Elizabeth Warren on vouchers that was then this is now

by on February 10, 2017 at 2:51 am in Books, Education | Permalink

A taxpayer-funded voucher that paid the entire cost of educating a child (not just a partial subsidy) would open a range of opportunities to all children. . . . Fully funded vouchers would relieve parents from the terrible choice of leaving their kids in lousy schools or bankrupting themselves to escape those schools.

…the public-versus-private competition misses the central point. The problem is not vouchers; the problem is parental choice. Under current voucher schemes, children who do not use the vouchers are still assigned to public schools based on their zip codes. This means that in the overwhelming majority of cases, a bureaucrat picks the child’s school, not a parent. The only way for parents to exercise any choice is to buy a different home—which is exactly how the bidding wars started.

…Under a public school voucher program, parents, not bureaucrats, would have the power to pick schools for their children—and to choose which schools would get their children’s vouchers.

That is from her 2003 book The Two-Income Trap: Why Middle Class Parents Are (Still) Going Broke, with Amelia Warren Tyagi.  Here is the WSJ link to the full passage, Friedmanesque throughout.  The more general underlying point is that the “rent is too damn high crowd” ought to be somewhat more sympathetic to vouchers than is often currently the case.

1 Tyler February 10, 2017 at 3:10 am

She ripped into then-Senator Hillary Clinton in that book too.

As I recall from reading the book a few years back, she did end her discussion of vouchers by noting that this was simply the bankruptcy & housing prices angle, and that she understood there were many other factors to take into consideration when designing education policy.

Here in the freewheeling education world of Hong Kong, students trek all over the city to go to whichever school will accept them, and the rent is still too damn high. At least the real estate agents don’t talk about school districts, though…

2 So Much For Subtlety February 10, 2017 at 4:06 am

That is because Hong Kong parents are less concerned about crime. Children have to be dropped close to the school and picked up on time all over the West. They cannot use public transport these days – in fact in some places parents might be arrested if they let their children find their own way home.

3 prior_test2 February 10, 2017 at 4:26 am

This is simply not true. Take DC – ‘The DC Kids Ride Free on Bus program allows eligible students to ride Metrobus and the DC Circulator without charge, Monday through Friday, from 5:30 am to 9 am and 2 pm to 8 pm, during the regular school year. Students can also ride free when school is dismissed early or for a half-day.’ http://www.capitolhillclusterschool.org/for-parents/transportation-and-dc-one-information

The reason for posting the above is that it seems to support my decades old memories of how DC school kids used to go to school – not by having their parents drive them, but simply by taking Metro. I assume pretty much the same idea of students using transit applies in NYC.

4 jim jones February 10, 2017 at 5:02 am

Here in London you quickly learn not to use Public Transport when the schools are let out.

5 kevin February 10, 2017 at 7:35 am

I don’t OP is referring to cost. See http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2015/04/13/parents-investigated-letting-children-walk-alone/25700823/ . Even if you are completely conformable letting your children walk to/from and take public transit that doesn’t mean you can’t get into legal trouble

6 charlie February 10, 2017 at 9:03 am

The program is still in place. Has lead to a large increase in crime on metro rail.

At most charter schools in DC (let alone private ones) there is a long line of cars waiting to drop off/pick up students.

7 Lanigram February 10, 2017 at 11:03 am


Sure, DC is just like anywhere USA. Do you realize how dumb that looks? You should do a thought experiment before you post , you know, like a prior test.

What a dumbass!

8 prior_test2 February 10, 2017 at 11:56 am

Well, I did mention NYC, but here are some other, completely atypical places where Americans live – such as New Orleans, significant parts of the Bay area (SF/Oakland), Chicago, Miami, Boston, and any number of other Northeastern cities.

I cannot be bothered to check, though – I live in Germany, where school kids being driven to school is unusual, compared to using a bus, train, or walking or bicycling. But I did grow up in Fairfax, at the time it was a proud local assumption that Fairfax had the largest school bus fleet in the U.S. – more than 600 at the time.

9 Jan February 10, 2017 at 5:25 am

I’d estimate there are a couple dozen kids from my neighborhood riding the subway at the same time as me everyday, headed to schools across the city.

10 Just Another MR Commentor February 10, 2017 at 5:58 am

Yes but “So Much For Subtlety” is your garden variety, hyper-paranoid, suburbanite who probably hasn’t stepped outside his suburb for years.

11 Granite26 February 10, 2017 at 9:22 am

Regardless, my company lost a(very good) employee when the bus driver of her kid called CPS multiple times because she wasn’t at the bus stop to walk her kid the block home to the house. She had to find a job closer to home…

This WAS in the suburbs, so forget coddled over protective parents and remember that anyone accusing you of not taking sufficient care can mess up your entire life.

12 Just Another MR Commentor February 10, 2017 at 9:27 am

Yeah the suburbs are full of facists and busibodies. This isn’t anything new, but to pretend this is how things are “throughout the west” is a huge stretch.

13 babar February 11, 2017 at 9:00 pm

the way we have stripped freedom from children in the past 40 years gives me no hope that adults will be able to keep theirs over the next 40

14 Just Another MR Commentor February 10, 2017 at 5:56 am

Huh? That’s not at all true “all over the west”. It’s almost certainly true in suburban America but its absolutely not true generally.

15 So Much For Subtlety February 10, 2017 at 3:34 am

That was before she realized how important teachers’ Unions were to her fund raising. Three of the top ten donors in the last election cycle I believe.

This ought to be a great wedge issue for the Republicans as it pits parents against Unions. Especially poor parents who cannot afford to go private. Most especially Black parents, many of whom live in inner cities and so could have a lot of choice if the government didn’t stop them. It never works out as much of an issue though. I doubt it will now.

16 Thomas February 10, 2017 at 3:37 am

Sasha and Malia Obama don’t attend public school, so they would never be qualified to be Education Secretary. Or, that’s what I’ve learned in the last week listening to fake news on CNN.

17 Some Guy February 10, 2017 at 4:07 am

Seriously, do you enjoy being snarky on the internet? It’s so tiresome that every good website has this dreck.

18 So Much For Subtlety February 10, 2017 at 5:12 am

It was cool when Jon Stewart did it. But something seems to have changed to make snark less cool. Can’t think what it is.

So yes, we do. It is more tiresome when every TV show does it.

19 dearieme February 10, 2017 at 8:45 am

When did “snarky” come to mean critical, analytical, intelligent?

20 Jan February 10, 2017 at 5:30 am

The opposition is more related to the fact that DeVos is woefully underqualified and has no understanding of education policy, as was made clear in her confirmation hearings, before two Republican senators decided she was such an embarrassment they couldn’t vote for her.

21 So Much For Subtlety February 10, 2017 at 5:41 am

Isn’t that just what he said? I don’t think Sasha and Malia have a fine understanding of the funding of special ed either. And they did not go to a public school either.

And speaking of Fake News (the new f- and n-word apparently), the two Republican Squishies, squished before De Vos testified. Not because of.

22 Jan February 10, 2017 at 7:30 am

Tough day for you, you’ve been wrong on everything. Collins and Murkowski didn’t announce no votes until after DeVos and after receiving her written responses to their questions for the congressional record. https://www.collins.senate.gov/newsroom/senator-collins-announces-she-will-vote-against-confirmation-betsy-devos-be-secretary

And saying you’re not sure how you’ll vote on a nominee with almost no track record in the given field until learn a little more about them is not “squishing.” It’d be idiotic to offer unqualified support for such a nominee ahead of doing any due diligence. Is that what wanted?

23 buddyglass February 10, 2017 at 8:04 am

I don’t think anyone disagrees with you that neither Malia nor Sasha, ages 18 and 15, is qualified to be Education Secretary. Because they’re teenagers.

24 So Much For Subtlety February 10, 2017 at 8:36 am

They made their intentions known before the hearings. What does it matter when they made the formal announcement? As usual I am not wrong about this either.

I do agree not voting for someone before you write to them is sensible. But that is not what they did, is it?

25 Bob from Ohio February 10, 2017 at 10:27 am

” two Republican senators decided she was such an embarrassment they couldn’t vote for her.”

They get money from teacher unions.

Once McConnell knew he had 50 votes, he released Collins and Murkowski so they could protect their campaign funds. Oldest trick in the legislative book.

26 Cliff February 10, 2017 at 10:48 am

Pretty sure I saw on another comment thread that those two do not get much in the way of donations from teacher’s unions? Maybe they are hoping to pick some up?

27 Careless February 10, 2017 at 2:26 pm
28 chuck martel February 10, 2017 at 6:20 am

“has no understanding of education policy”

The people that have an understanding of education policy are the people responsible for the present-day school situation. Perhaps their understanding is erroneous. Maybe someone with an alternative could improve things.

Students/public transportation. How about students being able to walk or ride a bike to school, as was once universally the case? The gigantic student factories masquerading as schools are an abomination.

29 Jan February 10, 2017 at 6:58 am

I still think you could get someone who understands the current education landscape, at least to have some idea of what she is trying to improve. Still plenty of outsiders to choose from who would know the basics. She has been appointed because she is a rich ideologically aligned donor.

30 Cliff February 10, 2017 at 10:49 am

Isn’t she a member of organizations trying to improve education? Isn’t she a charter school proponent? She must know something, right? How big of a role is there fore the federal government in education anyway?

31 chuck martel February 10, 2017 at 5:25 pm

A rich ideologically aligned donor would be an apt description of Obama ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy.

32 Alan February 10, 2017 at 6:55 am

An understanding of education policy is not necessary. Merely an understanding of the Consititution.

33 The Anti-Gnostic February 10, 2017 at 8:32 am

Which, honestly, would require abolition of the Department, along with several others.

34 byomtov February 10, 2017 at 9:34 am

The republicans know =what an idiotic appointment it was. That’s why they held a two-minute hearing at 3AM and said that was it.

But hey, if someone gives you $200 million and then wants you to let them wreck the education system you have to go along, don’t you?

35 Cliff February 10, 2017 at 10:50 am

Do you really think she wants to wreck the educational system?

36 MOFO February 10, 2017 at 10:52 am

“wants you to let them wreck the education system”

Yea, thats exactly what happened. This was all an elaborate plot by the education system wrecking conspiracy.

37 Jay February 10, 2017 at 12:05 pm

I think most people vastly overestimate the power Dep. of Education has, do you really think she’ll be anywhere in the same zip code as the levers necessary to “wreck the system”? Just how involved do you think she’ll be in the everyday education of children?

38 Turkey Vulture February 10, 2017 at 12:20 pm

DeVos piloting DOE drones to your local school, blasting the Superintendent’s office, shouting “Mission Accomplished!”

