"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Maryland Democrats Wake Up and Smell the Black Coffee

Update: Sincere thanks to Mr. Joseph P. Trippi for stopping by our comments section and giving us the opportunity to correct an error made by the Washington Times and relayed by us. Mr. Trippi does not condone the use of racial epithets and confectionary missiles in political debate. The Washington Times has issued a correction. We do likewise, apologize for the misunderstanding, and are genuinely happy to learn that the Maryland Democratic Party's roster of jerks has one fewer member than previously thought.

However, I cannot accept Mr. Trippi's associated charge that the Washington Times's error was the result of a conservative political agenda. The Times reporter seems to have made an honest, if sloppy, editing error, and his editors were quick to correct the record. This behavior compares quite favorably with the New York Times, which cannot after weeks of controversy manage to adequately correct factual misstatements appearing on its Op-Ed page, despite a clear stated policy and the apparently sincere efforts of both Gail Collins and Byron Calame.

In a followup to Tom's post of yesterday, highlighting the idiotic and offensive statements of a number of Maryland Democrats in defense of a series of racial insults and battery-by-Nabisco directed at Republican Lt. Gov. and Senate candidate Michael Steele, I'm happy to report that the state party seems to have a few members whose elevators still travel to the top floor. In particular, Senate candidate and former NAACP president Kweisi Mfume distanced himself from remarks made by his spokesman, Joe Trippi (yes, that Joe Trippi), who had characterized pelting Mr. Steele with Oreo cookies as an example of "pointing out the obvious."

Martin O'Malley (who is also running in the Senate primary and may therefore find himself on the wrong end of a Trippi-launched Rice Krispies Treat barrage before next spring), intoned "If there are criticisms to be leveled, they should be leveled on issues." I agree, Mayor O'Malley. Let's get down to issues. An examination of the fortunes of the black Baltimore underclass under the forty-year leadership of the Democratic Party would bring to light a number of issues that might fairly be addressed. Pass the milk.

57 comments:

connie deady said...

An examination of the fortunes of the black Baltimore underclass under the forty-year leadership of the Democratic Party would bring to light a number of issues that might fairly be addressed. Pass the milk.

You raise an interesting issue I'd be happy to discuss. The implication of your comments are that somehow a mayor has power to really improve the lot of his city's underclass. I honestly doubt that. While no doubt the mayor can do a lot to improve the quality of life in a city, by efficient administration and reducing crime, for example, but to change the dynamics of race and poverty is a bit much to ask.

However, for the sake of discussion, I'd be curious to hear how anyone thinks one could reduce the numbers of poor minorities in any large city. It's hard to argue that Republicans could do better, because there are so few Republican big city mayors.

New York has been an exception to the rule. I can honestly admire the ability of Guliani and Bloomsberg to reduce crime and make the streets safer, but I've yet to see any evidence that they've made any inroads into the social structure of the city. Last time I looked Harlem was still sitting there and not a place I'd choose to go, Bill Clinton's office aside.

Other than a general "privatization" philosophy, how do you think Republicans would improve cities for the poor?

James Elliott said...

By cutting Medicare and food stamps?

The Classic Liberal Anonymous said...

What R's should do and what they would do are probably two different things.

Should:
1) vouchers for education;
2) vouchers for education;
3) vouchers for education.

This falls under the umbrella of privatization, however, and you are asking from something other than that.

Hmmm ... good question!

Would
How about the following free classes:
- parenting 101;
- finances 101;
- abstinence 101.

Should, in addition to the above:
- birth control 101.

This can all be done at the local level.

Tlaloc said...

I've yet to hear a good argument for school vouchers. While I certainly believe that parents should be able to seek private education for their kids the idea that the public should pay for it strikes me a little odd. The public finances a school system that anyone regardless of means can use. If you choose not to then it's up to you to pay for the alternative.

My own kids are homeschooled but I see no reason that should be subsidized by the state.

connie deady said...

I'd probably be in favor of vouchers in a city school district situation. It's not like inner city schools could get worse.

I'd hope that local churches and community groups would get together and form their own schools. That could have the benefit of keeping the money into the community rather than corporations coming in and taking it away.

As I've said before I'm a fan of smallness, innovation and diversity, so allowing communities to be creative with education could be a good thing.

No offense to my Republican friends here, but my problem with Republicans in this context is I'm not really sure what commitment they have to making the lives of the black poor underclass better. Not to say that in the abstract they wouldn't favor it, but that it merits any significant considerations where they would be willing to actually sacrifice for it.

Joe Trippi said...

Surprise, surprise but it turns out someone over at the Washington Times has an agenda other than reporting the news.

