Re: Reforming Education

Dan Fabulich (
Thu, 7 Oct 1999 21:46:54 -0400 (EDT)

'What is your name?' 'Clint O'Dell.' 'IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT YOUR NAME IS!!!':

> Schools will still be the deciding factor whether students pass or fail.

Oi. My mistake. Here and I thought you were arguing for Lee's proposal where a third-party testing organization hands out *credentials,* esp. specialized job-related credentials, not an overarching test of the schools. (Though, naturally, students' performance on Lee's tests might also be used to evaluate the schools.)

> The standardized test only rates the school.

Fine by me. :)

> >The former simply falls out from libertarian theory;
> Are you saying market performance is some how affiliated with political
> thought?

"The former" in that sentence was the claim that the government should not mandate schooling. This has nothing to do with market performance, naturally, and I think (rather uncontroversially) that if you believe that libertarianism is correct, then you will probably also believe that gov't should not mandate schooling, though you might believe that parents have the positive right to force their children to go to school.

As for market failure: It has been argued that capitalism allocates goods in such a way as to maximize human utility. It has also been argued that this is not the case. Instances where it turns out not to be the case are called "market failures" by economists.

> That's a great idea, but I fail to see why people will give me money by
> explaining a better idea to them. So what do I do? Walk in, say I have a
> great idea that will reform schools creating a society of well informed and
> intellegent citizens, how much is that worth to ya?

The pile of cash comes in when your evaluation organization is getting paid for its reports, or perhaps paid by schools for the opportunity to get tested, depending on your business model. Since you're the first/only kid on the block, you get an especially large bundle in exchange for the idea.

If you believe that
1) The workings of the free market have resulted in inefficiency, and 2) No one can make a pile of cash off of rectifying this, then

3) You're arguing that the market has failed.

The most common response to perceived market failure is a call for government mandates.


-unless you love someone-
-nothing else makes any sense-

e.e. cummings