Outsourcing education, character development, and parenthood itself
George Will offers an interesting column on the Chicago Teachers Union, but it’s more than that. The column touches on much of what’s gone wrong with the larger Academic-Education Complex (and later, becomes even broader still):
Unions can wound themselves by injuring their industries (e.g., steel and autos), but primary blame for improvident contracts with public employees belongs to the elected public officials who grant them.
Are the unions (to include government unions), killing the goose that lays the golden eggs? Or is it leadership who approves such union contracts? It seems both are conspirators in seeking rewards, whether those rewards come in the form of pay and benefits or re-election. And speaking of the goose, that sure is a mess of blood, guts, and feathers laying in the middle of the street.
And why would my olfactory system sense more liberal enthusiasm for new federal bailouts with the intended beneficiary being the members of the academic-educational complex (or the even larger public-service complex)?
There’s also plenty of teachers union blame the victim thinking at work here, even if its logic ultimately fails.
…money — salaries and pensions — may not be the most problematic point of contention. It might be teacher “accountability,” including merit pay, and identifying failing schools and teachers. [Chicago Teachers Union President Karen] Lewis says, “We can’t choose the children that come into our classrooms.” Chicago schools are 86 percent black and Hispanic, and low pupil performances strongly correlate with household incomes.
Teachers unions, however, have painted themselves into a corner by insisting that spending is the best predictor of educational performance — increase financial inputs and cognitive outputs will rise.
In the last 50 years, real per-pupil spending nationwide has tripled and the number of pupils per teacher has declined by a third, yet educational attainments have fallen.
Then, Mr. Will gets quite close to the real issue, the disintegration of the traditional societal values, the family, and of parental responsibility. Wait, we were told it takes a village, weren’t we?
In Chicago, 84 percent of African-American children and 57 percent of Hispanic children are born to unmarried women.
The city is experiencing an epidemic of youth violence — a 38 percent surge in the homicide rate, 53 people shot on a recent weekend, random attacks by roving youth mobs. Social regression, driven by family disintegration, means schools where teaching is necessarily subordinated to the arduous task of maintaining minimal order.
So is Chicago the next Detroit? And is America the next Chicago?
Educational failings are merely symptoms of what happens when government incentivizes the wrong things using other people’s money. And the distortion of government interference reaches far beyond the non-competitive public education monopoly (which itself falls under the larger social-welfare monopoly of public housing, health care, make-work jobs programs, food stamps, green energy, etc.). Conversely, liberals stake out a different position and feel it’s a beneficial thing that our elites know what we really need and what’s good for us.
Elite is rapidly becoming a word which has lost all meaning. Now hurry up and eat your government cheese (and don’t forget your Supreme Court mandated vegetables, either).