Two days ago I received a call from reporter S.A. Miller of the Washington Times — he asked me if I condoned throwing Oreo cookies at Lt. Gov Steele or calling him an “Uncle Tom”. My immediate response was that such attacks “were dispicable and have no place in American politics — that such attacks were repugnant”

You can not find that quote in either of two Times stories on the subject.

Miller later in the interview asked me if race would be an issue — I said that civil rights and discrimination were obvious issues that mattered and that there was a diference “between stating the obvious and calling someone names” — and used a recent controversy over a fundraiser for Gov. Erlich as an example of something that was obviously an issue and not name calling.

So how did the paper report that interview?

“Even the spokesman for Mr. Mfume’s campaign said pelting Mr. Steele with Oreo cookies and calling him an “Uncle Tom” are simply “pointing out the obvious.”

“There is a difference between pointing out the obvious and calling someone names,” Mfume spokesman Joseph R. Trippi said Tuesday.”

First of all its Joseph P. Trippi — second it is totally inaccurate in regards to any answers I made to the reporter’s questions — FOR THE RECORD THE REPORT IS COMPLETE BULLSHIT.

If the Washington Times is a legitimate reporter of the news it will retract this BS and set the record straight.

The editors should read the reporter’s notes from the interview — because anyone who reads those notes will see that the Washington Times reported the exact opposite of what I said. They didn’t get it wrong by a few degrees — they got what I said completely wrong.

connie deady said...

Wow, Joe Trippi posted here. I'm really honored to share space with the man.

And yes, anyone who reads the Washington Post clearly doesn't desire news but prefers propaganda.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Even before your last post, Connie, I wanted to do a GOP mea culpa, or at least to admit a lack of imagination.

I think we're largely deaf to details. We favor principles over process. It might be a man thing.

We're largely disinterested in the minutae of local politics, whether to spend this million here on more computers for the kids or on more carpool incentives.

We'd rather cut $100 million worth of such stuff, plow it back into business tax incentives, and get some jobs back into the inner city, because the working man tends away from less socially productive pursuits than crime or the dole.

The attraction of a Rudy Guiliani, and Rudy Giuliani sui generis among (thinking) Republicans, despite his almost total disagreement with them on sex issues, is that he actually applied conservative principles to local governance ("the broken window theory") and by nearly all accounts substantially improved the quality of life for all in the largest city in America.

I think we overrate individual self-governance too much. Or not...

Joe Trippi said...

http://washingtontimes.com/corrections/20051103-103012-9081r.htm

"Due to an editing error, The Washington Times yesterday incorrectly reported the comments by a spokesman for Maryland senatorial candidate Kweisi Mfume regarding racially tinged attacks against Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele. Mfume spokesman Joseph R. Trippi said it was wrong to pelt Mr. Steele with Oreo cookies or to call him an "Uncle Tom." "

Matt Huisman said...

I would love to know what how an 'editing error' caused that kind of mistake.

These are the kinds of mistakes that deserve more than a page 10 correction announcement. This is a front page retraction and/or a firing offense.

S. T. Karnick said...

Matt's comment is right on the money. Thank you, Mr. Trippi, for joining our forum to set the record straight.

Kathy Hutchins said...

Wow, Joe Trippi posted here. I'm really honored to share space with the man.

I wouldn't read too much into Mr. Trippi's patronage. He made his reputation as an online wunderkind, and I suspect he uses RSS feeds and aggregators to keep track of who's saying what about him and his candidate(s) du jour.

And yes, anyone who reads the Washington Post clearly doesn't desire news but prefers propaganda

Now, now, Connie, the WaPo has been trying to do better and its reputation is now certainly far ahead of the NYT and LAT in that respect.

Oh, you meant the Washington Times, didn't you.

Heh.

Matt Huisman said...

No offense to my Republican friends here, but my problem with Republicans in this context is I'm not really sure what commitment they have to making the lives of the black poor underclass better. Not to say that in the abstract they wouldn't favor it, but that it merits any significant considerations where they would be willing to actually sacrifice for it.

I suppose, Connie, that rather than consider what sacrifices I might be willing to make (because I'm already making some), I'd first rather talk about what society owes to its members. Ultimately, I think it owes them opportunity (and/or a freedom from onerous obstacles). We can argue over what the precise definition of opportunity might be, but I can say that it is not the same as (outcome) fairness. The promised land of the civil rights struggle was equal opportunity, not parity (even if one would hope that might come)…and I believe we are at a point now where most of the advancement for minorities will come from the efforts of its individuals.

The frustrating part for me, as an outsider, is watching people buy into the notion that there is no hope…that the entire system is stacked against them and explains away any poor choices an individual may make. No program can convince people that this is not true…there is no dollar amount that we can throw at this that will make someone say that things are now fair. And this crushes my desire to sacrifice.