39 Butler Reynolds February 10, 2017 at 4:15 pm

Because all those previous qualifieds did such a fantastic job. We definitely need more of them.

40 Bob from Ohio February 10, 2017 at 10:25 am

“Sasha and Malia Obama don’t attend public school, so they would never be qualified to be Education Secretary.”

Obama went to private school too. So he is not qualified to be Education Secretary either.

Oh, there I go being snarky. Some Guy will scold me.

41 Lanigram February 10, 2017 at 11:11 am


Good point. The wealthy elite, of whatever stripe, worry about nothing. Everbody else is f$cked.

We should end local funding of schools – property taxes should be collected by the state and redistributed to reduce inequality and increase social connections. Public education used to be a great social leveler – not anymore. We know have income aparthied.

42 Granite26 February 10, 2017 at 9:29 am

Nah, rear the article again… What she says was, she’s OK with kids getting vouchers to go to whatever PUBLIC school kids wanted to…

Public teachers unions still control the money..

43 Thomas February 10, 2017 at 3:36 am

That was before being a Democrat hack, like many commenters here at MR, took precedence over seeking good solutions for people, including minorities.

44 dearieme February 10, 2017 at 5:55 am

Did she write that before or after she became an Injun?

45 Lanigram February 10, 2017 at 11:16 am

She became an injun at hahvahd – it’s good to be the chief!!! 😉

46 Honest questions February 10, 2017 at 4:04 am

I lean towards supporting school vouchers, but have reservations a program because I would expect it to be implemented poorly. I’d be curious to hear folks’ thoughts on some of my questions.

How much of an impact does geography have on school choice? Would we end up with rich people that have flexible commutes/work hours and better access to transportation pulling kids out a lot more than poorer folk that don’t have that luxury?

Would a school bus system even be feasible if most children are no longer zoned off by area? How would poorer children without cars get to school?

Would a voucher program make it easier/more affordable for parents to send children to subpar schools? For example a majority of Americans don’t believe in evolution, and I am sure many would prefer to have a school that teaches creationism in biology class (or perhaps no science at all). This would deny many children the opportunity to study science and could lead to impaired economic growth as they are less prepared for college and STEM subjects. Would there be a system to prevent these outcomes, like standardized tests or minimum school standards?

For all their flaws, public schools are a communal American experience. Over 90% of us go to public schools. Would school choice deprive us of one of our last shared experiences and continue the degradation of our social fabric?
We’ve seen the increasing tide of hyper-partisanship that came from the balkanization of our news sources as we lost the communal experience of the nightly news. Now people seriously doubt bland facts. Would school choice exacerbate that trend? I’m sure some schools will crop up that teach revisionist views of history (i.e. Marxism to 5th graders).

47 chuck martel February 10, 2017 at 6:22 am

” a majority of Americans don’t believe in evolution,”

Almost all of them are victims of public education.

48 kevin February 10, 2017 at 7:40 am

causation vs correlation. If you take away the one institution that does teach evolution (or at least I assume they do) to individuals maybe you’ll have more people that don’t believe in evolution

49 The Anti-Gnostic February 10, 2017 at 8:34 am

Public education seems to be generating a lot of people who believe human evolution ended 100,000 years ago and only happens from the neck down.

50 cw February 10, 2017 at 9:40 am

Why is it that a certain selection of people really want to believe that some humans are genetically inferior intellectually to other humans? What can you possible do–for the good–with that information if it is true? And are you ignoring how frequently people have used the idea that some “others” are genetically inferior to rationalize just complete and absolute horrors? It’s one of the main themes that runs through human history and yet you are still eager to promote this idea. Why?

51 The Anti-Gnostic February 10, 2017 at 10:40 am

How about what will cease being done: spending billions in wasted tax dollars, warping the economy and sociology of the country, because we operate under the delusion that everybody can become Isaac Newton with the right mix of inputs.

52 Maya Angelou February 10, 2017 at 10:56 am

I think the reality is that most people do NOT want to believe it, and in fact there is a large group of people that deliberately lies because they think the truth is too hurtful. But it surely does matter. If you read the BLM demands they are sooo confused about why there is not a proportionate number of blacks in the faculty at elite institutions, which is completely understandable when they have been fed pablum by people intent on deluding them their entire lives. Their whole lives are dedicated to a lie when they could be dedicated to trying to make a meaningful change. There’s no reason to give up on a people because their average IQ is a little lower, but the solution to maximizing the utility of low-IQ people is different than the solution to systemic oppressive white racism.

53 MOFO February 10, 2017 at 10:58 am

Why does more or less intelligent equate to superior or inferior? There are way more contributors to success or failure in life than IQ scores.

54 cw February 10, 2017 at 12:53 pm

None of you dealt with the vast and pervasive history of humans using supposed genetic inferiority as a rational to do horrible things to s group of “others.” Here’s two you should be familiar with and I would think would take into account when you think about pushing your ideas: Rationalizers of American slavery spent and enormous amount of time and effort on propaganda to the effect that blacks were inferior. Hitler did the same with Jews, Gypsies, and gays. We know pretty well how Slavery and the Nazis turned out. Doesn’t that make you even a little reluctant to promote the unproven idea that some races (blacks and Latinos, conveniently) are genetically inferior?

I would also look at history and notice that there is a strong human urge to demonize “others” and ask myself if this basic human urge is what’s driving my thoughts in this case, rather than my reason.

55 The Anti-Gnostic February 10, 2017 at 1:13 pm

Humans have always done horrible things to the Others and always will. That’s what separate countries are for. And to pre-empt your next comment, no, I do not approve of the US dropping bombs on people we don’t like.

Any way, if we recognize that Nature sets the height of the bar and Nurture gets us over it, we avoid a lot of harmful nonsense. Incidentally, this research is already well advanced and that train has left the station. We should reform our education system accordingly.

56 cw February 10, 2017 at 1:25 pm

The research is not well advanced. It is way too difficult to control for culture, prenatal experience, gene/environment interaction, nutrition, the effects of poverty, racisim.

And I don’t know how separate countries prevent people from doing horrible things to each other. And I don’t believe you want to do horrible things to each anyone, but I do believe that–judging by history–only horrible things can come out of the public promotion of the idea that blacks and latinos are genetically inferior to whites and asians. I’m wondering why someone would add their brick to this pile?

57 Turkey Vulture February 10, 2017 at 1:26 pm

Do you contend that if a belief (a possibly true belief) has led some people to do bad things, we must avoid that belief, or assume it is not true?

Eugenics and social darwinism are non-sensical without a belief in natural selection. Should we avoid reject the existence of natural selection? Teach creationism in schools? Otherwise we constantly risk the re-emergence of these naughty thoughts.

58 cw February 10, 2017 at 1:30 pm

Why eagerly peruse knowledge that you know will be extremely harmful? What is the point? There are a few people–mostly amatures–who have devoted a large portion of their lives to scientifically proving that blacks and latinos are genetically inferior. Why? Tell me what you could do good with this information? ANything that would outweigh the bad?

59 mpowell February 10, 2017 at 1:58 pm

CW, I’m not sure why you don’t appreciate the point that the information whose value you are questioning can potentially play a big part in understanding just how racists or not-racist our current society is. My view is that in order to tackle the unfairness that does exist, we realistically need to acknowledge the unfairness that does not actually exist. This is a significant hindrance at the moment. Perhaps partially responsible for the Trump administration, which I consider a huge disaster.

60 msgkings February 10, 2017 at 2:12 pm

cw has a good point, which A-G fights with a straw man that society thinks everyone should be Isaac Newton. Maya Angelou makes a better point about how misunderstanding natural truths can misdirect activism. But cw’s point should be noted, how exactly would things be run differently is we all agree there are some group differences in IQ? What exactly would that crowd do if the world suddenly said ‘ok that’s probably true’?

61 The Anti-Gnostic February 10, 2017 at 2:28 pm

only horrible things can come out of the public promotion of the idea that blacks and latinos are genetically inferior to whites and Asians

Who’s saying that? A harmful outcome would be refusing to recognize that some blacks and latinos are capable of Ph.D.-level work. Nobody’s saying that. The harmful nonsense is the belief, against all the evidence, that Ph.D.-level outcomes should be equal across racial and ethnic groups and when it’s not, it must be due to not spending enough money, or needing some disastrous, deconstructive approach to math, or we need to sue more school districts.

62 cw February 10, 2017 at 2:50 pm

AG. I think you continue to evade the question. You are saying that, if your belief that there are racial-based differences in IQ is scientifically proven, then we would ameliorate the supposed harm that comes from the supposition “that Ph.D.-level outcomes should be equal across racial and ethnic groups and when it’s not, it must be due to not spending enough money, or needing some disastrous, deconstructive approach to math, or we need to sue more school districts.”

That may be true, but I am asking you to weigh that against the other possible harm that might come about if this belief gains wide-spread acceptance and is used in the way it has been typically used over and over all throughout history. We would be comparing maybe spending too much money to get some people through school, vrs say, the holocaust (I think this is one case where comparing things to the holocaust is completely relevant). Of if you don’t want to be that extreme, try to imagine the affect that this “truth” might have on blacks and latinos if it was socially sanctioned. How do you think an eight-year-old black kid would feel when society tells him that he in intellectually inferior to the white and asian people around him. How do you think that might affect his sense of self-worth, his view of his place in society, and how would that affect society on the whole?

There is good that information (true of not) can be used for. I personally don’t think it’s true, or if it is, any differences are so slight as to be meaningless. What I do worry about is people grabbing a hold of this idea and using it to rationalize actions that will cause great harm.

63 cw February 10, 2017 at 2:53 pm


I think we have a pretty robust scientific understanding of racisim already. The costs would by far out weigh any gains.

64 The Anti-Gnostic February 10, 2017 at 3:03 pm

You are constructing a complete straw man. There is no such thing as “race-based differences in IQ.” There are different IQ distributions between races. But since we insist on believing that all baby humans are neurologically uniform, we have schools all run to uniform national standards for a wildly diverse population, leading to all sorts of wasted money, cheating, resentment, etc.

65 cw February 10, 2017 at 3:17 pm

You are going to have to explain to me the difference between “race-based differences in IQ” and “different IQ distributions between races.” And again, I don’t think you have not addressed my main point.

66 The Anti-Gnostic February 10, 2017 at 4:33 pm

Real simple:

An Anglo-Saxon or West African scientist is as smart as an Ashkenazim scientist, ceteris paribus. There is no race- or ethnic-based difference in IQ. However, a greater percentage of Ashkenazim are scientists than Africans or Anglo-Saxons. The Ashkenazim IQ distribution skews more rightward. Different statistical means, that’s all. We either recognize different people are different and bring different things to the table, or we dismantle systematic Ashkenazim supremacy.

