[ExI] Public education myths/was Re: Americans are poor drivers

Dan dan_ust at yahoo.com
Mon Jul 13 15:42:39 UTC 2009

--- On Sun, 7/12/09, Mirco Romanato <painlord2k at libero.it> wrote:
> Stathis Papaioannou ha scritto:
> > 2009/7/12 Mirco Romanato <painlord2k at libero.it>:
>> Or they could decide not to sell the streets to
>> private individuals.
> This would be a Common, a tragedy of the.

This also assumes that the streets, etc. are justly held by the people -- and not merely expropriated from certain groups or individuals.  Actual history seems to be the latter and not the former: property is stolen in the name of the people by the state (or the ruling class).  Later on, they might talk about privatization, but this is merely some in the ruling class nakedly claiming private ownership -- as opposed to covertly having private ownership.  (After all, and again, public ownership merely means the ruling class owns it -- not that every last member of the public owns it.  This is also further complicated by just what ownership means: the right to exclude.  E.g., that I own my body means I can exclude others from doing with it as they will.  If the public owns my body, how can I exclude anyone from doing with it as they will?)
>> Through experience, people have decided that some
>> things, like
>> restaurants, are best run privately, and other things,
>> like law
>> enforcement and education, are best run collectively.
> The real history usually is a bit different:
> for example education was entirely private and public
> education was
> introduced, by governments, to "help the poor" that could
> not pay and send the children to school.

I'm not as familiar with other nations, but in the US public education was mostly promulgated not so much to help the poor as to indoctrinate them to become good workers and obedient citizens -- and also as an antidote to Catholicism among Irish, Italian, and other immigrants during  the late 19th century.  It's popularity among the upper classes (remember, the poor didn't and still don't have much say anywhere) was mainly because they seemed to feel the poor would become ne'er do wells if not taught Protestant culture.  Also, the school schedule was mainly, it seems, to make them ready for the work life -- not to educate them to become smarter, think for themselves, or have some sort of say over their destiny.  (See, e.g., _Class, Bureaucracy, and Schools: The Illusion of Educational Change in America_ by Michael B. Katz.  I bring up Katz because he's no libertarian.)

> Then they enlarged the pool to the people
> that could pay, driving out the private providers. The fact
> that private
> providers exist after a century or more is testament that
> free and good rarely come together.
> Many societal problems we have today can be traced to the
> way schools
> and public schools were structured in the past from the
> governments.
> Maybe taking the children from the family and
> indoctrinating them with
> the government ideology is good, maybe it is not.

My guess is any indoctrination is bad, but far worse when great masses of people, especially childen whose parents lack the skills to see through the indoctrination, are indoctrinated in roughly the same way.

> Maybe, desocialize the children from their families and
> neighbours and
> socialize them with a bunch of same age individuals is
> good, maybe it is not.

Some believe it tends to disrupt "natural" social orders.  Note the model too: put lots of little children into a room with one authority who tells them what to do.  This is social regimentation that seems best suited not for learning but for fostering obedience.
>> It's OK to try
>> to argue that your particular way of running things
>> works better, as
>> long as people are free to choose, preferably on the
>> basis of evidence
>> from past experience or observation of alternative
>> systems around the
>> world. Ultimately, if people make the wrong choice
>> their country will
>> fall further and further behind, and it will become
>> more and more
>> obvious that they have made the wrong choice..
> It appear that the US and Europe, in many fields, are
> losing their
> advantages in respect to East Asia. Maybe they are or were
> doing something wrong.

I think it might be a bit more complicated than the form of schooling in each country.

I also think that having educational choices made at the national level is a way to guarantee failure.  Yes, eventually, over decades, different nations might figure out this or that educational policy is bad, but this is similar to having, say, diet or technology choices made this way.  Imagine had nation's -- meaning, really, the ruling classes of nations -- decide on the proper diet and not allowing people inside them to deviate.  How quickly would the world settle on the best diet?

A far better system is to allow individual people to make their dietary choices.  Yes, some will make stupendously stupid choices, but most won't because they have a direct incentive to get it right.  Also, by having individual freedom, people can self-correct -- rather than wait until the leaders change their minds or some sort of national consensus is reached.




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