The Education Blob – John Stossel – Townhall.com

The Education Blob – John Stossel – Townhall.com.

Since progressives want government to run health care, let’s look at what government management did to K-12 education. While most every other service in life has gotten better and cheaper, American education remains stagnant.

Spending has tripled! Why no improvement? Because K-12 education is a virtual government monopoly — and monopolies don’t improve.

In every other sector of the economy, market competition forces providers to improve constantly. It’s why most things get better — often cheaper, too (except when government interferes, as in health care).

Politicians claim that education and health care are different — too important to leave to market competition. Patients and parents aren’t real consumers because they don’t have the expertise to know which hospital or school is best. That’s why they must be centrally planned by government “experts.”

Those experts have been in charge for years. School reformers call them the “Blob.” Jeanne Allen of the Center for Education Reform says that attempts to improve the government monopoly have run “smack into federations, alliances, departments, councils, boards, commissions, panels, herds, flocks and convoys that make up the education industrial complex, or the Blob. Taken individually, they were frustrating enough, each with its own bureaucracy, but taken as a whole they were (and are) maddening in their resistance to change. Not really a wall — they always talk about change — but more like quicksand, or a tar pit where ideas slowly sink.”

The Blob claims teachers are underpaid. But today American teachers average more than $50,000 a year. Teachers’ hourly wages exceed what most architects, accountants and nurses make.

The Blob constantly demands more money, but tripling spending and vastly increasing the ratio of staff to student have brought no improvement. When the Blob is in control, waste and indifference live on and on.

The Blob claims that public education is “the great equalizer.” Rich and poor and different races mix and learn together. It’s a beautiful concept. But it is a lie. Rich parents buy homes in neighborhoods with better schools.

As a result, public — I mean, government — schools are now more racially segregated than private schools. One survey found that public schools were significantly more likely to be almost entirely white or entirely minority. Another found that at private schools, students of different races were more likely to sit together.

The Blob’s most powerful argument is that poor people need government-run schools. How could poor people possibly afford tuition?

Well, consider some truly destitute places. James Tooley spends most of his time in the poorest parts of Africa, India and China. Those countries copied America’s “free public education,” and Tooley wanted to see how that’s worked out. What he learned is that in India and China, where kids outperform American kids on tests, it’s not because they attend the government’s free schools. Government schools are horrible. So even in the worst slums, parents try to send their kids to private, for-profit schools.

How can the world’s poorest people afford tuition? And why would they pay for what their governments offer for free?

Tooley says parents with meager resources still sacrifice to send their kids to private schools because the private owner does something that’s virtually impossible in government schools: replace teachers who do not teach. Government teachers in India and Africa have jobs for life, just like American teachers. Many sleep on the job. Some don’t even show up for work.

As a result, says Tooley, “the majority of (poor) schoolchildren are in private school.” Even small villages have as many as six private schools, “and these schools outperform government schools at a fraction of the teacher cost.”

As in America, government officials in those countries scoff at private schools and parents who choose them. A woman who runs government schools in Nigeria calls such parents “ignoramuses.” They aren’t — and thanks to competition, their children won’t be, either.

Low-income Americans are far richer than the poor people of China, India and Africa. So if competitive private education can work in Beijing, Calcutta and Nairobi, it can work in the United States.

We just need to get around the Blob.

The Recession Hits the Green Movement | World Opinion and Editorial Right Side News

The Recession Hits the Green Movement | World Opinion and Editorial Right Side News.

Do you know what Africa needs most of all? If you answered food or international peacekeepers, then you’re wrong and clearly not cut out to work for the government of a modern country. No what a continent filled with genocide, starving children, female genital mutilation and warring factions needs is help fighting global warming.

carbon-offset-snake-oilEven as Climategate 2.0 emails reveal that there’s less of science and more hot air to the whole thing, global leaders will do their part to cut carbon emissions by flying to South Africa to discuss how to cap global warming, and not in the usual way someone gets capped on the streets of Durban

At stake in Durban is a whole lot of green or red or grey, depending on your country’s color of currency. The 100 billion dollar Green Climate Fund is supposed to be finalized and Kyoto 2.0 is supposed to do something about all those flatulent cows who are dooming the planet. It’s a serious problem, not because there are mobs of polar bears windsurfing on melting glaciers down to Hawaii, but because a whole lot of influential people who got in on the ground floor of Global Warming Scam 1.0 are about to lose their tie dyed shirts.

How bad is it? The UN’s Certificates of Emission Reduction have lost half their value since June. That means if an Occupier brought a CER to resell at a profit to the factory owner down the block, then he just might be out of luck. The Euro flavored EUA variety of carbon indulgences aren’t doing any better. 

“We’ve got a lot of carbon around. It’s been a little bit of a hothouse of supply coming in against very, very moderate demand and that has pushed prices down,” said an analyst for Barclays bank. Or to put it another way, when your hothouse is full of worthless pieces of paper that will only be of value if the world’s developed economies bow their knees to the Goddess of Global Warming which is a tough sell in the middle of a recession, then the temperature is going to keep rising.

Like being a bail bondsman in an anarchist state, it’s hard to make money on certificates that give people permission to build factories, drive to work and exhale when the people are busy exhaling without forking over money to the UN and Al Gore

When all is said and done, and the fat lady sings without first buying a special certificate for the carbon being emitted by her lungs, the “Greens” might go down as the biggest financial scammers in history. But this is one scam where it’s hard to feel sorry for the scammed. Investing in bail bonds in the hopes that a billion people will be forced to go to economic jail is reprehensible. 

