Tag Archives: Choice and Competition

NJ Gov. Christie smacks down reporter who accuses him of being “confrontational”

This is a must-see I found at Hot Air.

He’s not my favorite Republican, but that is pretty funny.

And he supports school choice

Although New Jersey is dominated by teacher unions, the Republicans passed a school choice bill.

Excerpt:

A Senate committee approved legislation today creating scholarships for students to attend private schools during a raucous hearing held in front of the Statehouse Annex building.

Hundreds of demonstrators, mostly students from private and charter schools, gathered to rally for the bill. Supporters said it provides students a chance to leave failing public schools, while opponents said it undermines the public school system.

The bill (S1872) could fund $24 million in scholarships for up to 4,000 children the first year. After five years, up to 20,000 children would receive $120 million in scholarships, they said. More money would be set aside for grants to public schools. The funding would come from donations by corporations who would receive tax credits equal to their contributions.

[…]A similar bill has previously failed to gain traction in recent years. Now it has bipartisan backing in the Senate — it’s spearheaded by Lesniak and Sen. Tom Kean Jr. (R-Union) — and Gov. Chris Christie’s support.

[…]African-American churches, led by Black Ministers Council Executive Director Rev. Reginald Jackson, held a press conference earlier this morning to support the legislation. He said people need to decide whether to support school institutions or the children.

“Why do we insist on supporting a failing system?” he said. “When are we going to decide our children are more important.”

The only people who don’t like school choice are unionized teachers who don’t want their customers (parents and children) to have a choice to fire them if they don’t perform. Would you like it if you could only buy one kind of shoe? Or one kind of gaming console? Then why do you put up with government-run monopolies when it comes to your children’s education? Let teachers who are good be paid more, and let teachers who are bad be paid less. That’s just common sense.

Must-see videos on education policy

Related posts

Superintendent Michelle Rhee’s fight against the Washington, D.C. teacher unions

I’ve always believed that the best way to learn about a topic is by understanding the topic as a fight between two opposing teams. And that’s how we’re going to learn about the Washington D.C. school system in this balanced post at the libertarian magazine Reason.(Not the usual conservative stuff I post 100% of the time)

Here’s the situation:

D.C. is a divided town. In the heart of the capital, the federal government hums along, churning out paperwork and disillusioned interns at a steady clip. But the rest of the city is in pretty miserable shape. The District of Columbia Public Schools rank below all 50 states in national math and reading tests, squatting at the bottom of the list for years at a time. More than 40 percent of D.C. students drop out altogether. Only 9 percent of the District’s high schoolers will finish college within five years of graduation. And all this failure doesn’t come cheap: The city spends $14,699 per pupil, more than all but two states and about $5,000 more than the national average. Yet as unlikely as it seems, D.C. may prove to be the last best hope for school reform in the United States.

But then, a reform-minded superintendent named Michelle Rhee appeared:

In July 2008, Rhee revealed her opening gambit with the teachers union: She offered the teachers a whole lot of money. Under her proposal, educators would have two choices. With the first option, teachers would get a $10,000 bonus—a bribe, really—and a 20 percent raise. Nothing else would change. Benefits, rights, and privileges would remain as they were. Under the second option, teachers would receive a $10,000 bonus, a 45 percent increase in base salary, and the possibility of total earnings up to $131,000 a year through bonuses tied to student performance. In exchange, they would have to forfeit their tenure protections.

But the teachers said no to her offer:

Teachers simply don’t believe that it should be possible for them to be fired—not by a principal, not by a superintendent, not by anyone. Unions and other opponents of the reformers prefer to stick with warmed-over solutions that have been failing for decades: smaller class sizes, more teacher pay, and more job security.

Then Rhee tried to tie teacher license renewals to performance, but the unions said no:

In 2008, after Rhee’s office released a statement about tying teacher licensing to student outcomes, the Washington Teachers Union (the dominant local union) sent an email message to its members stating, “This proposed regulation would not benefit DCPS teachers, as a teacher’s true effectiveness should not be linked to a teacher’s right to renew his or her license.” The message went on to explain that it was “dangerous and discriminatory” to “require a candidate to demonstrate effectiveness to continue teaching in a District of Columbia Public School.”

Children benefit when parents can get a voucher so the parents can choose a better school, and especially when they can choose charter schools or even private schools or even homeschooling – anything is better than public schools. But the unions don’t want parents to be able to use a voucher to choose a competitor. Unions want children to remain in failing schools so that the union members will not loose their jobs.

