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Thread: How Some of Earth's Poorest Provide Education

  1. #1

    How Some of Earth's Poorest Provide Education

    They turned to the free market.
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article...137428,00.html
    [...] In slums and villages that I have visited in Africa and India, parents are appalled that teachers often don’t turn up and, if they do, often don’t teach. Their children tell them of sleeping teachers and parents see that exercise books are rarely marked.

    [...] Last week I was in a deprived fishing village in Ghana that boasts six flourishing private schools only yards from the state school. A fisherman with an understanding of economics that would put union officials to shame, who had moved his daughter from state to private school, told me that the private school proprietor needed to satisfy parents like him, otherwise he would go out of business. “That’s why the teachers turn up and teach,” he told me, “because they are closely supervised.” His wife, busy smoking fish for sale in the market, concurred. “In the state school, our daughter learnt nothing. Now she’s back on track.”
    This article really has everything. It shows how socialism harms primarily the poorest members of society. It shows how socialists are more interested in defending their own interests than that of the less fortunate. Finally, it shows that private business is more accountable to the people than any government institution.

    Nothing more needs to be said, other than we should take some lessons from Ghanese fishermen.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    I grew up in a poor neighborhood and my parents thought that education was more important than location or even saving for retirement. I went through a relatively expensive Catholic School system.

    Now of course, state funded charter schools have all but decimated this option. The only true private schools left in the United States ain't for people like us. These are for the very wealthy.

    There are tons of these charter schools, that are now funded by the state, to compete with the public schools in operation. Most of them are not worth a damm. There are several dozen of these in my metropolitan area and the only remarkable one is the one being taught out of the Henry Ford Muesum/Greenfield Village.

    While part of me agrees with Jaws, part of me also sees how these charter schools are sucking both money and students out of the public school systems leaving all of this capital outlay for buildings to go unused while the charters are hooking up with the old parochial schools to lease their old buildings. This is the literal robbing of peter to pay paul. The church wants to see its children educated, but cannot afford to do it because of this competition allows for free private schools. People in todays world are trying too much to get over on govt so they will fall for any stupid ploy put out there. Parents who send their kids to these free private schools don't really give a rip as much as those who sink 10 percent or more of their income into educating their kids. There is no real reason why a charter school would teach better under our envirionment/economy than a public, as it is all based on 'sure this kid's not learning, but he is worth a $8,000 transfer payment from the state, and we have our own bills to pay' mentality.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  3. #3

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    I am getting a little bored with this, but once again, jaws, you are missing the point.

    I can walk across the street from my office to a public school that is widely known for its excellence, and that is, in fact, one of the reasons this town keeps growing. It isn't about the form of ownership, jaws. In the first place, it is about scale. Both your private school in Ghana and this one are small, and they are run, whether by an indiviidual or a board, by people who are easily held accountable, either through the checkbook or an election. As our national politiics demonstrate, you can't have accountability beyond a certain scale. Doesn't matter what form of ownership or organization you're talking about.

    In the second place, it is about ethics. Have you ever gone ahead and done a good job of something you realized you were going to lose money on because that's the way you are, the way you live? The Ghanese teachers aren't prevented from doing a good job because they work for the government. They are prevented by their own laziness. Maybe government faciltates that laziness through a lack of supervision, but what if that private school were owned by a distant corporation? Would it be as good? It might, depending on the people who were involved. Or it might hire the teachers the government is now paying. Haven't you ever dealt with a nonresponsive corporation that is no danger of going out of business due to its nonresponsiveness? Once more, it is NOT about the form of ownership, it is about scale. Verizon can afford to ignore me, it has millions and millions of customers. Yes, if Verizon pisses off enough people, it will eventually have to react, but even then, the executives who are responsible for the lack of responsiveness in the first place, will not suffer. They may be replaced, to be sure, but they will simply open their golden parachutes and land gently on a yacht in the islands.

    The core of your argument is that there has to be relatively rapid, relatively direct feedback in the system. True. But your insistence that government can't deliver that is just as inaccurate as your insistence that the "market" will.

  4. #4
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    I think it varies by state

    I will say that the NYS Regents program that I grew up with in the 70's rocked and I have heard it has been watered down which is a real shame - I still believe the system can be fixed

    Personally, if I was queen, I would institute the Waldorf system for education in the public schools - my second had 3 years of it and I wished we could continue it for her - her self-discipline, and capacity and love for learning is amazing

    I also think that the homeschool revolution has really improved, at least on the island I live on - these kids that are homeschooled are part of a supportive and nurturing environment with other kids and different tutors and they are amazing, articulate and fun kids - if I could swing it, I would do it for my 2nd daughter because that's the kind of environment she needs - so I do agree that private efforts are not without merit -

    the real key to me is competition - it is not a good situation where there is only one school in town and the only other option is home schooling

  5. #5
    Quote Originally posted by DetroitPlanner
    There are tons of these charter schools, that are now funded by the state, to compete with the public schools in operation. Most of them are not worth a damm. There are several dozen of these in my metropolitan area and the only remarkable one is the one being taught out of the Henry Ford Muesum/Greenfield Village.
    Schools funded by the state are state schools. What makes a business accountable to its clients is that it funds itself through exchange, while a government industry funds itself through taxation. Taxation does not come from the clients, and thus it doesn't matter what the clients think or do. The taxes will keep coming as long as the taxman is satisfied.
    Quote Originally posted by Lee Nellis
    I am getting a little bored with this, but once again, jaws, you are missing the point.

