Tuesday, September 18, 2007

John Stossel and American Education

Probably lots of you have either seen or heard about the show Stossel did on 20/20 a couple years back, called "Stupid in America." I read his first book and enjoyed it, and I didn't even realize he identified himself as a libertarian till I read it.

Right now I'm reading his book "Myths, Lies and Downright Stupidity: Get Out the Shovel--Why Everything You Know is Wrong." I've just gotten to chapter five, "Stupid Schools," and had to stop to and quote him here. He starts with some of Jay Leno's funny routines of asking students some pretty simple questions that they really don't know the answers to. Then goes on to say:

Still, "Stupid" is a nasty word to use in the title of a chapter on American K-12 education.

[ . . . ]

"Stupid" is a perfect word because America's decision to have its public schools run by a government monopoly is stunningly stupid. Having a union-dominated [italics original] monopoly run them is even stupider. Unionized monopolies create ossified, bloated bureaucracies that don't serve people well. Little improves in monopolies.

By contrast, competition is remarkably good at making services better.

[ . . . ]

Competition has given us better TVs, homes, cars, food, phones, and well, everything. The U.S. Postal Service couldn't get it there overnight. None of the brilliant managers of that government monopoly could make it happen. But once others were allowed to compete, Federal Express, United Parcel Service, Airborne Express, etc., suddenly were able to get it there overnight. Now even the post office does it (sometimes).

So why don't we harness it to teach our kids?

Why don't we? And that's just the first two pages. Can't wait to read the rest.

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Summer Fae said...

I completely agree with him! I watched his special and was speechless. I will have to see if my library has that book. :-)

I really enjoyed your blog.

Silvia said...

There's a ton of great stuff in the rest of the chapter. I haven't had time to write about it yet. :)