The Logic Lifeline

A logical approach to sorting out world events. Where logic, opinion and speculation are combined to produce a reasoned, but entertaining reading experience. The unofficial hometown conservative blog of Woodridge, Il

Saturday, January 14, 2006

John Stossel hits it out of the park with Stupid in America

John Stossel's report "Stupid in America" is a great piece on school choice. While liberals and some duped conservatives are constantly crying about putting more money into the education system, this report shows clearly "...there actually isn't a link between spending and student achievement." It points out that per pubil spending is twice as much as 30 years ago, yet we are not seeing a return on that investment.

To further the point there is no link between money and results, the story highlights Ben Chavis "...a former public school principal who now runs an alternative charter school in Oakland, Calif., that spends thousands of dollars less per student than the surrounding public schools." His school has the highest test scores in the city. Chavis also debunks the myth that poverty of the students is the main cause of poor performance. He says "Give me the poor kids, and I will outperform the wealthy kids who live in the hills. And we do it ."

Here is a link to a former post of mine showing New York City paying almost $15,000 per pupil per year and still doing poorly.

The Stossel story targets the real solution: school choice and competition. It shows a comparison of above average American students from New Jersey testing against students in Belgium and getting their clocks cleaned. Belgium has a voucher system where the money is linked to which school the student attends. The story states:
"American schools don't teach as well as schools in other countries because they are government monopolies, and monopolies don't have much incentive to compete. In Belgium, by contrast, the money is attached to the kids — it's a kind of voucher system. Government funds education — at many different kinds of schools — but if a school can't attract students, it goes out of business."
The full piece is worth reading. It is amazing that such proven results continue to meet resistance in the US. To me it boils down to two things: the power of the unions and the desire of the NEA to shove a non-educational agenda down the throats of our kids instead of teaching them. Liberals are the first to decry that conservatives don't care about kids. Why? Because we want to fix the problem instead of throwing more money at it. Liberals either are too stupid to understand the facts or they love power more than our kids. Their hypocrisy on this issue should be a stench to every thinking American. It is time to get choice and competition in our schools and time to get the liberal, socialist programming out.


  • At 1:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    There are those who will mischaracterize Stossel and those as being “anti-education.” This label is inaccurately conveyed, as it should be labeled “pro-education reform”. So to use “anti-education.” and denominate those is misinforming.

    The “War on Public Education” is a straw man. There has never been such a war. Any time spent defending against it is time that diverts much-needed time and energy away from the real issues. If there’s no war, then what’s the fuss? Who are these imaginary soldiers? They are simply observers, who pointedly remind us of the many facets of public education which can use serious reform. They however, are very interested in the views and observations of intelligent peers who can contribute to the debate in a constructive way. Part of the debate is calling a spade a spade, shining a light on egregious examples of the misdeeds of public educators, their union, administrators, and aspects of the system itself.

    Yes, there are many public schools where excellence is part of the daily culture, where students are given the best chances to lead productive lives after graduation. There are countless public educators who nobly fight the good fight against ignorance and poverty, and who, despite terrible obstacles, defeat these foes daily.

    It should not be offensive to truly dedicated teachers and administration to point out the ugly truth where it may lie. These blemishes aren’t just isolated in a system that is by far mostly good; they are endemic. Some examples of serious issues, in need of reform: teacher unions, political activism, teacher certification, mediocrity, opposition to competition, home schooling opposition, zero tolerance, and lack of accountability.

    There are four kinds of teachers and administrators staffing public schools. First, there are dedicated teachers and administrators who are effective. Second, there are dedicated folks who aren’t. Third, there are people for whom “it’s just a job,” lastly, and most seriously, there are incompetent teachers and administrators.

    Members of the first group should take no offense at any criticisms of the other three groups; they should be leading the charge for reform. The second group, (due to curriculum or techniques), can be retrained, the third group needs to be weeded out, and last group need to be fired, period.

    These reforms along with tax credits and free market choice will provide the best environment. True competition can cure most of these ills.

    Don’t fall for the ‘We are Great!’ mantra.

    More at

  • At 7:01 PM, Blogger All_I_Can_Stands said…

    Chris, thanks for stopping by and adding your post. I think you had some great comments.

    If I understand you correctly, I think you are pointing that there are good and bad elements in the schools and that we should not mischaracterize them all as bad, but introduce reform.

    I think school choice by vouchers is the best way to reform schools. The "market" will weed out the bad and migrate to the good.

  • At 11:26 AM, Blogger LASunsett said…

    I agree with you AICS.

    Competition has always been the tool of choice for improvement. Monopolies have always been the road to ineffectiveness, poor products, and poor services, coupled with higher costs.

    Why should the government have monopolies on schools?

  • At 5:47 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said…

    After 25 years in the traditional classroom, most of that time in a private school, I now am a contracted teacher for groups of homeschoolers. I didn't seek out my current postion, but rather entered this new forum because of my father's health situation.

    I love working with homeschoolers! And you know what? If I don't do my job, I lose enrollment and, in effect, lose my job. I'm always on my toes to do my best.

    Therefore, I agree with John Stossel when he advocates competition in the school system. And Stossel was right to present those videos. Many schools have those types of severe discipline problems. A large part of the problem is the NEA and the teacher unions.

  • At 8:32 PM, Blogger All_I_Can_Stands said…

    Always, thanks for your comments. Your job sounds very interesting. I work with one home-schooler (Chip) and though it is a challenge it is very rewarding.


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