    I can walk across the street from my office to a public school that is widely known for its excellence, and that is, in fact, one of the reasons this town keeps growing. It isn't about the form of ownership, jaws. In the first place, it is about scale. Both your private school in Ghana and this one are small, and they are run, whether by an indiviidual or a board, by people who are easily held accountable, either through the checkbook or an election. As our national politiics demonstrate, you can't have accountability beyond a certain scale. Doesn't matter what form of ownership or organization you're talking about.
    Checkbook and election are not the same form of accountability. In an election you can piss off 49.9999% of the people and still retain your full income. If the election is based on many issues, than you essentially can be immune from feedback on a specific problem. If the voters are more concerned about gay marriage than school quality, the parents' concern about schools will be entirely ignored and the system will be fully unaccountable. A private business based on exchange needs 100% of its clients. It is thus much more accountable than any political system.

    If the problem is scale then why hasn't the government scaled down its schools? Why does it keep scaling them up into huge factory schools? Why do private schools naturally adopt small scale? The reason is accountability. Government schools are not accountable. There is no way to make them so as long as they are funded through taxation.

    Quote Originally posted by luckless pedestrian
    the real key to me is competition - it is not a good situation where there is only one school in town and the only other option is home schooling
    Home schooling is a form of competition. A private school owner will be wary that parents will decide to provide for education themselves, and make sure that the quality and cost of the school is competitive against home schoolers.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian the north omaha star's avatar
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    I am a public school kid all the way up to my first Master's degree. I'm getting a second Master's in Real Estate from Johns Hopkins. It's very different to say the least.

    BTW, has anybody else what going on in Omaha with the legislature introducing resegregation of the Omaha Public School system. From little that I know the proposed plan, I am against it. For someone who grew up in the OPS, I didn't see anything wrong with it other than the usual things that most school systems suffer through.
    I am recognizing that the voice inside my head
    is urging me to be myself but never follow someone else
    Because opinions are like voices we all have a different kind". --Q-Tip

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Wannaplan?'s avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jaws
    Government schools are not accountable. There is no way to make them so as long as they are funded through taxation.

    My wife is a second grade teacher in a public school. You have no idea of the many informal and social tactics that parents and administrators use on teachers to ensure accountability. As you imply, accountability may take on various forms (appropriations v. elections), yet the two you have cited are by no means the only forms of accountability or the most direct. In fact, education is a participatory act for everyone in the community, and if not for the parents, education in its various forms of delivery, whether that be public, private, religious, or at home, education would fail without their persistent leadership and influence.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian
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    While for sure that most private schools are better than public schools, there are a few good public schools, that are even on par with the best private ones. That's the case here, but sadly, around here it's not only the type of school what counts, but where it is... if it's not in Santiago you're pretty much screwed... specially in the public sector.

    Same thing goes to Universities, but in this specific case, the best universities are "public" (actually traditional is a better way of saying it). As an example I'll say my university, that it's not owned by the Chilean state (Vatican actually, as all good Catholic universities that claim themselves to be) but does allow the chilean government to give student loans to their students, unlike the commonly known "private" universities. Most of these are cheap and bad, very few are good and expensive and there's an alarming number of bad and expensive ones... For these "universities" education is 100% business. That means that they don't care about the quality of education that they give, as long as they win money.

    I'll stop ranting now, and I won't even mention the money pit that the government has made with public education here...

  9. #9
    Quote Originally posted by Wanigas?
    My wife is a second grade teacher in a public school. You have no idea of the many informal and social tactics that parents and administrators use on teachers to ensure accountability. As you imply, accountability may take on various forms (appropriations v. elections), yet the two you have cited are by no means the only forms of accountability or the most direct.
    The use of informal and social pressures to achieve results with regards to immovable bureaucracies is very common. Since they cannot directly threaten to take away funding from the school, parents have to resort to the next best means available, that is costly and uncertain pressuring of the bureaucrats.

    There is no reason why this kind of pressuring cannot be done under a free market system. The reason it is not used commonly is that it is not necessary, and the clients can generally get what they want by direct appeal to the business. They are saved an enormous amount of effort, stress and grief.

    Quote Originally posted by SkeLeton
    While for sure that most private schools are better than public schools, there are a few good public schools, that are even on par with the best private ones. That's the case here, but sadly, around here it's not only the type of school what counts, but where it is... if it's not in Santiago you're pretty much screwed... specially in the public sector.
    Be careful not to confuse private schools with freedom of education. Private schools that are completely regulated by the government are private in name only.
    Most of these are cheap and bad, very few are good and expensive and there's an alarming number of bad and expensive ones... For these "universities" education is 100% business. That means that they don't care about the quality of education that they give, as long as they win money.
    As long as they deliver the education that people want to get from them, why do you care what quality of education they provide? How do you judge the quality of the education they provide.

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