67 cw February 10, 2017 at 7:11 pm

I have many disagreements with your latest comment. Again. you don’t address my main point. But I am going to give up.

68 cw February 10, 2017 at 7:16 pm

I have found that it is almost always a waste of time to get involved in the comment section of any site that has anything at all to do with politics. Nothing here has changed my mind about that.

69 gab February 10, 2017 at 12:13 pm

“Almost all of them are victims of public education.” – actually they’re almost all victims of religion.

70 Sieben February 10, 2017 at 10:08 am

Extreme partisanship seems like a much larger problem than it really is. People can apparently rant inflammatory opinions on facebook without any consequences. But over the long haul, the partisanship virus is a huge handicap. For example, almost everyone is revolted by lawyers and investment bankers, and therefore they never choose these vocations, despite them being obvious paths to wealth. Similarly we’re hearing a lot about how people don’t talk to family members anymore because of disagreements about Donald Trump. When you dehumanize your own family because you can’t perceive them as anything other than a political cartoon, you’re reaping what you sow. Extreme partisanship is definitely negative EV.

To the extent that partisanship causes children to inherit “incorrect” opinions, this is mostly a problem with childrens’ rights. We don’t have a good theory for it and even if we did, no one would want to implement anything that gives youths a more linear rate of autonomy between birth and adulthood. I guess if we all agree to put our kids in the same blender no one can be blamed.

71 Cliff February 10, 2017 at 10:58 am

Well, most lawyers do not make much money. Income for lawyers has a bi-modal distribution with a few making a lot of money and a lot making very average money. We actually have too many lawyers. A while back we were graduating close to 100,000 lawyers a year! Then the recession came and it was an absolute bloodbath.

By the way I’d trust a lawyer over a client any day!

72 Cliff February 10, 2017 at 11:01 am

Aren’t all schools required to met certain curricular requirements? I suppose in practice it might be difficult if there is a conspiracy between the school and the parents.

I don’t think they would do away with geographic school entirely, that would cause riots. You’d probably have your neighborhood school and then if you chose you could go to a different one instead.

73 Lanigram February 10, 2017 at 11:20 am

Honest Questions,

“Would school choice deprive us of one of our last shared experiences and continue the degradation of our social fabric?”

Too late, “The Big Sort” is well underway. We are hopelessly divided.

74 Butler Reynolds February 10, 2017 at 4:17 pm

Which is why the Feds need to have nothing to do with it. Each state needs to experiment with school choice. ( Of course, it won’t happen at all in some states. )

75 Mark February 12, 2017 at 10:25 am

Right…California is screwed then…people have tried to advocate for school choice in California a number of times, but the teacher unions are too strong.

Also, to really make a difference, you need the federal money tied to it. Low-income schools in America get most of their budget from federal dollars, because they obviously don’t get much money from property taxes. But unfortunately, right now, most of that money goes into a blackhole, because the failing schools misappropriate it.

Some state-led initiatives for school choice have either not taken off, or not gotten the proper momentum, because the states by themselves are really only one piece of the puzzle. A school choice initiative with both state and federal support, has a much greater chance of success.

This is especially true when you’re talking about vouchers. Let’s assume that both public and private schools have roughly the same operating cost. Private schools get their money from tuition. Public schools get their money from a mixture of federal, state and local funds.

If you take a portion of those funds, say the state budget, it’s only ever going to pay for a small fraction of private school tuition. This has remained the main argument against vouchers, and it’s a valid argument. But if you extract funds that a public school student would get from all parts of the equation — federal, state and local — then you get very close to matching private school tuition.

Of course, you can’t really take the local property taxes portion and redistribute that to private schools. But if a town has a lot of revenue from property taxes, and it spends that revenue on its public schools, then it’s safe to say that it probably has pretty good public schools. Those residents neither need vouchers for private schools, nor do they want them.

But if you look at a failing public school, the stats look much different. The total amount of money per student is almost identical for a failing public school as it is for a good public school, but most of the money comes from the federal government rather than local property taxes. Here, if you free up both the state and federal funds for these failing schools, and say okay, let’s let parents decide where it should get spent, it will make a big difference. You would basically be giving parents the option to send their kids to a school that can actually give them a chance of going to college.

And while yes, it is an experiment, ask yourself if 75% of the students at a school are already failing, how much do you have to lose?

76 Mark February 12, 2017 at 9:50 am

Honest Questions,

The answer to your questions are going to depend a lot on where you live. Let me describe my situation, and why I support vouchers.

I grew up in Oakland, California. The vast majority of middle-class families in Oakland either dig deep into their retirement savings to find money for private high schools, or they figure out a way to get their kid into a school in another city, or they just ditch Oakland and run away from the city. Hope that gives some idea of the damage that the current status quo is already doing to our social fabric.

In Oakland, private schools are served by the same public transportation that serves the public schools, so to answer your question about transportation, there’s no difference in accessibility. Private schools here do have extra requirements that may hinder some parents, like requiring parents to spend a certain amount of hours volunteering for the school. They also have strict academic-based admission standards, and they have to turn down a lot of applicants regardless of ability to pay, because they simply have no room for all the families that are trying to escape the nightmare that is Oakland Public Schools.

And Oakland Public Schools are a nightmare, that you really have to experience just to know how bad it is. Think “Blackboard Jungle” on steroids. This is a school district that has had one scandal after another over the years, many of which made the national news. They wanted to make Ebonics the official language of classroom instruction, in place of English. They spent 50 millions of dollars on hiring a marketing company to come up with a new logo for the school district to give them an “image makeover”, when the schools couldn’t even afford new textbooks — but they didn’t even like the new logo, and went back to the old one. A former superintendent was busted embezzling money, but never went to jail. They’ve had bitter teacher strikes, where schools were shut down for long periods of time. The whole district went bankrupt at one point, and had to receive a major bailout from the state just to keep the lights on, all because the people running it didn’t know how to balance a spreadsheet.

Oh yeah, then you have that recent scandal in the 2nd Grade classroom, where the kids were running around naked and having oral sex, during class in front of the teacher…and the teacher was cool with it…

Would you want your kids to go to school in such an environment?

You worry about kids learning about Evolution in private schools? I can assure you that kids learn about Evolution and all standard scientific theories in Oakland’s private schools, which decidedly reflect the liberal demographics of the SF Bay Area. Not so sure about Oakland’s public schools, because I’m not sure the students learn ANYTHING there.

Although I do know that Oakland public schools are a training ground for Oakland’s infamous Anarchist movement. These are the people who literally set UC Berkeley on fire recently, as I’m sure you’ve heard in the news. Many of the teachers in these public school classrooms are themselves Anarchists, and spent countless school hours espousing their views to a captive audience. On 9/11, there were teachers in Oakland saying that America got what it deserved.

That social fabric you were talking about…?

FUN FACT: Jerry “Moonbeam” Brown, the Governor of California, was once the Mayor of Oakland. He has a history of being one of the most liberal governors in California, but when he was mayor of Oakland, even he didn’t bother trying to fix Oakland public schools.

He, like everyone else who has spent enough time in Oakland, thought it was a total lost cause. Pretty much anyone who has tried to do anything with the public schools in Oakland has found the corruption and levels of institutional failure to be insurmountable. Moonbeam instead spent all his effort trying to build charter schools, with only mild success.

The charter schools only enroll a small number of students, and the private schools are still the major pipeline for reprieve from Oakland’s failing schools. Vouchers would have made a much bigger difference, I believe, but to do them affectively, you need support from all levels of government.

77 Alan Crowe February 10, 2017 at 4:05 am

Choice could go both ways. A head master could decide that a troublesome child cost more than the voucher was worth and expel the child. That prompts reflections on the way that we have settled on a unitary concept of what it is to be a teacher.

Today the concept of *teacher* in secondary education refers to somebody solidly dual skilled. Strong subject skills to teach maths or history or whatever. Strong social skills to control a class room, despite the disruptive effect of children who really don’t want to be there. In the future we could have two kinds of teacher. The full-teacher, same as today. The semi-teacher who has subject skills and can teach a class of willing students effectively, but lacks the social skills and imposing presence to teach in a modern, low-discipline class room.

You might argue that we currently have semi-teachers and consequently suffer from disrupted class rooms in which little learning takes place. But vouchers offer the possibility of a school system that acknowledges the problem and routes around it.

Imagine that there are two kinds of schools. Robust schools that employ full-teachers and are open to all students. Effete schools that employ semi-teachers and expel disruptive pupils. That is, they expel pupils that over-stretch the limited social skills of semi-teachers.

A school system that had room for semi-teachers and effete schools for them to teach in would have access to a greatly expanded supply of teachers. That would include teachers that were exceptionally good at teaching willing pupils, but who are unavailable to the current school system because they cannot handle reluctant pupils.

Imagine that semi-teachers got paid less than full teachers (after all, it is an easier job and there are more people with the requisite skills). Then we could have better education at lower cost.

78 reformatory joe February 10, 2017 at 4:35 am

Or, to turn it around:

There should be regular schools, staffed by regular teachers, who are better at their subjects than at crowd control. They expect the full backing of parents, and get to expel consistent troublemakers.

And below that there should be much tougher schools, more like boot camp. The sergent doesn’t need as deep a love of maths, because he’s just drumming in the basics. I suspect many troublemakers would actually do much better here. And fear of ending up here would keep many more in line in the “effete school” next door.

79 Alan Crowe February 10, 2017 at 6:06 am

Thank you for that paraphrase. I feel understood, which is nice.

Phrasing it the regular way does set my social antenna jangling. I think there is a powerful social script in play here. Most people reading the regular version automatically assume that the sergeant in the boot camp school gets paid less than the regular teacher, for reasons of social status. Then they get twitchy because they assume that boot camp school will not attract a reasonable quality of sergeant and will be a place of abuse and ignorance. Then they get extra twitchy as they imagine being murdered by a rough kid turned vicious by abuse at a boot camp school.

So one attraction of my wrong-way-round account is that it emphasizes paying a compensating differential to attract good candidates to the tougher job despite its lower social status.

80 reformatory joe February 10, 2017 at 6:22 am

Yes indeed. If we’re moving from a one-layer system to a two-layer system, it’s much more palatable to say we’re building on top, allowing good kids to escape upwards. This is the angle I always see charter school advocates taking, good move.

But for many parents I suspect that it’s closer to the reverse: they’d like schools as good as the public schools they remember. Which means that the disruptive kids need to be elsewhere. (What the schools are called, and who gets the old buildings, nobody cares much.)

