In a receint blog Badger Democracy questioned the validity of a study done by the Brookings  Institution that was based on statistics.  Statistics have been used by politicians since the mathmatical manipulation tool called statistics. Mark Twain’s quote from his autobiography is a classic example.

Figures often beguile me, particularly when I have the arranging of them myself; in which case the remark attributed to Disraeli would often apply with justice and force: “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.”

Statistics have long been a tool by both sides to push their agenda and as such should be looked at with a jaundics eye.  Being active in the fight against smoking bans I am quite aware of how statistical manipulation is being used to craft public policy, and when standard statistical manipulation doesn’t work they resort to further manipulation using “meta-analysis” So even though I am unfamiliar with the study he refers too and he may be correct in his assessment of the bias in the study, it doesn’t matter.

While progressives like Badger are against corporatism and the monopolies that sometimes result, he ignores the monopolies created by the government and the public school system is a classic example of a monopoly.

This is emphisised in a piece done by the CATO institute.

Competitors. Or, rather, the lack of them. Private sector workers can only demand so much from their companies before the demands become self-defeating. Get a pension package that’s too cushy, a salary that’s too far above the market rate, and the employer will have to pass those costs on to customers. And if those higher prices aren’t accompanied by correspondingly better quality, customers will simply go elsewhere—hurting the employees who asked for more than the market would bear.

And there’s the problem with public schooling: there’s no “elsewhere.” If you don’t like the way your local school district is run, there isn’t a competing school district vying to provide your kids with a better education at a lower cost. You’ve got no place else to go, and unions know this. So they can ask for more employees to be hired, better pensions or health benefits, and they can demand that their compensation not depend on their performance. And there’s very little that parents and taxpayers can do about it.

Badger responded to the following video.

In his arguments against “laissez faire capitalism” he says.

The economic followers of which you speak have been data sifting, propagandizing, and re-writing history for decades, even abusing the “invisible hand” that Adam Smith wrote of in the earliest days of the republic. You need to get out of that box – economic theories and systems do not operate in social, moral, or fiscal equilibrium.

It is in fact compitition that creates that equilibrium. And in the realm of education it is indeed a monopoly and under the current system only the rich are able to explore the alternitives such as private education. This monopoly is brought up in another CATO piece.

No doubt part of the reason that at least the AFT is accepting a little blame is that it sees that teachers unions are losing the sympathies of many members of the public. People are seemingly growing tired of seeing unionized educators enjoying good incomes and expensive perks while those paying the taxes struggle and test scores languish.

The problem with the union reinvention—at least as captured by the Weingarten quote—is that it probably strikes many people as hollow. Why? Because they know that unions are run by normal people and represent normal people, and what they want first and foremost is not what’s best for kids or “fairness,” but getting as good a deal for themselves as possible. In other words, they are starting to see through unions’ selfless-angels facade—the public relations sham of people just wanting a living wage while they give the mythical 110 percent “for the kids” —and are glimpsing normal, profit-seeking human beingswho have had a fairly cushy deal over the decades.

Teachers unions, as those of us at Cato’s Center for Educational Freedom have said, are not the root problem in education, nor are they or the people they represent any more evil or good than most other people. The root educational problem is that public schools are government schools, and politics—which cannot be detached from government—rewards concentrated special interests, of which unionized teachers are among the biggest.

Again it goes to the video of Milton Friedman, the teachers Unions are looking out for their own self interests, not that this is wrong.  It is in fact human nature.  Since he brought up the moral issue when he said “You need to get out of that box – economic theories and systems do not operate in social, moral, or fiscal equilibrium.”  It beggs the question in a free society is it the role of government to craft social,moral or fiscal equilibrium and who decides who’s morals are crafted into law. 

This moral question is brought up in one of the comments to the post.

The Wall | September 14, 2012 at 5:38 am | Reply

“School Vouchers” is a program created to justify using tax dollars to pay for religious classes with tax dollars which is directly blocked by the Constitution.

They should call it “indirectly funding school prayer with tax dollars” and be truthful for once about their motives to cherry pick the Constitution. Run by the evidence burning defrocked politician Scott Jensen whose stench permeates this movement.

Motive? Stripping tax dollars out of the education process.

Not to provide a better education for anyone – except the taxpayer who better be noticing by now. Because studies indicate public schools are the most effective education process and only by de-funding and quoting stacked “studies” and other manufactured statistics can they promote their agenda through a slew of paid bloggers. These tax siphoners have overplayed their hand and taxpayers and voters must shut them down.

Reject Republicans, Reduce Corporate Influence and Arrest Temporary Governor Scott Walker !

Of course this is a compleate bastardization of the constitution that has been perpitrated by the Secular Left.  Perhaps the above poster was a product of a public school education and reading comprehention totally escapes them. For those who have a reasonable level of reading comprehention here is the First Amendment.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
The secular left have in fact bastardized the concept of freedom of religion to freedom from religion. As long as the government demands taxpayers pay for a childs education does not mean that the government has the the right to dictate that the government has the right to mandate a secular education.  It is the right of the parent to dictate the moral teachings of the child.  The Constitution is not violated as long as the Government does not favor one religion over another.  The voucher system satisfies the Constitution.  Mandating a secular “freedom from religion” does not.  So again freedom of choice and compitition works.  Government mandates do not!