The real hope for overcoming these problems is an intense desire to overcome the system, in spite of its obstacles and past injustices on the part of the minorities AND personal engagement from the rest of us, so that any assistance provided is viewed not as pity or reparations, but as the fruit of our genuine care.

James Elliott said...

As I sat in my living room last night, rereading some of my old textbooks and poring over social welfare data while preparing for my paper on locality development, I came to a realization.

Neither side is wholly wrong or right. The more I learn, the more I see that both sides have excellent points and that the bulk of their contentions are not mutually exclusive. Everyone agrees on the problems, and many agree on possible solutions. Where we disagree tends to be on implementation - and there is plenty of middle ground here to work with - and causation. The causation is the sticking point, and here is where the most reconciliation is possible. Through discussions here, in class, and in the books I am forced to devour by evil, evil professors I have come to see that when it comes to causation, both sides score important points and both sides engage in erroneous thinking. For example, conservatives are largely (not entirely, but largely) wrong for emphasizing welfare itself as the problem. The statistics don't bear that out. However, liberals, in their fervent desire to wash away the stains of multi-generational racial guilt, refuse to focus on what the conservatives have the guts to address personal behavior, which does have bearing on the problems of poverty.

The problem of poverty is too important to waste time trying to score ideological points over one another. So I'm declaring a personal detente. I want solutions, not arguments over causation. And I'll do my best to live up to it, even though old habits are hard to break.

It's too early to think this hard. Where's my Starbucks?

The Classic Liberal Anonymous said...

My own kids are homeschooled but I see no reason that should be subsidized by the state.

Wow ... we have something in common ... or at least had something in common until my oldest started private school.

Using the argument that "tax money ought to educate our kids", then the idea of vouchers is reasonable.

If you buy into the view of the teachers union, then you'd think that "government schools" would cease to exist if vouchers were in place.

Arguments for:
-vouchers will allow those who cannot afford a private education to get one;
- those stuck in failing inner-city schools can leave;
- competition will force PSS to increase efficiency, lower cost.

Tlaloc said...

"I'd probably be in favor of vouchers in a city school district situation. It's not like inner city schools could get worse."

The question is if they can ever get better when their funds are siphoned away to subsidize rich families educational choices.

Matt Huisman said...

What would happen to school funding if all of the private school kids suddenly showed up?

Tlaloc said...

"Using the argument that "tax money ought to educate our kids", then the idea of vouchers is reasonable."

I wouldn't make that argument. I'd say tax money should provide for a common free educational option for all families. Anything other than that isn't the public's responsibility. Can you give me a good reason the public should subsidize the educational choices of the wealthy?



"If you buy into the view of the teachers union, then you'd think that "government schools" would cease to exist if vouchers were in place."

Given that schools are already generally underfunded what do you think will happen when more funds are taken out of them?



"-vouchers will allow those who cannot afford a private education to get one;
- those stuck in failing inner-city schools can leave;
- competition will force PSS to increase efficiency, lower cost."

A nice theory but it runs into a few snags in practice.
First of all vouchers do nothing to help the poor because they are only used by the upper middle and upper class who can actually get into provate schools. Those schools wouldn't touch an inner city kid regardless how much you paid them because they were founded on the concept of elitism and often racism.
Consequently your first and second points break down because regardl;ess of the presence of vouchers thos inner city kids are still going to be stuck in the inner city schools which will now have even less money.
As for your third point if you hadn't noticed since the public schools will still have a captive audience there's really no competitive pressure upon them. Rather it's a simple matter of doing the same job with less money, a job they already can't do underfunded as they are.
Again the school vouchers only serve to save money for people who can afford the private schools in the first place because those are the only ones the private schools are letting in anyway.

Hunter Baker said...

First off, let's thank James for a wonderful AHA. I've had that feeling many times, James. The dynamic tension between left and right is probably a good thing when it comes to policy. Even if I think the left is wrong about prescriptions, they do make sure some things are given priority that the right might not think enough about.

Second, that Washington Times bit was bad. By virtue of the Golden Rule, I'm compelled to feel sorry for Trippi. I imagine he's pleased the Dem. establishment didn't come out and bash him ultra-quickly like the White House did Bill Bennett for an absolute non-offense.

Tlaloc said...

" What would happen to school funding if all of the private school kids suddenly showed up?"

You mean if the rich mommies and daddies had to send their kids to public school? Well you'd see school funding take off.

I live in the portland area, the local very wealthy suburb is Lake oswego. The general population there has more money than god. The cops carry submachine guns often because you do NOT start any trouble in Lake Oswego. Strangely enough the public schools in Lake Oswego are rather well funded and equiped. Partly of course this is because of the local tax income, but partly it's because the kids in the school are upper crust and their parents wouldn't let their kids be seen dead in a school with vermin infestations or asbestos in the vents.