As “Jan” points out below, private schools already pay lower salaries. Although I suspect that the teachers have higher social status, just because they will mix with a better class of people.

81 So Much For Subtlety February 10, 2017 at 4:46 am

Today the concept of *teacher* in secondary education refers to somebody solidly dual skilled. Strong subject skills to teach maths or history or whatever.

Sorry but what? To me the concept of “teacher” in secondary education refers to someone who had a poor degree in Art History and so now has to teach mathematics. The idea that anyone with strong skills in mathematics is *teaching* seems so contrary to all the evidence.

The only thing that “teacher” means in reality is that they are a member of the Union.

There is no point paying the “semi-“teachers less. Because people are not paid according to how much work is involved but according to value adding. Parents of children who want to learn are willing, and able, to pay more than parents of children who aren’t. That is why private schools pay a lot more than sink schools in the inner city.

82 Jan February 10, 2017 at 6:04 am

You’re talking out of your ass again.

1) Your assumption that high school math teachers hold a BS in an unrelated field and most “has to teach” is totally unsupported. Over 60% of secondary math teachers majored in math; over half also have a masters degree or higher. https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d15/tables/dt15_209.50.asp

2) The majority of teachers don’t even belong to a union. But wouuld ya expect the true math geniuses to be teaching given how much crazy money they can make as teachers and the fact that so many people like yourself just love our educators? http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2015/02/10/teacher-unions-fewer-half/23195433/

3) Private schools do not pay “a lot more” than public schools. They pay a lot less. That is so obvious I’m not going to link anything. I will just pray you educate yourself (since a teacher can’t, because he is a teacher and therefore a dumbass).

83 So Much For Subtlety February 10, 2017 at 8:32 am

Go on, link to something. How that would work for you, I don’t know.

The fact that people like De Vos are succeeding and helping create more charter schools is a good thing. The fact that you need to blur the line between unionized public schools and the private/semi-private charter sector simply proves my point.

Over half of all teachers in the public school system had a Masters degree. Not half of all mathematics teachers nor does that table say that half mathematics teachers have a masters degree in mathematics. There is a world of providing bullsh!t masters degrees to teachers so they can get higher pay.

The study is self-reported and does not consider what a “mathematics degree” consists of. So I don’t see how this is helping you.

Now the real question is – married to a teacher or an actual teacher yourself?

84 NPW February 10, 2017 at 9:29 am

The link for 64.5% of high school math teachers having a math degree seems really odd. There just isn’t enough math majors to meet the demand, especially at the rate at which new teachers quit. Something is off.

85 NPW February 10, 2017 at 10:26 am

I think this is slight of hand within the data. They are counting actual math degrees and educational mathematics the same. Educational mathematics is essentially a masters degree on how to teach math when you don’t actually know any.

86 adam February 10, 2017 at 11:13 am

I’m wondering the same thing. Very very few people major in math in college (like 20,000 per year), and those that do tend to be super smart. Frankly, it’s a waste of talent for someone who is able to do college level math to be teaching high school students.

87 Thomas February 10, 2017 at 4:05 pm

I believe the math standard for the secondary math teaching certificate in my state and possibly others is a curriculum of math that ends with Calc I. No disrespect but passing basic calculus is not much of an achievement.

88 Just Another MR Commentor February 10, 2017 at 6:22 am

You’re incredibly clueless. Why would someone who had a math degree not be teaching? As if there is massive demand for people with math degrees in other sectors. Yeah the local high school math teacher is probably not (but you never know) a Havard PhD getting calls from hedge funds but it hardly means that he/she is some unqualfied sociology major.

89 So Much For Subtlety February 10, 2017 at 8:26 am

Clown nose on? Clown nose off? Hard to tell.

They would not be teaching because teaching is a terrible job and people with qualifications are in high demand elsewhere.

90 Just Another MR Commentor February 10, 2017 at 8:39 am

Teaching wouldn’t be my cup of tea but there are people who like it – and I’m not sure why you think math or science majors are in high demand. Its pretty tought to get a good job in any field, just having a math degree doesn’t mean much, lots of people who get math or science degrees go into teaching. The stats Jan posted show that you are arguing from your priors, time to update them.

91 hgfalling February 10, 2017 at 9:22 am

The geometry teacher at my daughter’s highly rated public school in Connecticut did not know that sine and cosine can be interpreted as x and y coordinates on the unit circle. In fact, she told my daughter that this was wrong.

Not necessarily related to the above: I think it’s true that the majority of HS teachers who have master’s degrees have them in education. This doesn’t seem like a bad thing really, but I just wouldn’t interpret “x% of math teachers have MS/MA” as meaning “x% of math teachers have MS/MA *in math*”.

92 Just Another MR Commentor February 10, 2017 at 9:29 am

Not necessarily related to the above: I think it’s true that the majority of HS teachers who have master’s degrees have them in education. This doesn’t seem like a bad thing really, but I just wouldn’t interpret “x% of math teachers have MS/MA” as meaning “x% of math teachers have MS/MA *in math*”.

Yeah that part is definetly true, and the education degrees are purely BS.

93 Roger Sweeny February 10, 2017 at 11:06 am

As a high school teacher, I can assure you that the vast majority of Masters degrees possessed by high school teachers are in education.

94 Larry Siegel February 11, 2017 at 2:45 am

>The geometry teacher at my daughter’s highly rated public school in Connecticut did not know that sine and cosine can be interpreted as x and y coordinates on the unit circle. In fact, she told my daughter that this was wrong.

Ouch, that’s horrible. I knew that when I was 15.

>the majority of HS teachers who have master’s degrees have them in education. This doesn’t seem like a bad thing really

It only is if a master’s degree is interpreted as evidence of knowing something.

95 chuck martel February 10, 2017 at 6:37 am

Reluctant pupils and disruptive kids have been a feature of human society since before the great flood. The problem now is that no adolescent observes bad students becoming beggars in the gutter. The vaunted social safety net eliminates a hazard, abject poverty, that was once obvious to everyone. There’s no significant penalty for being a bad student.

96 kevin February 10, 2017 at 7:46 am

i see plenty of “beggars in the gutter” that I assume were bad students around DC. I’m sure the adolescents in the area see them to

97 Mark February 12, 2017 at 11:02 am

Some public school districts, like say New York City, have magnet schools that essentially emulate what you’re talking about. A magnet school will have few discipline problems to deal with, because the students with serious problems aren’t likely to get admitted.

But most cities do not have a magnet program like NYC, and that I think is one of the biggest reasons to support vouchers.

There are talented motivated students all over the country, from every socio-economic background, but the ones who live in the wrong neighborhood and are not rich are disadvantaged because they’re forced to be in classrooms where 90% of the students have discipline problems. These students are actually being held back by a system that doesn’t care about them.

Top students at failing schools are poorly neglected. Because if most of the students in your classroom are below their grade level and failing state tests, and there’s one student who is above their grade level, you’re not going to bother pushing that student to their full potential. These are the students who will be best served by vouchers. Private schools can often accommodate gifted students far better than public schools.

Also, one of the main reason that failing schools remain failing is that they basically become ghettos for all the discipline problems. The question isn’t whether a teacher can handle discipline problems or not. It’s how many students in the classroom have discipline problems and how severe are they?

The semi-teachers you talk about can’t handle any discipline problems. A good normal teacher can probably handle a classroom with 10-25% discipline problems. But even the best teachers will struggle to deal with classrooms that have 90% discipline problems, and that’s the issue. Try dealing with total mutiny. And if the teacher acts tough, the students may even get physically violent. For some of them, physical strength and violence is the only thing they respect.

These schools are ghettos because they have all these problems piled up in one place. An innovative solution that San Francisco came up with several years ago was to spread students out, so no one goes to the local school that’s closest to them anymore but is itself randomly assigned to one of the school in the district. This distributes the students with discipline problems more evenly, and from what I’ve heard, it worked quite well.

School choice should ultimately have a similar effect in the long run.

Keep in mind that students with discipline problems are also influenced by their peers. If their peers are thugs who think school is a joke, they will act the same way. But if you’re the only one acting up in the classroom, and your peers are laughing at you not with you, then you’re more likely to change your attitude. Everything at that age is about making friends, and peer pressure is a big influence.

98 prior_test2 February 10, 2017 at 4:10 am

‘Under a public school voucher program’

All she means is that students in America would no longer be restricted to a single public school based solely on address. There is not even any need for vouchers to handle this problem, which tends to be fairly specific to how the U.S. has educational funding be reliant on property taxes, a system that is generally incomprehensible in Germany. What essentially all Germans point out after grasping how FCPS is funded in comparison to say Norfolk’s public schools, and how a student is rigidly assigned a school based on their address, is that such a system is completely opposed to the idea of offering an equal level of educational resources to all students, regardless of where they live (leaving aside that each Bundesland retains final authority in education, as laid out in the Grundgesetz). This is the system Germans are familiar with, as schools here do not receive different levels of funding based on which town they are located in the Bundesland..

That what Warren was proposing can be seen as essentially diametrically opposed to what Education Secretary DeVos espouses should not be obscure.

(Warren’s voucher idea at a county level would not precisely help this, though – http://www.thecommonwealthinstitute.org/2016/11/04/increasingly-separate-and-unequal-in-u-s-and-virginia-schools/ )

99 dan1111 February 10, 2017 at 4:25 am

Thanks, you are right, most of us missed the point on this one.

100 Alan February 10, 2017 at 7:00 am

I think the point was summed up in the phrase “fully funded”.

101 dan1111 February 10, 2017 at 7:42 am

She was proposing a system where funding only went to public schools, but parents could choose between schools. This wasn’t clear to me, or, based on the content of the comments, many others, on a first reading.

I don’t think “fully funded” makes that obvious. You could have a voucher system that allows you to attend private schools, but funds at the same per-student rate the public schools receive.

102 Slocum February 10, 2017 at 8:59 am

‘Fully funded’ is leftish code phrase for ‘moar money’: https://goo.gl/3yevCE

103 Alan February 10, 2017 at 11:09 pm

FF is only relevant to government schools. Otherwise your funding is what is available and the market decides what that will buy,

104 Slocum February 10, 2017 at 6:59 am

“All she means is that students in America would no longer be restricted to a single public school based solely on address. There is not even any need for vouchers to handle this problem.”

‘Students in America’ do not face a single set of rules — they vary widely by state (states, that in some respects retain more sovereignty than EU member states). Some states (Indiana) already have vouchers. Others (Michigan) have school choice without vouchers. The latter is much like what Warren advocates above. Parents may choose to send their kids to charter schools (independent public schools) or to schools in neighboring districts. And most districts have implemented choice within them, so parents may send their kids to something other than their neighborhood school. Although many smaller districts have eliminated the concept of neighborhood schools and divide students by age rather than location, sending all K-2 kids in the district to one school, 3-4 to another, and so on. But in all cases of choice, the equalized state funding follows the student.

