Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Let's Play Blame the Teacher

California keeps cutting billions of dollars from education. The real problem is the teacher's union, yeah? So the answer is a simple prescription of multiple doses of multiple choice tests. The rationale of these tests takes me back a few decades to the Cold War when proponents of the free market used to ridicule Soviet planning techniques. These same people sometimes referred to a cartoon from the Soviet humor magazine Krokodil showing a nail factory which had fulfilled its output plan by producing one single nail, the size of the plant. Screwing up nails is bad; screwing up kids is inexcusable. Blaming the teacher's union, while refusing to raise sufficient taxes to support the educational system and the educators -- that's easy.


Rdan said...

I can site examples locally of teachers and staff saying the unions screwed up GM, yet rely heavily on the unions protections afforded them personally.

It is in some peopl'e natures I believe.

Robert D Feinman said...

It's all of piece with NCLB which was designed from the start to destroy (or at least discredit) teacher's unions.

After tenure protection and union's get abolished then the right gets to push for using (even more) of public funds for private schools. Notice that the voucher system only helps those who can afford to send their kids to expensive schools in the first place, and the charter schools find ways to deny difficult students entry.

Even with this filtering they don't produce better outcomes than public schools. The net result of these efforts over the past 30 years has been the resegregation of school systems with all the attendant problems.

As for California's problems, it seems to me there is a fundamental question that needs to be answered. Does the state have enough money (not the government, the total state economy) to pay for the needed services or not?

If it does then it is a political issue of how to get some of the money from those who have it in excess and put it to where it is needed. If the state economy really is too poor to provide all the services that are needed then true rationing is required.

I tend to doubt that one of the largest economies in the world can't provide for its residents, so all the grief must be yet another instance of class warfare, but it would be nice to see some actual data.

Jack said...

I've made this point on Angry Bear so if you've read it before pardon my redundancy.

The situation in Ca., and some other states and municipalities, is yet worse that Perelman describes. Now that so many localities are "broke" and still intent not to raise funds through taxation there is a clarion call to reduce spending so as to cope with budget deficits. Teachers and other state and municipal employees will bear the brunt of so-called fiscal discipline. There hasn't been any genuine discipline any time recently, but now there are lots of employees who should be happy to have any job at all. Never mind the various contractual obligations that the state and local governments have to their employees. Put them on required "furlough," an innocuous description, which means that you don't have to pay them as much as you had agreed to do some time in the recent past. That becomes a tax increase for government workers via an income reduction to help balance the budgets. Besides we all know how over paid and coddled government workers really are. About as much so as all union workers. God, their salaries some times actually go over $100,000 a year if you count all the benefits. Screw them!! What do they do to deserve such largesse?

And besides, I'd rather not have my taxes raised to accomplish the same goal.