The Classic Liberal Anonymous said...

Can you give me a good reason the public should subsidize the educational choices of the wealthy?

The public should fund the education of all.

Using your logic, the poor should suffer because they cannot afford better.

ALL voucher programs implemented in the USA have taken LESS money (on a per pupil basis) than the public cost of education.

Thus, the money available per pupil increases when vouchers are offered.

Tlaloc...your "punish the rich" attitude has the unintended consequence of beating down the poor.

Matt Huisman said...

You mean if the rich mommies and daddies had to send their kids to public school? Well you'd see school funding take off.

I'm assuming you're being sarcastic, but my question is real. What would the state do in that situation? Here in Chicago, the Catholic schools represent an enormous amount of the total school age population. If they were to suddenly pull the plug, what would happen?

The answer is that the state would be forced to come up with more money, either because they have a system that funds education by headcount or because the impact to the local schools would be devastating.

The gov't has been given a mandate to fund the education of all students. Private schools only mask what the true cost of that mandate really is.

The Classic Liberal Anonymous said...

Tlaloc. I am short in time. Needless to say, a quick google search gave me this link.

First, this program is not for your so-called wealthy, but for the poor.

Tell me, please, why do liberals oppose these programs? You don't need to answer, I already know why.

Tlaloc said...

CLA: "The public should fund the education of all."

Indeed it should fund an educational option available to all, that doens't mean subsidizing the choices of anyone who wants something else.


Matt: "I'm assuming you're being sarcastic, but my question is real. What would the state do in that situation? Here in Chicago, the Catholic schools represent an enormous amount of the total school age population. If they were to suddenly pull the plug, what would happen?"

That year the schools would suffer terribly and the next year the fundung measure for the schools might actually pass. I don't understand how you can recognize that the public education is insufficient for the task and then suggest a measure that only drains the coffers further to provide money to those who don't need it.

Lets be honest here: the voucher system is just another aspect of norquist's grand plan to shrink government until he can "drown it in his bathtub." Vouchers drain money from a government service enfeebling the government and making it seem like public education can't work so that people reject it entirely. It's simply an assault on social services exactly like social security "reform," tax "reform," and welfare "reform." Its the continuing tale of class warfare.

Tlaloc said...

" Tlaloc. I am short in time. Needless to say, a quick google search gave me this link."

Dude, national review. Not exactly an impartial source (or a particularly accurate one). Should I provide you a link to a teacher's union for rebuttal?


"Tell me, please, why do liberals oppose these programs? You don't need to answer, I already know why."

See my last post, it's a blatant attack of the rich upon the poor.

Tlaloc said...

"First, this program is not for your so-called wealthy, but for the poor."

sure. Oh by the way maybe this will interest you:

With median 2002-03 tuitions at day schools ranging from $11,650 for first graders to $15,000 for high school students (add at least $13,000 more for boarding school, according to the National Association of Independent Schools), you've got yourself a financial dilemma if you gross less than $200,000 a year.

Money.cnn.com
hrrm. Which leaves two possibilities. Either the voucher will cover the 11k+ cost allowing the poor to participate (assuming further that the private school will actually admit them) in which case you are bleeding the public school system dry, or it won't cover all of the cost in which case the poor are still out of luck. You can't have it both ways.

Matt Huisman said...

That year the schools would suffer terribly and the next year the fundung measure for the schools might actually pass. I don't understand how you can recognize that the public education is insufficient for the task and then suggest a measure that only drains the coffers further to provide money to those who don't need it.

I only suggest the measure to show that the public has accepted the responsibility to pay for the education of all students.

Your assumption that we shouldn't fund education for the rich would be more plausible if it weren't for the fact that a lot of people a lot wealthier than I am get their child's education paid for when they send them to public schools.

And your link to day school programs does not represent the reality of the private school market. Because schools are schools, most private schools are going to cost about $1-2K less annually than the typical area public school.

Matt Huisman said...

It's simply an assault on social services exactly like social security "reform," tax "reform," and welfare "reform." Its the continuing tale of class warfare.

It's actually just the opposite. The current system offers a take-it-or-leave-it approach to school choice, which limits the poor relative to the rich. If I'm rich enough, whew, I have a choice. A voucher-like program changes that...it just makes it a little harder for the gov't to operate.

The Classic Liberal Anonymous said...

T...the data on the CNN site in inconclusive. Where I live, there are a number of private schools that cost well below $5000 per year.

The mean cost of private school is probably closer to $5000.

The Classic Liberal Anonymous said...

See my last post, it's a blatant attack of the rich upon the poor.

Nope ... its because the teachers unions (not teachers, per se, but the unions) do not want to lose their grip on their government sponsored monopoly.

The Classic Liberal Anonymous said...