How do the teachers unions feel about Michigan’s ‘choice without vouchers’ system? If you guessed they hate it, you win. Why? Because charters are generally not unionized. But even worse, competition actually turns out to work the way you’d expect. Poorly performing districts lose a lot of students and funding have to close schools and lay off teachers (and the growing charters and neighboring districts are under no obligation to hire them). The unions also hate the state equalized funding, BTW. Why? Because there’s no longer anything to strike over. Union contracts are negotiated with individual districts. But people in those districts can no longer vote to raise property taxes and increase local school funding. So local districts can’t really pay teachers more even if they wanted to — there’s no way to raise the money.

105 Bill February 10, 2017 at 9:21 am

Given that she was talking about a public school voucher program, what does this say about Tyler’s claim that this was about vouchers to be used in private schools?

Do you think you have been fooled.

106 Vivian Darkbloom February 10, 2017 at 12:12 pm

Where does he (Tyler) claim that?

107 Turkey Vulture February 10, 2017 at 12:33 pm

I don’t see anywhere that he does. In this post, Tyler specifically quotes her as saying “Under a public school voucher program, parents, not bureaucrats, would have the power to pick schools for their children—and to choose which schools would get their children’s vouchers.”

108 Vivian Darkbloom February 10, 2017 at 1:21 pm

I trust this is not the same “Bill” complaining about “fake news” elsewhere in this comment thread…

109 Turkey Vulture February 10, 2017 at 1:28 pm

I believe your trust is misplaced. But it is a common name.

110 Fazal Majid February 10, 2017 at 4:10 am

Yes, public school teachers’ unions are a big part of the problem, as Bill Gates realized after a fruitless decade of educational philanthropy.

A more interesting question is, what are the desirable features of a voucher program, as vouchers alone are not sufficient to guarantee a good outcome. These two Economist articles on the subject are interesting:

111 prior_test2 February 10, 2017 at 4:30 am

‘Bill Gates realized after a fruitless decade of educational philanthropy’

Not to mention fat tax write offs for ‘donating’ Windows licenses.

112 MOFO February 10, 2017 at 11:08 am

Yea, im sure a guy worth 90 Billion dollars was super stoked about that tax write off.

113 Cliff February 10, 2017 at 11:09 am

Why the scare quotes?

114 prior_test2 February 10, 2017 at 12:34 pm

Because license cost is a fiction here – the marginal cost of 5 million Windows licenses is essentially zero. As demonstrated by the GPL in connection with linux for several decades. Or to put it differently, assuming you are using an iPhone (originally a free BSD license) or Android phone (originally GPL), you are using OS software that the manufacturer paid precisely zero to use, making as many copies as desired.

115 A Definite Beta Guy February 10, 2017 at 10:57 am

I wonder how many Dems are persuadable to this stance. Chicago apparently has a voucher-friendly stance and there were some hints that Obama administration was moving in that direction with the Arne Duncan appointment.

Not sure how much has come of that, or if Dems just gave up in the face of Teacher Union opposition.

116 Seth February 10, 2017 at 10:58 pm

I think a more interesting question is what is a good outcome? Most people will say improved test scores. I say it’s parents who feel they have more choice.

117 JC February 10, 2017 at 4:15 am

What a change, what happened to her?

118 dearieme February 10, 2017 at 5:57 am

She spent too many hours cavorting around a fire, clad in deerskin, whooping loudly, and brandishing a tomahawk.

119 chuck martel February 10, 2017 at 6:30 am

You’re not talking about Mrs. Bruce Mann, are you?

120 dearieme February 10, 2017 at 8:48 am

It’s in her genes, apparently.

121 Vivian Darkbloom February 10, 2017 at 4:22 am

“…Under a public school voucher program, parents, not bureaucrats, would have the power to pick schools for their children”.

The use of the term “bureaucrat” here sounds strangely derogatory coming from Ms Warren. But, while assailing the current “lack of choice” inherent in a “partial subsidy” rather than a full one, Ms Warren was very careful to note the benefits of a “*public* school voucher program”. It appears to me she’s got a problem with letting those government bureaucrats choose (by default) which school your kids go to; but, when it comes to choice, that choice should be limited to schools run by bureaucrats and exclude private schools. I guess the lessons here include 1) partial choice is good (as long as fully funded), but more complete choice is bad; and 2) some bureaucrats are good and others are bad.

And, why would teacher’s unions be necessarily against throwing more federal money at local primary and secondary schools?

122 Mark February 12, 2017 at 11:33 am

I’d have to read her book to see exactly what she’s talking about, but as far as I’m aware there is only one kind of “voucher program” and that’s the kind reimburses parents for private school tuition.

Public school choice, if that’s what she’s referring to, is not usually referred to as a voucher program because no vouchers are handed out. Who gets the voucher? The money is simply transferred from one public school to another. So this use of terminology is confusing.

Public school choice would help students, but it’s far more impractical than vouchers for private schools. This is because local residents of rich neighborhoods that have A+ public schools do not want let in the residents from poor neighborhoods with F public schools.

I have some personal experience with this, as I myself tried to transfer out of a failing public school, and the rich neighborhood school brought their lawyers in to make sure it wouldn’t happen. I’m like, man, they hire a lawyer just to keep one kid out of their school…

In some sense, it make sense because the fancy public schools get a lot of local property taxes, and so they feel that anyone who isn’t paying taxes on a McMansion in that neighborhood doesn’t deserve to go to their public school. But even if you could offer to pay them the same amount of money they get from their property taxes, I doubt that they would take it, because they want to keep their schools exclusive to the neighborhood.

Private schools are far less discriminatory. In fact, the faith-based private schools often have a moral desire to educate kids from all walks of life, not just those whose parents can afford to buy them a BMW. They certainly don’t discriminate based on where you live.

So yeah, the only practical school choice voucher option is vouchers for private schools. I’d love to see the rich public schools being forced to take kids from other neighborhoods, but that’s not going to happen.

123 regular commenter different handle February 10, 2017 at 4:24 am

As somebody with 99th-percentile LSATs and the naivete to put “Caucasian” on my Harvard application…well, clever lady that Elizabeth Warren.

124 Turkey Vulture February 10, 2017 at 10:12 am

Her JD is not from Harvard Law.

125 regular commenter different handle February 10, 2017 at 11:48 am

True story. How many Rutgers JDs get full professorships at Harvard Law, I wonder…

126 Cliff February 10, 2017 at 11:11 am

I’m a bit confused why anyone puts down caucasian or Asian. There’s no enforcement is there? If someone finds out and objects that you’re white you just get up in their face and start screaming about oppression, right?

127 Turkey Vulture February 10, 2017 at 11:34 am

As I recall I didn’t answer the question about race/ethnicity on my law school applications, as they were optional.

But maybe that’s why I got in despite my rural white male status. They just assumed I was Native.

128 regular commenter different handle February 10, 2017 at 11:57 am

Turkey Vulture’s way is honest, though in all likelihood he was thrown in the cracker pile and got in with excellent credentials.

As for the school I ended up attending, I witnessed them tripping all over themselves to hire minority talent. No doubt the same dance is going on at Harvard.

129 Turkey Vulture February 10, 2017 at 12:09 pm

I very briefly considered whether I could go through with calling myself Native. Up until a year ago (when I sent some spit in to 23andme) I had believed since childhood that I had Native ancestry. My mom had told me my paternal grandmother once told her the family had Native blood, and my mom found an adopted ancestor in the family tree that she suspected was the source of this claim. She also believed that her side of the family had some Native heritage as well. So I liked to tell friends I was a little bit Native and hated the white man for taking my land.

But it didn’t take much thought to decide that marking myself down as “Native” on the basis of these stories would be deceitful, so I didn’t do it. As I recall Warren had a very similar story as a basis for her own Native claim.

Anyway, turns out I am 0.1% or less Native according to 23andme, so those childhood stories were BS. 23andme combined with more extensive genealogical research by my wife shows that I am probably more English than your typical Englishman.

130 4ChanMan February 10, 2017 at 12:32 pm

More Cuck than your typical Englishman that’s for sure. And that is PRETTTTYYY Cuck.

131 Turkey Vulture February 10, 2017 at 12:34 pm


132 Turkey Vulture February 10, 2017 at 12:35 pm

Sorry about your inferior heritage bro.

133 Turkey Vulture February 10, 2017 at 12:37 pm

Well now you ruined it for me. I thought that Economist guy actually responded to you before.

I would never use an emoticon.

134 harpersnotes February 10, 2017 at 5:58 am

Burger-flippers and hair stylists derive no benefit from schooling beyond the sixth grade. The great majority of educational theory is based on wishful magical thinking. (cf. Cargo Cult Science.) Students who are teachable to high levels lose valuable peak learning years when put in classrooms stuffed with the baby-sitting and warehousing of those with slow to average intelligence, and with those who are poorly-parented disruptive brats. Vouchers and zip codes are inefficient hacks around hurting the feelings of parents who are delusional about their kids’ potential. Bring back early testing of student aptitudes! Bring back educational tracking! Or just let East Asia run the world for the next few centuries.

135 dan1111 February 10, 2017 at 6:12 am

Successful hair stylists are often small business owners, and making a decent career from “burger flipper” probably involves managing or owning a burger joint. A bit more than a sixth grade education would be beneficial in both cases.

Yes, we need to be honest about differences in ability, but I think the idea that someone of average intelligence cannot complete a quality high school degree is wrong (and offensive). Average students who genuinely want to learn are not the problem. The problem is resources wasted on those who are disruptive and/or have no interest in learning.

136 Cliff February 10, 2017 at 11:13 am

There are plenty of below average people. They can still learn useful things, but I don’t know if what you learn in public schools qualifies. They could be learning trades right?

137 Cliff February 10, 2017 at 11:14 am

Or even basic finance and other practical skills for small business ownership

138 Mark February 12, 2017 at 11:58 am

Well, even the burger-flippers play an important role when they vote in elections, which can either help or harm society. The main idea behind compulsory K-12 education is that it’s supposed to create responsible citizens, who aren’t completely ignorant of civics and why the United States even exists.

Not that it’s working so well.

China isn’t a democracy, so they have no reason to fear their peasants being ignorant. America is a democracy, which means that ignorant people can do a lot of damage here.

Also, the unfortunate reality is that for many kids in America, it takes them 12 years to get to the Sixth Grade level. You actually think that the Sixth Graders in ghettos are at the Sixth Grade level?

