Re: Paying for Schools (was: SOCIETY: Re: The privatization ofpublic security)

From: James Rogers (
Date: Wed Aug 22 2001 - 18:49:20 MDT

On 8/22/01 2:33 PM, "Miriam English" <> wrote:
> It makes me feel sad that some people feel so unconcerned at the thought of
> wiping away a whole segment of society. Don't they remember why public
> school exists? There is this waving of arms and saying "Leave it to the
> magic of the free market -- that will fix it." But all it will fix is that
> the rich will have less tax to pay and the poor will go without
> education... and backwards we march to the bad old days.

Did you completely ignore my last post on this subject? I don't know what
things were like in Australia, but in the US we've have at least a century
of both purely private education and purely public education, and a long
period where the two overlapped. There is a lot of well-recorded history on
the subject in this country, and education was considered extremely
important culturally in the Americas. Education *was* better when it was
completely private and more poor people got a better education. It isn't
really even in dispute. Who's waving arms?

What I didn't mention was the years in the early 19th century when there was
both public AND private education equally available in the U.S. By the very
admission of the States at that time, the public educational system was
deplorable and people simply chose to continue using private education
versus going to the public schools offered by the State. By the second half
of the 19th century, rather than admitting failure and giving up on public
education, the States started passing series of laws that essentially forced
poor people to attend the public schools and shut down most of the private
schools. Typical government bureaucracy: rather than fixing the reason
people ignore the public schools, they simply force people to use the
inferior public schools. And that is the legacy we have to work with.
Incidentally many of the (bad) ideas on public education instituted by the
various governments in this country were directly borrowed from the British
and other Europeans; prior to that, the U.S. had a somewhat unique
educational tradition that served it quite well.

As I said, I don't know what Australia's history is, but in *this* country
the poor had educational opportunity even when it was purely a free market
system. And by all the statistics, the poor received a better relative
education during that time than they ever have through the public school
system. So tell me again how public education and the government helped the
poor people.

-James Rogers

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