Tlaloc,

Why do you support the current monopoly on education?

Why do you support predatory pricing in education?

Why do you support forcing the inner city kids to stay in schools that have metal detectors and gangs?

Its time for you to give us a reason to NOT have vouchers.

The Classic Liberal Anonymous said...

Click here for better statistics on the tuition at private schools.

Hardly the expense that you quoted from CNN. Say you have three schools charging $5000, $10,000, and $15,000 for tuition. What is the median tuition? Of what use is the median?

The CNN report is misusing statistics to say the least. This chart does the calculation properly, by weighting according to the number of students.

James Elliott said...

Why do you support the current monopoly on education?

There is no monopoly on education. Otherwise, there would be no private schools for you to advocate vouchers for. There is a prevalent public education system because most people can't afford private tuitions and the state has a vested interest in an educated populace.

Why do you support predatory pricing in education?

I don't think he's doing any such thing. He's pointing out a simple economic fact: The demand for education is inelastic. It's much like our current economy based on oil. There will ALWAYS be universal demand for education. With demand constantly increasing with population, private educators, much like oil corporations, can charge what they want for education in a private system. As with gasoline and other high-demand products, you will see prices rise and eventually you will see education, much like private Tier 1 universities, rise out of the reach of lower and middle class consumers. Take my county of Santa Clara for instance. Preschool at the district and county levels is highly impacted, and so only limited space is available. Given the costs of operating a business in the area, there are not enough private preschools to fill demand, driving costs through the roof, forcing middle income parents out of the competition for preschool slots. Are the middle income children less deserving of early education because Mommy and Daddy don't make over $100K a year?

Why do you support forcing the inner city kids to stay in schools that have metal detectors and gangs?

Guess what? The neighborhoods have gangs too, and they spend way more time there than in school. Are you going to bus the families to the suburbs, too? First off, the whole gang problem is wildly inflated because it's so sensational and involves "dem brown folks." Second, rural schools perform no better. In fact, according to a recent DoE study, neither do charter schools. The best performing schools are found in neighborhoods with high property values (and therefore better funding) and with high-income parents who contribute personal funds and are more likely able to afford having one parent stay home with the children.

Private schools on average perform no better than public schools, partly because they have no standards to adhere to. Studies indicate that vouchers will provide $1-3,000 (depending on state and regional funding). If the average cost is, assuming you're right (and I'm pretty sure you're not) $5,000, those inner city parents still aren't going to easily scrape together the extra $2-4,000, which represents a huge chunk of their income.

Vouchers sound great ideologically, but are not economically feasible or educationally viable.

James Elliott said...

What is the median tuition? Of what use is the median?

CLA, I think you're confusing "median" with "average" or "mode." In your example, there is no median. There is an average and a mode (both $10,000).

James Elliott said...

Furthermore, CLA, you're argument fails to account for the fact that sectarian private schools have a revenue stream outside their tuition: namely, religious organization subsidization. It's a tad misleading; sectarian schools can afford to charge less because they get support from religious donors and their sponsoring organizations (such as a diocese or parish or temple, et cetera). If you were to remove that confounding variable, a true cost-of-education figure might emerge.

The Classic Liberal Anonymous said...

JE ... CNN used median, a useless statistic for the task at hand. I was merely pointing that out. Sorry if I was vague.

The Classic Liberal Anonymous said...

1) Sure, religious schools are subsidized, but that does not matter to the family that has to pay tuition.

2) There would be more private schools if the government sponsored schools were not priced at predatory levels (ie, $0).

3) You're right, the education system is only a monopoly if you are poor; ie, no choice.

Tlaloc said...

Matt:
"I only suggest the measure to show that the public has accepted the responsibility to pay for the education of all students"

I don't see that society has any such responsibility. A parent might want to seek out a school that teaches racism, or flat earth, or whatever but society has no need to pay for that. We pay to provide a science based curriculum for free to all, anything other than that isn't societies problem.


"And your link to day school programs does not represent the reality of the private school market. Because schools are schools, most private schools are going to cost about $1-2K less annually than the typical area public school."

I'm sorry Matt but the Cato institute is (like the NR) terribly partisan.



"It's actually just the opposite. The current system offers a take-it-or-leave-it approach to school choice, which limits the poor relative to the rich. If I'm rich enough, whew, I have a choice. A voucher-like program changes that...it just makes it a little harder for the gov't to operate."

No it doesn't. That's the lie they use to cover up it's actual purpose. The poor as before cannot afford nor gain access to private schools by and large which means the vouchers only benefit the wealthy or at best middle class at the expense of the poor.

