Dr. Sam Mister
June 17, 2014
The Mediocrity of the Leviathan
In Kentucky, there's no possible way for any charter school to form. Ever. Kentucky even lost out on millions of dollars with Obama's “Race To The Top” initiatives because there wasn't even the legal framework necessary in place for the creation of a charter school. The bureaucracy is blocking free money from coming into Kentucky, and it's usually the bureaucratic administration who soaks up the necessary quality teacher funds at schools. Vouchers are better than Charter schools anyways. Charter schools are financed by the State, which competes with other public schools, for financing. Instead, the State could just pass out Vouchers, and give us, we the people, the power, and let us choose between any accredited school available—public or private, Muslim or Catholic.
Vouchers would give power directly to the student, and that's where the power should have been the whole time. In college, some of us have federal college student loans, but those loans go through the education institutions themselves first. So the school will get our “voucher”, so to speak, and they get their money first, their tuition, and whatever other technology or parking or other fees to pad the bill, they get their fees first, from our purse, from our bank accounts, and then eventually, usually a month after your first classes have started, a residual check is cut, which is necessary for housing, electricity, Internet, gas, etc. While college loans aren't the same as public school vouchers, universal principles, such as basic supply and demand, macroeconomics, the allure of the freedom of choice, can emerge, since it's similar. The College loan system, financed through the federal government, can be made better if the money was given directly to the students, and they used their money in their school of choice. This would give the students, aka the customers, the power, which is where the power should be. This would make education directly attached to the respectability and quality of education from the school itself, and the magic hand of the free market would insure accountability across the globe.
The Voucher movement is how college loans should be. By placing the money directly in the student's hands, we give them the option to choose whichever school they want to attend. This forces the schools to have quality programs, to make sure learning is fun and exciting. Some say the money for vouchers should go into low-income schools, or for charter schools themselves. I disagree. Give the money directly to the people, and let them decide where to spend their education vouchers, at accredited institutions. The accreditation needs to be top notch.
Some say that parents won't make the effort to compare and contrast the different schools. This is also lies. “Chumacero Gomez and Paredes (2011) consider a refined measure of distance home-school, to estimate trade-offs between distance, price, and quality. Based on revealed (and not declared) preferences, both papers find a relevant effect of school quality on parent's decisions.” (Chumacero 2012). Poor minority students are just as capable as anybody else, and in fact, when given the chance, they are willing to bridge the gap, and walk the extra mile, literally walk an extra mile, or 2 or 3, in order to go the school they want to go to. “Clearly, the students are willing to travel long distances to assist to elite schools, confirming the results of Chumacero, Gomez and Paredes (2011) which show that, on average, despite having a school available at less than 500 meters from their households, students travel an average of 3 kilometers to assist to the school of their choice.” (Chumacero 2012).
I guess I'm a libertarian when it comes to this issue. “Libertarians like charter schools because of their variety but, in all likelihood, are dissatisfied that they don't go far enough in supporting parent choice. In fact, many Libertarians think charters prevent education in the United States from evolving into a full voucher system.” (Raymond 2014). It just makes logical sense: money spent on charter schools takes away from Voucher coffers.
Barbourville, Kentucky schools receive $8,362 per pupil, while richer schools, such as Anchorage schools, in Jefferson County, per student spending was at $19,927 levels (Cheves 2014). While the disparity was supposed to have been made illegal with the 1990 KERA reform, the SEEK formula was put in place to make sure state funds were distributed equitably, between rich and poor alike, but evidently, some schools in Kentucky are getting twice the greenbacks as the rest. But even if we took the poorest school in Kentucky, we can learn from it as an example. $8,362 is how much the poorest student in Barbourville, Kentucky receives from the state, through their public school services. $8,362 is roughly the price of a Sudbury Valley Democratic education: $8,400, according to Sudbury Valley's official website: http://www.sudval.com/03_admi_01.html. Sudbury Valley is a postmodern altruistic utopian educational delight, where democracy and dignity of one's own sovereign autonomy are held in high esteem. The 2010 and 2009 average spending for Kentucky students were a bit higher than impoverished Barbourville schools, being $8,948 and $8,756, respectively (Mann 2012).
$8700... $8900... this is plenty of money for a Sudbury Valley Democratic education—$8,400—with several hundred dollars left over. So the funding for Kentucky's poorest can give us the best that alternative education has to offer. Since schools are ran as totalitarian as the State, there's no doubt that Kentucky students would flock to true blue democratic educational institutions, that actually taught useful, fun, engaging, entertaining, knowledge, as well as teaching them how to treat each other better. But that's the reason charter schools, and vouchers for that matter, are banned in Kentucky. Totalitarian structures loves their monopoly because things are easier for them, to make autocratic decisions as a dictator, instead of using tedious democratic structures. If charter schools or vouchers were offered, Kentucky schools would see a mass exodus of biblical proportions. A product is so much easier to sell when it's compulsory, mandatory, by law, by threat of fines and jail time for truancy... Huckleberry Finn was truant, and he's the emblematic of the American character, being the star in the great American novel.
