with public schools is that bad teachers were too hard to get rid of because of unions. The problem in not the teachers, it is the adminstrators, the principals and vice principals who are impossible to get rid of because they are the evaluators. What do they evaluate? They judge teachers on how Woke they are, how closely teachers adhere to the current narrative. The people in the schools most heavily indoctrinated are the adminstrators, because they are the ones taking the current classes and being subjected most directly to the current narrative. They bring those ideas back to their buildings and evaluate teacher performance based on how well teachers toe the mark. 

    This is not to excuse teachers’ unions which are complicit in the process. They do defend teachers to some degree, but they never go after administrators. The concept that a fish rots from the head is definitely relevant when discussing the horror that has become of our public education system. Giving parents a free choice in where their kids are educated is the only answer that really works. Starving the public schools of resources will ultimately cause them to change or bring them to an end. There really is no other way to change what is happening.

    • #15
    • September 19, 2020, at 6:13 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  16. Eugene Kriegsmann Member

    Back in the 1980s Seattle Public Schools dropped summer school make up because of funding problems. A group of really dedicated teachers went to the Gates Foundation and other funding organizations to find money to support a summer school program for kids who had failed in the basic skills areas and would be retained if they did not receive remedial schooling over the summer. The rules for the kids were strict. They had to attend every day. Discipline was strictly enforced. Any child who did not maintain appropriate behavior was expelled. Parent knew the rules and fully supported the program. 

    I interviewed and was hired by the program to teach middle school level math during the three summers the program ran independent of the Public Schools. It was a very successful program. There were almost no kids who did not make it through. All who did showed significant improvement in three basic skills areas. There was no enhancement or enrichment curricula. It was simply about learning to Read, Write and do Arithmetic. The kids really learned and improved in those areas. Perhaps the most important factor of the success was that Seattle Public Schools had nothing to do with it other than accepting the certificate of completion earned by the students. 

    Year four Seattle Public Schools absorbed the program. I was again rehired for it, but the program no longer worked. Discipline was lax, daily attendance was no longer manditory, and other factors we had avoided because we had no bureaucrats in our independent program returned. For instance, parents were not required to sign the contract before their student could attend. That was the last year I participated in the program. 

    Our original plan worked because it was all about results. That was all that mattered. When the schools became involved elements of political and personal agendas of upper level administrators entered into the mix. In our independent program none of us was particularly special. We all just loved kids and loved teaching, and we did not want to see kids retained since we knew that doing so would ultimately lead to a high percentage of those kids dropping out before finishing high school. When Seattle S.D. took over they brought back all of the nonsense that interferes with successful classrooms. There is a reason the charter schools are generally more successful than the public schools, and that reason was demonstrated during the years that our program ran with and without the direct involvement of the public schools.

    • #16
    • September 19, 2020, at 8:08 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  17. MISTER BITCOIN Member

    The public school system is a monopoly. If you cannot afford private school or home school, you have one choice which is basically no choice.

    The public school teachers unions are also a monopoly. Good teachers are grossly underpaid, bad teachers are grossly overpaid. Good luck firing a bad teacher.

    Public schools do not discipline unruly students. They can’t or won’t suspend or expel troublemakers.

    All of the above are a consequence of ‘centralization’.

     

     

     

    • #17
    • September 29, 2020, at 10:14 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  18. MISTER BITCOIN Member

    JoelB (View Comment):

    Friedman left out home schooling.

    David Friedman, son of Milton, home schooled his children.

    Milton Friedman opposed compulsory education for children. 

     

    • #18
    • September 29, 2020, at 10:16 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  19. MISTER BITCOIN Member

    To add insult to injury, the teachers unions are exempt from anti-trust provisions of Sherman and Clayton Acts

     

    • #19
    • September 29, 2020, at 10:18 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  20. MISTER BITCOIN Member

    4 minute video

    subsidize producer vs subsidize consumer

    • #20
    • September 29, 2020, at 10:22 PM PDT
    • 1 like
    • This comment has been edited.
  21. MISTER BITCOIN Member

    https://fee.org/articles/why-milton-friedman-saw-school-choice-as-a-first-step-not-a-final-one/

     

    • #21
    • September 29, 2020, at 10:29 PM PDT
    • 1 like