The problem with ending social promotion and keeping kids at the grade level they’re actually supposed to be at is that there are no resources to hold those kids back. This is the practical problem. If you have 30 students at the 6th Grade, and 20 of them should be held back, then the next year you have 50 students, then 70, and so forth. It just blows up. If you hold all these kids back, it becomes more obvious that the school is failing, but it doesn’t solve the problem. Your solution?

In my high school, there were lots of kids who weren’t at 2nd Grade reading level and couldn’t do basic arithmetic. Please forget about 6th Grade level…

139 Mark February 12, 2017 at 12:39 pm

Also, if these kids only get a 6th Grade education, you’re going to see an uptick in illicit activities in whatever neighborhood is lucky enough to have them.

Pimping and drug dealing makes a lot more money than burger-flipping or hair styling, and requires about the same level of education.

One reason that we’re schooling these kids is because our prisons are already at max capacity, and the police have a hard enough time as is dealing with crime. The schools keep the kids off the streets during the daylight hours, and promise a high school diploma to them and even the hope of going to college one day to keep them from dropping out, with the hope that they may one day become responsible citizens.

So yeah, these kids may not have a lot of potential to be productive to society, and in that sense educating them may seem like a waste of time. But you need to account for the fact that they do have the potential to cause a lot of harm to society if we stop trying to educate them altogether.

Now, we need to balance this with the fact that if there are any kids with real potential who have the unfortunate fate of ending up in the same schools, we need to rescue them. And school choice is the only way to do that.

140 Perovskite February 10, 2017 at 7:16 am

The idea that education and health care are “too important to leave to the markets” (while food production is not?) is pretty deeply embedded in the progresive ethos. I think society puts up with this as both functions (educating your kids, taking care of yourself) are deeply unpleasant and potentially have bad outcomes where plausible deniability is useful and thus there are returns to outsourcing them that are not based on measurable outcomes.

141 Heorogar February 10, 2017 at 8:18 am

Ms. DeVos is Secy. of Education. Get over it, losers.

She can’t do worse for education that have the prior teachers union acceptable nominees.

Look at the record of the Ed Dept. HAs American education improved since 1980 when Jimmeh Carter created the Ed. Dept,. to get a re-election assist from Teachers’ Unions.

142 The Other Jim February 10, 2017 at 8:36 am

They are already over it. Down the memory hole it goes, and on to the next exciting episode of Dem Failure Theater!

Quick, look over there! Something Hitlery is happening!!!!

143 Art Deco February 10, 2017 at 10:19 am

Again, Congress, not ‘Jimmah Carter’ incorporated the Education Department at the President’s recommendation as part of the President’s reorganization initiatives. The effect of that was to corral in one place a set of federal aid programs which had been scattered over several departments and stand-alone agencies. The introduction of large scale federal intervention in education occurred in three stages: the GI Bill implemented in 1945, the Great Society legislation enacted ca. 1965, and escalatingly officious federal court decrees (a process which began around 1948). None of these were Mr. Carter’s initiatives.

144 yenwoda February 10, 2017 at 8:33 am

2003 was a while back. Since then I believe that voucher use has expanded, but with extremely limited (at best) benefits to students. So not really shocking that someone sympathetic to the idea of vouchers would cool to it over time.

145 TMC February 10, 2017 at 11:24 am

Larger efforts at charter schools have produced slightly better results at cheaper rates, with a significant increase in parent satisfaction. Why would you be against that?

146 Mark February 12, 2017 at 1:03 pm

Not really.

No expansive voucher program exists anywhere in this country, or is likely to exist so long as teacher unions dominate the narrative.

Other school choice initiatives like charter schools have become a lot more popular, but this is very different than vouchers. The problem with charter schools is you have a lot of new schools popping up, and they take time to get established, and of course many will fail. It’s what you would expect with any kind of start-up. Also, the public/private nature of charter schools sometimes reduces accountability.

People who are true school choice advocates have always seen charter schools as kind of political bridge, that people are more willing to accept and unions won’t try as hard to fight, but we don’t see charter schools right now as being best solution for school choice.

With vouchers for private schools, you have schools that are already very well established. Some have been around for over a hundred years. And they’ve existed in an open market where people pay money for the education. No one would be paying tuition to these schools if they weren’t good. So you have a mature market of high quality well-established schools, that have been proven with the test of time.

A well-implemented voucher initiative will give the rest of America access to this market. For many people who live in areas where there are no good public schools, there is at least one good private school.

147 rayward February 10, 2017 at 9:13 am

Sen. Warren is describing a voucher system that would pay the “entire cost of educating a child”. Of course, that’s not what those promoting vouchers have in mind. A voucher system that only partly covers costs of a private school would be worthless to a family of limited means; hence, such a voucher system would only benefit families of substantial means. A voucher system that covers the entire cost is just another way of describing school choice. And if given a choice of a free education at a public school or a private school, most families would choose the private school. That would require the development of a whole lot of private schools, as there simply aren’t nearly enough for all the children whose families would choose a private school. Who would build them, and where, and who would pay the cost of building them? In other words, a voucher system that covers the entire cost of education a child is just a euphemism for public schools.

148 MOFO February 10, 2017 at 11:12 am

Of course, that’s not what those promoting vouchers have in mind [CITATION NEEDED]

149 Larry Siegel February 11, 2017 at 2:52 am

Here’s your citation: https://www.edchoice.org (formerly the Friedman Foundation).

150 Mark February 12, 2017 at 1:59 pm

Hogwash. Most Democrats seem to think of things in terms “all or nothing” reasoning. For instance, we either have universal healthcare (even if it is a crappy healthcare) or we don’t.

Vouchers may not help everyone afford private school, but they would certainly help some families who wouldn’t be able to otherwise. In particular, vouchers would help middle class families in neighborhoods with bad schools, and reduce “white flight” and urban decay in those neighborhoods.

Let’s consider that there are four income categories:

A. Students whose family can easily afford private schools (like DeVos, Trump, etc.)
B. Students whose family can barely afford private schools.
C. Students whose family can’t afford private schools, but could with a voucher.
D. Students whose family couldn’t afford a private school even with the voucher.

Vouchers help families in Groups B and C. They don’t help D, and we don’t want them to help A. If your concern is that you don’t want public school money being siphoned off by A, then you can put modest income requirements on the vouchers.

So how many people fall into B or C? I don’t know, but I think it’s probably a lot more than you imagine. My family certainly did.

If you went to a good public school, then you are probably under the erroneous impression that the only people who go to private schools are the people from Group A (the super wealthy) because those are probably the only people you knew who went to a private school. Groups B and C aren’t really visible in neighborhoods that have good public schools.

If you’re in a neighborhood with a decent public school, being in Group B means that yes you could technically afford a private school, but your family will have to give up all its vacations, the big screen TV, all other luxuries, and live on a shoe-string budget. You might have to take out a small loan, or remortgage your home, dip into the retirement fund early, or spend the money you were saving for your kid to go to college. You might even have to take a second job.

So no one with a good public school realistically chooses that option. Why make life hard to send your kids to a private school, when there’s a perfectly good public school down the road?

But the families who live in neighborhoods with failing schools see things differently. They see private school as a necessity, in the same way that many people see healthcare as a necessity. And so in those neighborhoods, there are a lot of families in Group B — average middle-class families who are struggling to pay the tuition at private schools, because they see themselves as having no other options. Most of these families are barely able to pay, and I know some who had to pull their kids out half-way through because they couldn’t pay anymore.

The difference between B and C is really not that large, so yes vouchers will push more people into the B group. Even with the most modest voucher proposals. This is not to mention that a lot of private schools give financial aid grants for their neediest students, and a voucher combined with those grants would essentially give those students free education at these private schools.

If the idea of giving scholarships for college is no absurd to you, then vouchers for private school shouldn’t be either.

Also, if a voucher initiative is properly done, it will pay the private school the equivalent of what the public school gets for the child, which last I checked (about 15 years ago) was about 10-14K per child. That’s a very substantial amount! The reason most voucher proposals aren’t as much is because public schools get money from a lot of different government sources (local, state and federal). A state voucher could only be as much as the state pay, and a federal voucher could only be as much as the federal govt. pays. The best voucher system would use both federal and state funding, just like the public schools currently do.

Yes, ideally we’d want the voucher to pay for the full cost of private school education, so nobody is disadvantage financially.

The private schools are still not going to be the same as the public schools, because they’re run differently and have different admission standards. Most of the top private schools only admit students who have a record of high grades and who do well on a standardized test.

In that respect, private schools serve the same purpose as magnet public schools in areas of the country that only have a one-size-fits-all public school. The best and brightest students in America are better served by going to a private school rather than one of the many failing public schools.

Philosophically is this any different than having a good public school system? Well the difference is that to get a good public school system that gives everyone the education they deserve, we’d need to basically rebuild the entire system from scratch. It’s theoretically possible but the amount of inertia required is too much I think.

151 Doug February 10, 2017 at 9:24 am

My concern with vouchers is that it would simply drive up the cost of education, without resolving the stratification/discrimination issues.

Let’s say that, currently, a high-end public school costs $5,000/year in property taxes (1% of $500,0000 house), a decent parochial school costs $10,000/year, and a high-end private school costs $30,000/year right now.

The Federal Government issues a $10,000/year voucher to attend “the school of choice.” All public schools would be “chartered” with the vouchers supplying the majority of their budgets. What I would expect to happen is the parochial school tuition rises to $20,000/year, and the high-end private school tuition rises to $40,000/year. Some of the richer public school students may jump to private schools (since, presumably their property tax bills would decline), but the poor kids will be stuck with the other poor kids in the same schools. (And I’m not sure that the $10,000/year will dramatically improve the quality of the poor kids’ schools).

152 Bill February 10, 2017 at 9:39 am

Vouchers with charters are just another good way to rip the government off.

Think of it this way. A city’s school age population is a distribution of low cost to educate students and high cost to educate students. Recognize that there is also an externality in learning…that not only do students learn from teachers, but they learn from each other. Then imagine a model in which the charter school goes after the low cost to educate students, leaving the high cost to educate student in the public pool. The cost of educating the students in the public pool goes up, if you want to educate those students, raising the reference price for a charter which will now also ask for more money to match the public system, even though they are educating the more affluent or those without disabilities, etc.

Public systems pool those of varying costs of service.

Finally, as persons may have discovered in later comments above, Warren’s proposal was for public school vouchers…you can go where you want within the public system. This is not surprising…because at that time the Boston public school system was experimenting with a school matching system designed by a Harvard economist who subsequently won a Nobel prize.