Come on Matt, you seem like a reasonably smart guy, think about it. You really think that some inner city family will, even if given a full tutition voucher (which they won't get) be able to afford some private school which is undoubtedly further away, requires greater expenses, and never would admit their child in the first place. We're talking about families that often can't feed their kids enough while dealing with free schooling. It's utterly ridiculous to pretend they'll be suddenly sending their kids off to princeton jr.

Tlaloc said...

CLA:
"Why do you support the current monopoly on education?"

There is no monopoly, as JE explains.


"Why do you support predatory pricing in education?"

Since public school is free how do you possibly imagine predatory pricing is going on? I'm curious...



"Why do you support forcing the inner city kids to stay in schools that have metal detectors and gangs?"

Why do you pretend vouchers will help them when they will do the opposite by draining those troubled schools of yet more money?



"Its time for you to give us a reason to NOT have vouchers."

Already done. It's only purpose is to hurt the poor and help the rich. Gee I wonder why the GOP has that reputation, maybe because there's a core of truth to it? I've given you an impartial source that clearly indicates the prices is difficult for those with an income aproximately 10x that of the poverty level.

Tlaloc said...

CLA:
" JE ... CNN used median, a useless statistic for the task at hand. I was merely pointing that out. Sorry if I was vague."

Actually a Median stat would be more favorable to your point, see it's like this the median value is the one that shows up the most out of the total set. Presumably according to your argument there are just tons of cheap private schools available which would mean that the distribution of tuitions would be skewed toward the bottom. The median then should be somewhat less than the mean (sum of all values divided by number of values).

In otherwords even though the data was skewed to help your contention it still clearly shows that your belief is incompatible with reality.

James Elliott said...

What Tlaloc said.

The AVERAGE is a totally useless stat according to CLA's argument.

The MEDIAN is crucial.

The MODE, well, no one cares about the mode, unless we're referring to the stuff that goes on top of some apple pie.

Matt Huisman said...

I don't see that society has any such responsibility.

Sure you do. Every child that enrolls at the public school must be accepted. If I move, the state/federal money follows my child to the new school. Why shouldn't the money be able to follow the child somewhere else?

A parent might want to seek out a school that teaches racism, or flat earth, or whatever but society has no need to pay for that.

I think we could come to some agreement on the minimum that an accredited school would teach.

I'm sorry Matt but the Cato institute is (like the NR) terribly partisan.

OK. If you don't like Cato, that's fine. But the number of parochial and private protestant schools in Chicagoland is extremely large, and they do not have tuitions (including subsidies) that approach the figures you cite. Not every private school is a university lab school.

It's utterly ridiculous to pretend they'll be suddenly sending their kids off to princeton jr.

Again, not every private school is princeton jr. Look at the number of inner-city catholic and baptist schools...certainly they're subsidized by their respective churches, but there are still parents that decide to pay for it.

connie deady said...

I suppose, Connie, that rather than consider what sacrifices I might be willing to make (because I'm already making some), I'd first rather talk about what society owes to its members. Ultimately, I think it owes them opportunity (and/or a freedom from onerous obstacles). We can argue over what the precise definition of opportunity might be, but I can say that it is not the same as (outcome) fairness. The promised land of the civil rights struggle was equal opportunity, not parity (even if one would hope that might come)…and I believe we are at a point now where most of the advancement for minorities will come from the efforts of its individuals.

I don't disagree with you at all in terms of fairness of opportunity. Of course we won't necessarily ever achieve it, but it's a goal to always have front and center.

The point of my post about sacrifices is that there is lip service and there are real goals.

We could all sit here and agree that we would like to make racism go away and improve the fact that there are so many poor blacks in America. However, how important is that to you as a goal? Do you really, really want to accomplish that? Would you give up another goal like overturning Roe v. Wade or reforming social security?

That's why the Democrats will continue to have the loyalty of blacks and black leadership. They at least give the impression of really caring and being willing to make that a priority.

As long as the Republican solutions are to give business incentives or what appears like "trickle down effects" or "collateral benefits" for the poor blacks, blacks will vote Democrat. They figure your real goal is to give money to business, not to help them.

BTW, that's why I'd appreciate having the Democrats try more business incentive type programs, they are a more credible proposer, sort of like Nixon going to China.

connie deady said...

Well, this discussion has shown what I've mostly believed, that many people look at vouchers as a way of getting back what they are paying for private education.

That isn't what it should be about because even people without any kids at all pay for public education, or people whose kids have graduated (like me) still pay for public education. It's not a straight one to one benefit only for people with kids.

I supported vouchers initially as a strictly local creative solution for inner city schools - it's not a solution as a means of refunding money to middle and upper income parents who put their kids in private schools. My thought was that vouchers in inner cities (which presumably aren't going to a lot of rich parents) would spur the development of local, creative and innovative school solutions.

But if it is nothing more than a tax break for the rich count me out.

You'll have to work long and hard to convince me that your motives aren't simply a selfish "more for me".