Not only did the monotone hypocrites put a price on pollution and then proposed to put the money in their pockets, but they did while wearing their best self-righteous face and flying a private jet even as their victims were bleeding gas money from their wallets. And they’re not done yet. There are always more global warming conferences and proposals to save the planet from the carbon menace.

The UK which under Cameron has slashed its budget to the bone, will dump a billion pounds to help Africa fight global warming. This is a government which prematurely cut up an aircraft carrier before beginning a war in Libya to save money, but it will still be kicking in the cost of a small navy to help a continent full of starving people learn to use “low carbon energy.”

The HMS Invincible, an aircraft carrier that was once the flagship of her majesty’s navy, was sold to a Turkish scrapyard for a few million. Want to buy the HMS Royal Ark, the last functioning carrier in the fleet? Stop by the Ministry of Defence’s auction site and you can put in your own bid. Climate change aid to Africa won’t pay for itself you know. 

How fiscally irresponsible is the Climate Fund? So irresponsible that even Obama won’t fund it. And you know that when a man who tosses around trillions of dollars like they were golf balls flying into a lake isn’t on board with a spending program, then it’s really bad. But to be fair to Obama, he isn’t really opposed to insane senseless bouts of spending by international governmental bodies. He just wants Saudi Arabia to receive more compensation for the shift away from fossil fuels. And more private sector involvement so all the “environmentally conscious” investors who invested in his campaign can also profit from robbing the people blind.

True to form the media is already pushing numerous stories about Africa’s suffering at the hands of the Carbon Devil. 

“Long ago, I could set my calendar with the date the rains started. we have to gamble with the rains. If you plant early you might lose and if you plant late you might win. We are at a loss of what to do,” says a Zimbabwe farmer.

Clearly this is a problem that can only be solved with a 100 billion dollar climate fund. And not at all by addressing the fact that many of Zimbabwe’s “farmers” are just land thieves who don’t actually know how to farm, but did know how to kiss up to the UK’s former friend, Mugabe, who decided to expropriate the land from farmers who did know how to grow crops, but had the misfortune of being the wrong skin color. But we’ll be stepping in to provide aid to the poor farmers victimized by global warming, or possibly their complete lack of farming skill.  

Today, nothing is definite. You get rain in April then our maize rots in the fields. If we are not respecting our spirits and if they are angry, there will be no rain,” the farmer is quoted as saying. And if a 100 billion dollar climate change fund can’t appease the spirits, then I don’t know what will. Back in America and Europe, we’re busy appeasing the spirits of furious carbon by bicycling to work and paying more for groceries. And if that doesn’t appease the spirits, we’re going to spend 100 billion to promote low carbon energy in a place where carbon reduction is usually done with machetes swung at carbon emitting lifeforms. 

But we can afford a 100 billion dollars, just so long as they are Zimbabwean dollars which used to trade at about a trillion ZWF’s to a single American penny. A few years ago you could buy an egg in the land of Mugabe for a mere 50 billion dollars and a quart of beer for a 150 billion dollars. That climate fund would cover about two eggs or two-thirds of a beer, either one is a better investment than solar panels for villages where they will be sold five minutes after they’re installed to buy gas.

At The Guardian, John Vidal harrumphs, “At Durban, the big emitters will no doubt fail us again on climate change.” That’s a pretty convoluted sentence to harrumph, but it leaves no doubt that the big emitters are to blame. Including possibly the sun, which is certainly the biggest emitter for hundreds of millions of kilometers around. 

Vidal admits that “the peer review science (on African climate change) is still sketchy.” From a global warming advocate, this is the equivalent of a compulsive liar admitting that he is prone to the occasional fib. But he insists that it’s “the best there is in a continent starved of research funds”. Clearly there’s no alternative but to toss a 100 billion into the mix and see if we can get any better peer reviewed science from the angry spirits.

At the Independent in Zimbabwe, John Yeld mourns that “A carbon-free world is still a dream”. Now to me a “carbon free” world sounds more like a horrible nightmare that means the end of all life on the planet. But what do I know, unlike Yeld, I haven’t won an award from “South African National Parks” for coverage of the environment and conservation issues. I just happen to think that wishing for a world incapable of supporting life in order to defeat the Carbon Menace might be a bit over the top.

The good news is that a 100 billion dollars won’t be enough to eliminate all carbon or nitrogen or oxygen or even kryptonite from the planet. Not even if it’s a hundred billion American dollars, rather than Zimbabwean dollars. The money isn’t really going to poor farmers looking to appease the angry spirits of C6 or calm the blazing fury of its electrons. It’s going to bribe African leaders with aid in exchange for supporting a global financial scheme for carbon offset credits. Which may be the one thing that can save the Eurozone and the Al Gore Reality Distortion Field.

But the bad news is that if we keep spending money like drunken climate change scientists on a fake problem invented to expand federal power, dole out grant money to people who have their tongues stuck to thermometers and make a whole lot of green, red and grey currency for green investors then the American dollar, not to mention the Euro, will start looking a lot like the Zimbabwean dollar.

While we struggle for a “carbon-free world”, what we’re actually ending up with is a “money-free”, a “car-free” and a “food-free” world.