153 Bill February 10, 2017 at 9:51 am

This is really interesting. You can see how fake news created by following the google thread on “warren and charter schools” You will see the story start with some right wing blog sites, reach public media sites, and then you can actually find out what she wrote later: that students could use vouchers to move within the public school system. Quite different than vouchers being used for private schools.

Here is the real story from Vox:

” In 2003, Warren laid out a proposal for what she called a school voucher system — letting money follow students to the public school of their choice.

“An all-voucher system would be a shock to the educational system,” the magazine quotes the Massachusetts Democrat as writing in her book The Two-Income Trap. “But the shakeout might be just what the system needs.”


The headlines write themselves. Warren agrees with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA); pigs fly; hell freezes over.

The idea that unites Warren and Cantor: Allow students to attend any public school in their area, regardless of where they live. In other words, get rid of neighborhood schools, with their traditionally small attendance areas.

Warren argues this would decouple school quality from property values. A school in a wealthy subdivision would no longer be better than a school in a poor one. Students would be assigned based on their interests and preferences, not their family income.

It’s a familiar idea. Cantor attached an amendment to an overhaul of No Child Left Behind last summer that would have allowed students to take their federal money with them to attend the public school of their choice.

But, philosophically, Cantor and Warren are very different. And Warren’s views aren’t entirely out of step with the education reform wing of the Democratic party.

The key word here is ‘public’
“School choice” — the idea that public education ought to include options for students and parents beyond just the neighborhood school — is a big tent, one that contains Cantor, Warren, President Obama, Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Sen. Cory Booker, Rep. Paul Ryan and Sen. Rand Paul.

“School choice,” though, is also commonly used as a narrower synonym for an unfettered voucher system. Although Warren doesn’t use the term this way, most people hear the word “vouchers” and think of a system where students can use federal, state or local dollars to attend private and religious schools.


Those are the vouchers that many Republicans, including Cantor, support. (Cantor watered this down when he added the amendment to the House education bill, but he’s traditionally been a forceful advocate for voucher systems that let students attend private and parochial schools.)

And in the book, Warren writes that she doesn’t mean that kind of voucher system. She disavows the usual public-versus-private framing of vouchers as a distraction, because students who don’t opt for vouchers are still stuck with their neighborhood public schools.”

Here is the Vox link: http://www.vox.com/2014/4/16/5621630/elizabeth-warren-wants-to-kill-the-neighborhood-school

Tyler’s post is a great example of disinformation, or, as we like to say, alternative information.

154 Slocum February 10, 2017 at 11:08 am

It’s easy to include the requirement that any school accepting vouchers must accept the voucher as the full tuition payment.

And, no, more money won’t help poor kids stuck in lousy schools. Many big city school systems with terrible outcomes are already big spenders, while many lower-spending areas do very well.

155 Bill February 10, 2017 at 12:50 pm

Sounds like you are advocating that students should be transferred to the schools in the lower spending areas.

156 Slocum February 10, 2017 at 1:46 pm

I don’t think students should be ‘transferred’ anywhere. But they should be able to opt out of bad school systems and choose to attend charters or schools in neighboring districts. Which is the case here in Michigan and students in low-performing districts are doing so in large numbers:

“In Detroit, 60 percent of public-school students use charters or Schools of Choice; it’s 50 percent in Ypsilanti; 47 percent in Battle Creek. Grand Rapids, Jackson, Lansing and Saginaw each lost more than a third of their students to school choice in 2015-16, state data shows.”


But the unions and the left hate this because a lot of union jobs vanish when formerly captive students (and their funding) are able to leave.

157 Billy February 10, 2017 at 4:22 pm


158 Larry Siegel February 11, 2017 at 2:55 am

Your public school costs are way off. A top notch public high school costs about $17,000 per student, within shooting distance of a very good private school.

A lot of families can afford $13,000 in extra tuition but not $30,000, and would thus benefit tremendously from a $17,000 voucher.

159 Jack February 10, 2017 at 9:30 am

It is too bad that the Democratic Party is against parental choice in education and therefor all but the most affluent go to schools that are mediocre at best. Here in NYC my child’s middle school would have been considered one of the better schools in the City — no crime, drugs, etc. But unfortunately his teachers were not in the habit of coming to work regularly so it was a rare day that all five of his teachers showed up. His Spanish teacher was into running marathons so she was often absent so she could train and my kid therefore learned no Spanish. But he did learn about all the people with grievances against the US because his social studies teacher used Howard Zinn’s US history book. According to my kid she came to work in overalls as if she were going to work on a farm and had some pretty strong views about how unjust US society was. Luckily she was absent a lot too.

160 Thiago Ribeiro February 10, 2017 at 11:00 am

“But he did learn about all the people with grievances against the US because his social studies teacher used Howard Zinn’s US history book.”
And yet he didn’t learn Spanish. Maybe, just maybe he is better at social sciences than he is at Spanish. It is known to have happened.

161 Cliff February 10, 2017 at 11:17 am

Or, even worse at social sciences than at Spanish

162 Thiago Ribeiro February 10, 2017 at 12:24 pm

Granted, he is now probably worse in social sciences than in Spanish (negative<zero), but I meant maybe he is more skilled to understand the social science teacher's rants against America than he is to remember Spanish verbs. Because, lest us not forget, it all hinges on testimony of someone who failed to learn Spanish.

163 Boonton February 10, 2017 at 4:09 pm

Exactly how would ‘parental choice’ in education work in NYC? There are great public schools, medium ones and bad ones. With parental choice, everyone would try to go to the best public one they could find. The better public schools would then try to institute some type of lottery, which means you don’t really get parental choice unless you happen to win the lottery. But overall the same # of kids will get the best school as before.

Or the better schools would institute a price system. You could apply to send your kids to the better schools but you’d have to pay some amount of tuition. The school would then balance out capacity to demand. But those infamous ‘affluent’ in NYC could run prices up. From their point of view why spend $30K per year on a great private school when the best public school could be had for $10K? The ‘price’ of the best schools would rise therein again making quality schooling an affluent affair.

164 cw February 10, 2017 at 9:30 am

Maybe they realized that vouchers are a good idea in theory, but a bad idea when implemented in the real world. In most case it seems to me that at best they make bad public schools worse and help a relatively few kids get a low level private school education.

Or maybe the realized that republicans/libertarians with the urgent need to privatize everything cared about vouchers for ideological instead of education reasons and therefor would implement them in such a way as to make public education massively worse. And they didn’t want to support that.

165 Cliff February 10, 2017 at 11:18 am

What about the evidence from actual charter schools? Same results or better at lower cost, very consistently.

166 cw February 10, 2017 at 12:54 pm

I don’t think that is true.

167 Boonton February 10, 2017 at 3:59 pm

No not true. The idea behind charter schools is that they can be ‘experiments’ but that makes no sense at all. An experiment would require assigning children AND teachers randomly to different schools and rigorously evaluating the results and then have a process for deciding that this or that policy produces good results and implementing them in all the other schools.

The reality is many charter schools are ‘better’ only by self-selection (since the parents and teachers want the school, there’s no way to know if the school is really doing better or simply skimming the cream from both vats). Think of a college known for their football constantly attracting top football talent. The school isn’t offering a superior football program (coaches, training facilities etc.) turning wusses into great players. Great players are seeking out a school with a great football rep.

168 Thomas February 10, 2017 at 4:26 pm

Now make the argument that students who want to try harder and are more capable shouldn’t be allowed to do so. C’mon, I’m sure you have some Marx-inspired quotes to do the job?

169 Boonton February 11, 2017 at 5:45 pm

No it’s not that. One hospital does nose jobs and treats cancer. Another hospital just does nose jobs. The second hospital has a much lower rate of deaths and people with ‘bad outcomes’ than the first hospital. But the first hospital may be great at both nose jobs and cancer treatment but it is never going to have better average numbers.

By ‘selection’ the second hospital has an illusionary advantages. People getting nose jobs might be conned by the better outcomes on average, but the average is only what it is by skimming the cream.

What do the most motivated kids do in regular public schools? How does that figure compare to charter schools?

170 kdc February 10, 2017 at 9:42 am

I think in the last sentence you’re failing the ideological Turing test. I think it would make for an interesting post for you to take a cut at making the best argument from the progressive side for opposing vouchers, taking into account the various likely political and implementation outcomes. I don’t think it would change your mind on vouchers, but I do think you might end up more sympathetic to why progressives could simultaneously see ways in which school choice would be helpful while also opposing most of the large-scale real-world proposals that are associated with it.

171 Merijn Knibbe February 10, 2017 at 9:44 am

As far as I know the dutch have had charter schools since 1917. Protestant school. Catholic Schools. Islamic schools. Antroposophic schools. Montessori system schools. Dalton system schools. Orthodox protestant schools. Public schools. Whatever. All fully funded by the government. Parents cycle all over the town to bring their offspring to the school which was in vogue when their oldest was, say 2 or 3 year olds and choices had to be made. There is however a core curriculum. For profit schools are virtually absent.


172 cw February 10, 2017 at 9:44 am

arrrrrrggghghhhhhh…… just… read…. through…. all… the…. comments……. Brain….. brain……………….. hurt!

173 A Black Man February 10, 2017 at 9:50 am

I met Warren a couple of times before she was a Senator. My impression was that she would make a perfect Senator from Massachusetts. That’s turned out to be the case. For some reason, Massachusetts likes have embarrassingly stupid people represent them in Washington. I’ve been told that it is often a way to get rid of a problem like John Kerry or Ed Markey. In the case of Warren, she’s just a seat warmer until Joe Kennedy 3.0 is ready.

174 Art Deco February 10, 2017 at 11:34 pm

Markey, Kerry, and both Kennedys all passed the bar exam. A general intelligence deficit has not been their problem. A disinclination to do much with their life other than hold political office is their problem. (The older Kennedy supplemented that with heavy drinking and satyriasis).

175 Bill February 10, 2017 at 10:01 am

You’ve been fooled folks.

There is no quality control in this website post.

Warren was talking about public school vouchers to be used within the public school system.

Here is the Vox article quoting from the book and explaining Warren’s position. http://www.vox.com/2014/4/16/5621630/elizabeth-warren-wants-to-kill-the-neighborhood-school

176 MOFO February 10, 2017 at 11:22 am


“”School choice” — the idea that public education ought to include options for students and parents beyond just the neighborhood school — is a big tent, one that contains Cantor, Warren, President Obama, Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Sen. Cory Booker, Rep. Paul Ryan and Sen. Rand Paul.”

Interesting that they dont name DeVos in that list. Does she not want public education to include the options beyond the neighborhood school?

