Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Going public...

My sister posted on some of her experiences with health care today on her blog. She is a legal aid attorney and I would guess the majority of her clients have no health insurance, or very little. It was an interesting read. Check it out here.

The post got me to thinking, since private industry has done so well with health care, perhaps it is a good idea to privatize education. That way, every year our classroom premiums can go up, and if our children need speech therapy or are struggling in some area the school system can just cut off service to keep costs "down" for the rest of the children (not to mention profits up for the rest of the shareholders).

Maybe then wal mart or some other big box chain will open up "education centers" in their stores, and parents can take their children to wal mart to be educated while the parent gets their shopping done (hey, Smith's Marketplace already has that Freddie's Playland area, it's perfect!!!).

In a discussion with my family about privatizing education, my mom (who knows PRACTICALLY everything- since she had a real education, not a wal mart one) pointed out that private business is about making money. That's obvious, right? The whole purpose of business is to make money, so why would we want someone's bottom line to be the driving force behind our children's education?

9 comments:

Tyler Farrer said...

Alice,

It's hard to reply to this post, point for point, because you led off with so much sarcasm. Sarcasm can be a potent rhetorical device, but it's problematic if you expect a response.

I'll try anyway. So, let me see if I can state your thesis.

Capitalism is bad for education. Do I have that right?

You go on to say that "private business is about making money." That's true, but it is also about competition.(so says this google search. It's third on the list under profit and economics.) Would you agree that introducing competition into education could produce some positive results.

wordsfromhome said...

Tyler,
I think you miss the point. Capitalism should have little to do with education. Except for the concept that it does take money to effectively provide education, and capitalists are generaly good at making money. But left to the capitalists, only the capitalist's children would get a good education because they would not see the cost effectiveness of educating everyone's children. You would never see, using Allie's hypothetical Wal-Mart example, The Walton descendants being schooled in the "WM education center." They would be in the private schools. The point missed there is that either we educate everyone's kids, spend the money to do it now, or we pay later in welfare and crime.
Business IS about making money. It is up to individuals, including all of us who are in business, to decide how we use those profits. Providing good public education, available to everyone is one of the most important things we can do. I will continue to cast my vote and lend my support for public education.

Natalie said...

Tyler, one principal of competition is a level playing field. It is impossible to have a level playing field with public funds going to the private school industry, because private schools can choose which students they educate, and can charge more than public schools, while public schools educate all students with out extra money. Utah scores high on national choice studies - we have open enrollment, magnet schools, released-time religious instruction, a thriving charter school movement, and homeschooling with or without district support. And parents can choose private schools - just without our tax dollars supporting them. Anything else isn't competition, it's piracy.

Natalie said...

And you rip on Al for sarcasm and then come up with "Capitalism is bad for education."

Hi, Kettle, this is your friend, Pot. Guess what?

Anonymous said...

hmm...competition between whom, and for what, is the question though. The free market is a beautiful context for some types of human flourishing but in others, the survival of the fittest mentality doesn't work, at least not if you accept such concepts as all people being equal in the eyes of their Creator, and that there is some inherent right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. These principles will probably always be in tension with the human inclination to compete for resources perceived as scarce, that tension may be a productive thing but if you look at the "prisoner's dilemma" or game theory, competition itself does not necessarily equal progress. Cooperation is more likely to produce favorable results for the greater number.

WP said...

A, where do you get your sarcasm, as Tyler points out, your post was nearly dripping with it?

Tyler what are the subtleties between 'profit' and 'making money'. After 30+ years of owning a small business I am not sure they are separate but I await your explanation or your interpretation of the fruits of your Googling.

One thing, back to the notion of the post in affordable health care, is that Canada has high priced gasoline, more than $3.40 per gallon. They have rich petrol resources so it should be at least lower than SLC and Northern Utah. When I inquired on a recent visit to Ontario I found that the extra costs largely pays for a universal health care system. Speaking with several of the Canadians I found they liked their system and wondered how we all put up with the high costs in the USA. It will be interesting to see how Governor Mitt's state does as time goes by. HMO's have strong lobbying efforts with the R party as they make so much sweet moolah together.

WP said...

A, where do you get your sarcasm, as Tyler points out, your post was nearly dripping with it?

Tyler what are the subtleties between 'profit' and 'making money'. After 30+ years of owning a small business I am not sure they are separate but I await your explanation or your interpretation of the fruits of your Googling.

One thing, back to the notion of the post in affordable health care, is that Canada has high priced gasoline, more than $3.40 per gallon. They have rich petrol resources so it should be at least lower than SLC and Northern Utah. When I inquired on a recent visit to Ontario I found that the extra costs largely pays for a universal health care system. Speaking with several of the Canadians I found they liked their system and wondered how we all put up with the high costs in the USA. It will be interesting to see how Governor Mitt's state does as time goes by. HMO's have strong lobbying efforts with the R party as they make so much sweet moolah together.

Allie said...

I imagine Tyler is referring to competition in the sense that schools compete against each other to be "the best school", thereby attracting more students, thereby making more money.

Competition can be a good motivator to perform well, however, my problem with that type of competition is that it leads to access issues.

You'd end up with some really sad schools because they couldn't compete. Children of influential/wealthy people sure wouldn't be going to those schools, and the successful schools are not going to be able to handle all students, so guess who gets left out.

The problem with competition in an education setting is that there are winners and there are losers.

Our education system has problems currently, but I don't think they would be fixed by privatizing education. We'd just have different (and possibly much more serious) problems.

Oh, and pardon all my sarcasm, you can blame it on the way I was raised (just kidding). :)

onlythetoilet said...

It ISN'T about competition at all. It's about doing away with public schools. Putting more and more regulations on one side all the time and lessening the amount on the other isn't competition. It's like rigging a game.

Bring things down to a local level and give schools incentives to come up with different approaches and such and you could get "competition." REAL effort would work, not cut and run approaches.

Go up to Primary Children's hospital and try telling them that you need their tax dollars to pay for your child's "lack" of choice. Try telling about your "lack" of choice to people who have wanted for years to have just the "choice" or should I say privilege of raising children.