The Old-School Liberal

“Freedom granted only when it is known beforehand that its effects will be beneficial is not freedom” — Friedrich Hayek

No child left…un-protected?

Posted by Poorsummary on October 30, 2007

Bob Barrto provide students as young as 11 years old with the most invasive types of birth control, including pills, patches and even implants.” Unfortunately, Mr. Barr calls for more federal involvement in education as a solution to this egregious violation of the responsibilities of Portland parents:

“Not a single [presidential] candidate — in either of the two major parties, that is — seems to consider the fundamental questions of what is being taught in our public schools, and how well it is being taught, as sufficiently important to discuss publicly during this campaign.”

Don’t get me wrong. The education of our country’s children is one of the most important responsibilities that parents have, and they can use all the help they can get. The problem is, when the government gets involved, it creates an inefficient monopoly over education in which the providers of education (teachers) are more worried about pleasing distant (though usually well-intentioned) bureaucrats than providing the kind of education that students and parents demand. Teachers’ unions have also taken control of the education of our children, making it unbelievably cumbersome to actually fire an underperforming teacher, or compensate teachers based on…oh…say…their ability to teach. In a free market, purchasers get the type of services that they actually want, not those dictated by some detached, majority-elected bureaucrat. And while consumers don’t always know what’s best for them (case in point: Emu oil hair treatment), they tend to do much less harm choosing for themselves than when the government chooses for them (see The Bridge to Nowhere).

And it’s not because anybody thinks corporations have our best interest in mind, either– they’re out to make money just like anybody else. But when a local restaurant gives me filthy food, or JetBlue gives me shoddy service, I can always eat, and fly, with their competitors. When it comes to bad teaching (or even violations of my family’s privacy), I’m pretty much at the mercy of school officials.

Those wary of a truly free market in education should at least realize that competition among individual schools, districts, and states limits the innovation stifling grip of the government, even if the only way to change public schools is buying a house in a more affluent neighborhood. (Equality police, why must you fight low-income vouchers?) Control of education at a state level lets different states try different approaches, and copy the ones that work the best in other states. That is precisely why “what is being taught in our public schools” should be decided by the parents sending their kids to those schools, not by Hillary, Barack, Rudy, or Mitt. That’s also why, by the way, the word “education” does not appear once in the constitution– not because the founders didn’t think education would be important.

When is the last time your 11-year-old was given birth control pills from her dance instructor? Probably never. And if it did happen, I bet she got dance lessons somewhere else. It seems there are some offenses we only tolerate when they come from the hand of the government.


3 Responses to “No child left…un-protected?”

  1. […] child left…un-protected? oskarlange created an interesting post today on No child leftâ¦un-protected?Here’s a short […]

  2. Hendrick de Man said

    For more information regarding the process through which a public school teacher is fired I must recommend John Stossel’s [i]Myth’s, Lies, and Downright Stupidity.[/i] There is a nice graphic illustrating the difficulty an administrator faces when he or she wishes to remove a poor or troublesome teacher from the system. In fact, it is so difficult, it is often not even attempted even in the face of great incompetence.

  3. bill said


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