Matt Huisman said...

You'll have to work long and hard to convince me that your motives aren't simply a selfish "more for me".

Right back at you. No offense, but that is really a load of garbage. If private school kids all of a sudden showed up at the local public school, you would HAVE to cough up more money. Your arguement is actually just as, check that, way more selfish than mine. You want my help with your education costs, but you don't want to help me with mine (not to mention the likelihood that you probably earn more money than 2/3 of my school's parents).

Tlaloc said...

"Sure you do. Every child that enrolls at the public school must be accepted. If I move, the state/federal money follows my child to the new school. Why shouldn't the money be able to follow the child somewhere else?"

Because that child has an alternative provided for free. There's simply no reason the state must cater to the whim of every parent. They provide a service and allow anyone who wants to opt out that option.



"I think we could come to some agreement on the minimum that an accredited school would teach."

Except that your argument is predicated on the concept that the money should follow a child to any school they choose. Or to put it another way: okay fine but I define the accreditiation qulifications to only include public schools.



"OK. If you don't like Cato, that's fine. But the number of parochial and private protestant schools in Chicagoland is extremely large, and they do not have tuitions (including subsidies) that approach the figures you cite. Not every private school is a university lab school."

Ah but now you want tax payer dollars to go to religious institutions. Hopefully I don't have to point out the problem with that scenario.

Tlaloc said...

"Your arguement is actually just as, check that, way more selfish than mine. You want my help with your education costs, but you don't want to help me with mine"

Bull. Society has a responsibility to provide education. Your part of that society and whether you use the schools or not you benefit from their existence. Nobody owes you personally for your education costs if you choose to go another route just like nobody owes me money if I choose to eat at an upscale restaraunt instead of the chinese place around the corner. And it's especially crude for me to demand that they take money away from the local soup line to help cover my bill at McGrath's. But to top that off by calling the soup line workers greedy for refusing to pay for my grilled salmon...welll it kind of takes the cake.

Matt Huisman said...

Bull. Society has a responsibility to provide education. Your part of that society and whether you use the schools or not you benefit from their existence.

Just to clarify...I don't take personal offense to the arguement that I need to pull my weight in society, and that I'm mistaken about what is reasonable. I do, however, think its ridiculous in this situation to imply that my motives are only selfish - as if no one else benefits from this arrangement.

connie deady said...

Right back at you. No offense, but that is really a load of garbage. If private school kids all of a sudden showed up at the local public school, you would HAVE to cough up more money. Your arguement is actually just as, check that, way more selfish than mine. You want my help with your education costs, but you don't want to help me with mine (not to mention the likelihood that you probably earn more money than 2/3 of my school's parents).

No I don't want your help my my child's education costs. My daughter went to private schools for 8 years. I never believed that the government should have to pay me for my choice to send her to private schools.

I also think your argument that public schools would cost more if kids who were in private school went to public school is irrelevant. Among other things, school is a relatively high fixed cost undertaking. In many cases, assimilating children from private schools wouldn't cost much at all.

But even if it wouldn't, why should I agree to take money away from the public schools and give it to you for your choice? I'm willing to do vouchers as a matter of social policy to improve the quality of education in areas where it is highly deficient. But I don't see why I should fork over my tax dollars to you because you make a personal choice not to utilize the free and available public school system.

Matt Huisman said...

Because that child has an alternative provided for free.

But it is not free to the state. The state raises money for every child it is responsible for, and then sends it to the chosen (public) school. Why does the state not have responsibility for my kids (especially when I pay into the funding system)?

Or to put it another way: okay fine but I define the accreditiation qulifications to only include public schools.

Let's see. The state mandates that all children must go to school in order to have an educated population. Why would they let kids go to private schools if they thought they weren't meeting some minimum standard? They have already tacitly approved my school.

But even if it wouldn't, why should I agree to take money away from the public schools and give it to you for your choice?

Connie: You're not taking any money away from public schools. We're merely waking up the taxpayers to what their real education burden is.

connie deady said...

"But even if it wouldn't, why should I agree to take money away from the public schools and give it to you for your choice?"

Connie: You're not taking any money away from public schools. We're merely waking up the taxpayers to what their real education burden is.


No, not their real burden at all. Perhaps to awareness that education costs more than they spend now, because there is private education, but not their real burden. There will always be people who have the means to send children to private schools and who will do so, simply because they believe private schools provide a better education, and more power to them.

If you assume that the public is only willing to sanction so much spending on education, then giving money to parents who choose private education will drain some funds from public education.

The Classic Liberal Anonymous said...

Those opposed to vouchers are opposed because:

1) money is siphoned away from public schools;

2) they don't want their tax dollars supporting a religious school;

3) they don't want to subsidize the rich.