177 GoneWithTheWind February 10, 2017 at 10:15 am

The single biggest expense for middle class families are taxes. the cumulative amount of all taxes a typical middle class family pays is typically more than their mortgage and in many cases can exceed their mortgage, transportation and food costs combined. It’s almost as though it was by intent that taxes should cripple and shrink the middle class…

178 cw February 10, 2017 at 10:23 am

I don’t think that is true.

179 A Black Man February 10, 2017 at 10:55 am

According to BLS, taxes account for 12% of the average family budget. That’s #2 behind housing which is 16%. I would assume that in places like the northeast, both figures are much higher than in a place like Texas. I would also assume that how one calculates taxes matters too. Everything we buy has a tax component, usually many layers of taxes. Food is taxed, the food store is taxed, the food workers are taxed, the deliver truck is taxed, the energy is taxed.

Still, you can look it up here: https://www.bls.gov/cex/

180 cw February 10, 2017 at 1:06 pm

I would think that in high tax states the cost of living would also be higher. That is probably true for most of Mass vrs Tex.

The other thing I think people should look at is the cost and quality of the services received from the government vrs what they could get privately. Because they are paid for by a vast amount of people and over long stretches of time, there are all kinds of things we get from the gov that we could not get privately. Schools. The FDA. Social security. All the infrastructure: roads, justice system, military. Public schools on average probably deliver better quality at a lower price than a system of private school could on average.

You can complain about taxes but you would still have to pay for most of that stuff somehow.

181 Thiago Ribeiro February 10, 2017 at 10:56 am

Taxes are a smaller component of rich Americans buggets. I wonder why. The American government has been bought by the plutocrats.

182 Cliff February 10, 2017 at 11:20 am

Depends how you define rich. The income tax is maybe the most highly progressive in the world?

183 Thiago Ribeiro February 10, 2017 at 12:30 pm

Well, when Buffett complains, as he did a few years ago, he pays a lower rate tax rate than his secretary, something is not going well (to be fair, Forbes says she must make more than US$ 200,000.00, but still, the other side of this inequaliry is Buffett).

184 cw February 10, 2017 at 12:55 pm

Not even close to the most progressive in the world I would guess.

185 Thiago Ribeiro February 10, 2017 at 10:23 am

I think the American refgime has lost the support of its own people. A desperate populace doesn’t believe anymore its leaders really have its own best interests in mind. Dog-eat-dog has become the law of the land. Americasn now see his friends, relatives, neighbours, acquaitances as irreconciliable foes. The fabric of the society is being torn apart.

186 A Black Man February 10, 2017 at 10:57 am

That’s sort of the point of importing a new people. The American ruling class is tired of being disappointed with the American people so they are bringing in a new population. Now that the courts say that everyone on earth has a constitutional right to moving into Tyler’s house, oh wait, he lives behind walls on a hill just like they do in Brazil….

187 Thiago Ribeiro February 10, 2017 at 12:47 pm

I don’t live on a hill, but I am satisfied with my country and my countrymen.

188 Bob from Ohio February 10, 2017 at 10:30 am

Red Woman speak with forked tongue!

189 Bill February 10, 2017 at 10:39 am

No, red woman subject to alternative information.

She was talking about public school vouchers to be used within the public school system. Not for private schools.

Go read the Vox article above in my comment.

190 Thomas February 10, 2017 at 4:29 pm

Vox is fake news. You’re a nazi.

191 asdf February 10, 2017 at 11:34 am

Presumably any school accepting vouchers would have to submit to some sort of government oversight. So a bureaucrat will likely be involved anyway.

It’s also likely bureaucrats will be involved in determining whose vouchers a school can accept. I mean, we aren’t going to let segregation come back, are we.

I think vouchers might very well increase bureaucratic oversight. Right now if you buy into the right neighborhood you get some degree of local control. Most importantly you select the peer group for your kids.

In a voucher would you could easily see the better schools, both private and public, being assimilated into the vast mediocrity.

192 Bill February 10, 2017 at 11:47 am

Given the misinformation on this post today and the false headline a few days ago (public procurement through bidding system listed as government price control), I am left to ask several questions:

1. Do websites like this one ever post a retraction or correction, as newspapers do. Do people read the comment section, or do they just read the post. If they only read the post, a correction or retraction or subsequent post with more nuance may necessary to reach the audience which does not read comments or do their own research. Do you know of any blog that posts retractions or corrections.

2. Are websites like this one designed to attract those with committed views, filling them with (dis) information to support a view. Are they merely aggregators or are they creators which critically examine what others say.

3. Today’s post is interesting from an experimental point of view. If you google search “warren and vouchers” you will see that the meme of today’s post began on right wing websites, was picked up by the NY Daily News, and the WSJ. Now, what is interest is the path for dissemination of misinformation. On a trip a few years ago I asked a lecturer who was formerly in the CIA and State Department (evidently you speak on cruise ships if you are retired) if he was familiar about an arcane feature of networks that would apply to his former line of work. He replied: “Bill, we know all about that. In fact, we would often plant a false story (in another country) to see what paths the information would take, and how long it would reach the general public.”

The misinformation dissemination path can be broken only by people willing to investigate further and shame those who spread false information. Ask for retraction, correction, or nuanced discussion.

193 Bill February 10, 2017 at 11:53 am

Correction: I am not surehe specifically said false information. It may have been true information that would reveal the paths. Sorry.

194 Turkey Vulture February 10, 2017 at 11:52 am

These discussions often lead me to think I should just home school. I will start a blog and they can ghost write it, and ghost comment on here, as their english, history, and social sciences courses.

195 msgkings February 10, 2017 at 2:51 pm

Kidding aside that may actually work better than a mediocre school. Especially if you have them look up references they don’t know (like when SMFS talks about Pol Pot they should have to look him up)

196 Turkey Vulture February 11, 2017 at 1:36 pm

I tend to think self-directed learning like that is better than even a very good school for most any kid who is decently above average intelligence.

My school was rural and public but was better than mediocre. We had some AP courses in high school. But school in general was still very boring and I largely hated it, outside of study halls and gym and after-school sports. It exacerbated many of my vices, as I could half-ass and procrastinate and still do well.

But independent self-direcred learning is a lot more parental supervision and labor intensive. So although I think I could construct a program largely outside of the school system that would make my kids end up better educated, better skilled, and with better habits, and that would allow them to enjoy their childhood more, I don’t think I will ultimately be willing to sink the necessary time and effort into doing so.

197 Boonton February 10, 2017 at 1:41 pm

Is discriminating against the poor a feature rather than a bug of voucher schemes?

Consider, ‘partially funded’ voucher are a great bonus to middle and upper class families who either pay for private school or are willing to use their cars to enlarge the radius of possible public and private schools to consider. They also keep the poor out since the partially funded voucher will not take into consideration that it’s difficult for poor parents to chip in for tuition or send their kids to a school farther away from home than the nearest public school. This nicely segregates the school. The private and suburban schools can use vouchers to buy the best teachers, materials, and facilities. The poor are trapped in the worse schools leaving them unable to ‘spoil’ the better schools.

In effect it’s the same game as community rating with insurance. Without it anyone who isn’t as healthy seeming as possible, now with Big Data to back up what used to be rough guesses, gets pushed out of the market. With it insurance is more affordable but critics get to grumble that they are paying for ‘coverage’ they don’t need (as in “I know I’m not getting pregnant, why should I buy coverage for that….I can bet I’ll never get HIV, why have that covered?).

On the flip side what does ‘fully funded’ mean? Let’s say the average cost in a state is $9K per kid so everyone gets vouchers for $9K. School A is great versus school B. A’s capacity is only 500 students while B’s is 1500. 1500 parents want to go to A but the school can only fit 500. Normally in a market A would respond by raising its price to clear the market. But now the voucher isn’t ‘fully funded’. Another method is to say the school cannot charge more than the voucher. Now school A assigned 500 kids to it by a lottery while B simply gets the other 1500 kids who don’t make it. But there doesn’t seem to be a lot of market dynamic there since being really good just means you have to run lotteries or other schemes rather than generating a lot of additional income.

An advantage IMO is limited vouchers targeted in urban areas where you often get a lot of different schools within reasonable distance for many parents, even those without cars.

198 Thomas February 10, 2017 at 4:32 pm

Fake economic analysis ^

199 chuck martel February 10, 2017 at 6:10 pm

“The private and suburban schools can use vouchers to buy the best teachers, materials, and facilities.”

How would they know who the best teachers might be? Materials are what? Books, paper, pencils, computers. Rich schools must use Apple products while poor schools struggle with Pentium Microsoft junk. Is a palatial building what’s necessary to comprehend algebra, physics and chemistry? The guys that developed those subjects didn’t exactly operate in grand surroundings. Most of them never had the benefit of running water or electricity. Spending beaucoup dinero on school buildings is a modern alleviation of parental guilt for spending so much time watching television.

200 Boonton February 11, 2017 at 5:46 pm

I’m sorry if no one knows who the best teachers are or what makes for a better school exactly what is the market based argument for either charter schools or vouchers?

201 Bob February 10, 2017 at 1:46 pm

A key part of the voucher argument is to figure out how people’s choices will change over time. My suspicion is that a full voucher system would lead to behaviors that will resemble the problem of segregation that we find in many parts of the midwest: The multiple stages of white flight can be seen with the naked eye. The same thing happens in private schools, but with further segregation motives that aren’t purely racial.

If one doesn’t believe that something like white flight would happen under a voucher system, it’s easy to be in favor of it. If one believes in that model, it’s a lot harder to defend if coming from a liberal worldview. The way I see it, it would give better access to good schools to the people who can send signals that people from a higher economic tier like, and harm those whose economics are ahead of their signaling: In short, it would increase racial segregation in schools.

I’d love to hear why Tyler thinks this might not be the case.

202 Cooper February 10, 2017 at 6:38 pm

Teachers are to Democrats what coal miners are to Republicans.

Their concentrated and effective lobbying efforts force otherwise sensible people to advocate for irrational policies in order to meet the needs of this special interest group.

The teachers unions are not only the fourth largest supplier of campaign cash in the country since 1989, they are a large and well organized voting bloc. There are nearly 7 million public employees in the elementary and secondary education sector. The National Education Associating and the American Federation of Teachers provided $32 million in campaign contributions towards Democratic candidates and PACs in the 2015-2016 cycle. (https://www.opensecrets.org/industries/indus.php?ind=L1300)

203 Bill February 10, 2017 at 10:50 pm

Cooper, You don’t have to be a unionized teacher or a democrat to have problems with private charter schools and private school funding. You can make a very effective argument that charters are a government rip off–siphoning off the low cost to educate students and leaving the high cost students in the public system.

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