If vouchers were being passed out to Kentucky students, if Kentucky students had the option of going to a different—democratic—school, where they had a greater voice, and they were able to study whatever they wanted to study, AND it was cheaper, there's no doubt in my mind which school I would send my child to... or at least push them towards, since ultimately, it's them whose got to go through the programs, and be satisfied with the finish project, so it's the students themselves who makes the final decision.
Several of Kentucky's failing schools have been selected to massively change their ways, to radically change how they are organized, which is Frankfort's way of testing out “charter” schools, without actually calling the “magnet” schools, or innovative and experimental schools that. Louisville schools is holding a competition where one gets to design the entire framework of 3 failing schools, with the decision to come out in the Fall of this year.
Unfortunately, in Kentucky, there is no way for any charter schools to be established, and vouchers aren't being passed out anytime soon. The only way for a Sudbury Valley Democratic education is through private means, which means our own money, with a organization that has it's own teachers, curriculum, charter, customs, etc. sometimes with a religious bent. Which is fine, anybody can establish their own private business up however they want to set it up, but there's less consistency, and also, private school's tuition makes it out-of-bounds for most folks, especially in Kentucky.
Since charter schools are all over the place with regulations, curriculum, dress code, policies, etc. it's difficult to ascertain if ALL charter schools are better than public schools. I'm sure there's many that aren't. But the competition created by having a few charter schools on the margins... even Frankfort is dabbling in their own forms of “charter schools”, so the policy has already been changed. But to never confront or offer any new ideas, we might as well be a dinosaur on board the Titantic defending the Leviathan with our swords and pens until the bitter Dark Ages reemerge... when giving money directly to the consumers, not the producers, is clearly the best approach! I would rather be given cash for a gift, because then I can use that cash, and get myself whatever I want. By taking a gift, I'm already indebted, at the very least, to be somewhat happy that I received a gift, and to say “thanks”, and then pretend like I like it, even if I don't, since it wasn't really anything I needed or wanted anyways. That's a Kentucky education. A crappy gift of smothering creative-killing relationship-destroying oppression. A gift I'd rather regift, or better yet, throw away, in order to keep the fascism at bay, to prevent it from penetrating other innocent virgin souls.
“No thanks Grandpa, I already have a raggedly old flannel jacket, but nice try anyways.” Instead of Grandpa wasting his time and money, Grandpa would have done himself and me better had he just given me the money to buy a jacket, or went out shopping for a jacket with me. The latter would have offered ample time for grown male bonding. I would have fared far better had I choose my own path, instead of being coerced into theirs.
Bill Hicks declared that if you think you're free just because you live in America, walk around without any money, and see how free you are. Freedom isn't free. It costs at least a buck o'five if not more. To enjoy freedom, one must have life, and just maintaining life has high costs: food, shelter (60%), electricity, gasoline, car insurance, etc., so therefore, logically, one must conclude that since life costs money, then freedom costs money too. In fact, Freedom equals money for Life plus money for Freedom, so therefore, Freedom is more expensive than Life. A May 20, 2014 article declares that “More than 3,400 apply for school vouchers”, speaking about Wisconsin's voucher program. They have a cap of 1,000 vouchers for private and religious school students. http://www.channel3000.com/education/more-than-3400-apply-for-wisconsin-vouchers/26075480. It's no surprise that Vouchers are popular. Like with Obamacare in Kentucky, sometimes ain't nobody speaking the truth, on either side, and then all of a sudden, the truth done popped itself up, and stood itself up proudly, and displayed itself to both freedom-loving and working class peoples all over the world. It's free money. Yeah yeah yeah.. it's taxes, I know, we all pay for that, but we're all paying for school taxes anyways, and actually, those putting their children in private schools are paying taxes for everybody's
Cheves, John. 2014, January 4. “Tale of two Kentucky schools: Barvbourville gets $8,362 per student; Anchorage gets $19,927”. http://www.kentucky.com/2014/01/04/3018252/tale-of-two-kentucky-schools-barbourville.html
Chumacero, Romulo A. 2012, December 1. Vouchers, choice, and public policy: An overview*
Estudios de Economia. Vol. 39 – No. 2. Pg. 115-122.
Mann, David A. 2012, July 27. “Kentucky ranks 38th in per-pupil spending; Indiana ranks 31st”.
Raymond, Margaret E. 2014, February 1. “To no avail. A critical look at the charter school debate.” Phi Delta Kappan. Vol. 95. Issue 5. pg. 8-12. 5p. 3 Color Photographs.