The claim that private schools are too expensive for the poor has been thoroughly debunked.


Lets look at 1). Say 100 kids are in public schools @ $8500 per kid and 10 are in private @ $0 per kid. After a $3500 voucher program is implemented, 10 kids flee the public school system, leaving 90 in public and 20 in private schools.

A) 100 * $8500 = $850,000
B) 90 * $8500 + 20 * $3500 = $835,000

Hardly a large sucking sound.

While the ratio of public to private enrollment (10:1) was a guess, the size of the voucher can be adjusted to minimize the impact on the state. Further, many of the voucher programs implemented in the USA have been geared towards those with a lower income.

As far as 2) is concerened, I can understand why one might be opposed to using public money for such a purpose. However, wouldn't you prefer that the ID nutcases go away? If you want to end the endless debates about which books the public school system ought to burn, give people a choice to get out.

As far as 3) is concerened, I'd rather give the poor an opportunity to make a different choice (at the risk of subsidizing a handful of rich kids) than give the poor no choice at all.

The Classic Liberal Anonymous said...

Tlaloc said: Actually a Median stat would be more favorable to your point, see it's like this the median value is the one that shows up the most out of the total set.

True, but median is not the correct statistic to use. As I said above, the weighted mean is the only staistic that has any real value (ie, total tuition dollars spent on private education divided by total private school enrollment).

Since public school is free how do you possibly imagine predatory pricing is going on? I'm curious...

Public school charges $0 per pupil, while the cost is ~$8500 per pupil. If WalMart came in and gave away widgets for free, putting all widget dealers within a 10 mile radius out of business, I think you'd complain.

connie deady said...

Lets look at 1). Say 100 kids are in public schools @ $8500 per kid and 10 are in private @ $0 per kid. After a $3500 voucher program is implemented, 10 kids flee the public school system, leaving 90 in public and 20 in private schools.

A) 100 * $8500 = $850,000
B) 90 * $8500 + 20 * $3500 = $835,000

Math was never my strong point, which is why I switched my college major from economics to political science, but I don't understand your math.

Here's how I reason it. Years ago I wrote a proposal for Calfornia for a unitary budget for persons with developmental disabilities. I wanted to take the total allocation given by the state for people with developmental disabilities (in a combination of community programs and state hospitals) and allot that amount of money to the community programs to pay for the service.

Hospitals had separate budgets from community programs. If community programs had money, they would have developed small, much better programs than institutions, in large part because of lower fixed costs and much cheaper labor.

I have no problem with local school boards taking money and putting it in the best and cheapest place, which could include giving kids money to go to private schools.

The problem I have with vouchers is that I doubt poorer parents will get enough to pay the actual cost of education, so they'll stay. What really ends up happening is a wealth transfer to people who put their kids in private schools.

Remember I don't have a school age kid any more, so you are taking my tax dollar and giving it to you. Why should I agree to that? You want private schools, your choice, why should I pay for it?

The Classic Liberal Anonymous said...

Remember I don't have a school age kid any more, so you are taking my tax dollar and giving it to you. Why should I agree to that? You want private schools, your choice, why should I pay for it?

1) A little research (Friedman Foundation) will show that all voucher programs in the USA favor those with lesser means.

2) The voucher programs that have been implemented (proponents would call them vouchers-lite) have resulted in improvements in the public school system (ie, a little competition is a good thing).

My question to you, then, is why not improve public education? Why not expect more from your tax dollars?

Here is a rather comprehensive rebuttal of the lies that are spread by the anti-voucher crowd. If you do take the time to read it, notice that it is the TEACHERS UNIONS who are behind the mis-information campaign.

As for my math, A) shows that the cost to the state for the 100 students is $850,000; B) shows that the cost is about the same if you give vouchers to 20 students (the original 10 that were in private schools plus the 10 that left public schools) and have only 90 left in public schools.

BTW ... one of the voucher programs (I can't remember which ... maybe Milwuakee?) will not give vouchers to students that have already been in private school.

connie deady said...

CLA Guess we are the only ones left arguing vouchers. :)

I'm all for improving public schools and I wouldn't mind giving public support for private education. I suspect you are right that the biggest impediment to vouchers is the teacher's union. Teachers earn less in private schools. (I hate public employee unions BTW).

There's just something about vouchers that feels like a tax break for the wealthy that bugs me. If we had income limitations I'd probably be much happier and support the idea.

I probably like vouchers better than No Child Left Behind. I'm all for innovation, experimentation, localization, etc. NCLB is just the opposite of that.

The Classic Liberal Anonymous said...

I probably like vouchers better than No Child Left Behind. I'm all for innovation, experimentation, localization, etc. NCLB is just the opposite of that.


And on this note of unanimous agreement, I will sign off...