The article continues:

In pre-Rhee D.C. the single glimmer of hope for many families was the D.C. Opportunity Scholarships Program. Funded by a separate congressional appropriation of $14 million, it offered vouchers to kids in failing schools, allowing them to attend private school instead of their assigned public school. The program took no money from the city budget and was hugely popular with parents and kids; since 2004 more than 7,200 students had applied for a limited number of slots. Last year 1,700 kids were accepted. Next year there will be none. On the campaign trail, Barack Obama had promised to let scientific results determine his education policy. In office, however, he let political influence kill the program even as initial studies were showing positive gains by students and high parental satisfaction. The National Education Association, which is consistently one of the biggest single donors to U.S. political campaigns, pressured the Democratic Congress to eliminate funding for vouchers in 2009. Obama promptly signed the death sentence into law.

The fight over vouchers and charter schools—both of which serve as workarounds to the ossified hiring/firing rules of public schools—is playing out all around the country, with teachers unions usually coming out on the winning side.

[…]Teachers unions contribute more than $60 million a year to political campaigns, topping contributor lists at the state and federal levels, and nearly all of the money goes to Democrats. That investment buys the continuation of the status quo plus some platitudes about class size and teacher pay from every prominent Democrat. Reformers have virtually no presence on Capitol Hill.

On the one side, there is the courageous, no-nonsense superintendent Michelle Rhee, parents and children. And on the other side, there is the Washington D.C. education bureaucracy, teacher unions and the Democrat party. The unions are winning. Do parents care to understand what is stopping their own children from succeeding?

The shocking thing in all of this is that Rhee is a Democrat, and hardly a conservative. She’s no hero of mine, but at least we share the same enemies on this issue.

Must-see videos on education policy

Related posts

John Stossel’s documentary about public schools and school choice

Awesome: (41 minutes)

The documentary features Jay Greene, and his book “Education Myths”, which I recommend.

Here’s an article from Jay P. Greene in National Review.

Excerpt:

This year, when you hear President Obama and congressional Democrats talk about increasing government spending to create jobs, you should understand that it isn’t really about jobs. It’s about paying off powerful interest groups that helped these Democrats gain power — a fact that’s clear from the billions they’ve directed to education.

Last month, President Obama held a jobs summit, after which he urged Congress to spend some of the money being repaid by bailed-out banks on programs to address unemployment. The House of Representatives responded by drafting legislation that, according to the Washington Post, “provides $23 billion to help states pay teacher salaries.” The curious thing is that education has actually seen an expansion in payrolls over the last two years, while every other major sector of the economy (save health care) has seen huge job losses.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of people employed peaked in November 2007. Over the next two years, the private sector lost more than 7 million jobs. The construction industry lost more than 1.5 million jobs. Manufacturing lost more than 2 million jobs. The education-and-health-services category, however, added more than 900,000 jobs.

My previous post on education featured a video on school choice from the Cato Institute.

MUST-SEE: Cato Institute lady explains why competition is better than monopoly

Look at this fun video of a young lady from the libertarian Cato Institute explaining why choice and competition are better for consumers than monopolies! (H/T Hot Air)

She is especially interested in education and has lots of wonderful statistics.

It’s only 5 minutes long! This woman (Izzy Santa) is way better than Dan Mitchell! His videos were horrible compared to this one. I can actually understand what this lady is saying, and she makes fun gestures when she talks. She says “rotten”! The charts are really helpful, too. This is probably the best thing you could ever watch to learn a little bit about why I find economics so interesting. This is really something that all women should know a lot about to help them to be excellent wives and mothers.

You might want to send this post to your friends and family who may think that the best thing for education is to give public schools more money. It may be that the best way to get better public schools for less money is to make them compete with private, parochial and charter schools.

Moral hazard and the recession

Here’s another video on moral hazards, which explains how we got the recession:

This one is only 4 minutes long. I don’t think it’s quite as good as the first one. The lady who is presenting is from the Independent Women’s Forum. I love that think tank! They have Carrie Lukas on staff. She is the author of “The Politically Incorrect Guide to Women, Sex and Feminism”.

Supreme Court sides with Conservative Party against price-fixing monopoly

Prime Minister Stephen Harper

Story here from the Vancouver Sun. (H/T Andrew)

Excerpt:

The Canadian Wheat Board cannot spend money on advocacy to protect its monopoly, following a Supreme Court of Canada decision Thursday against hearing an appeal from the Winnipeg-based agency, which asserts that it has been silenced by the Conservative government.

Without giving reasons, the high court declined the appeal application to a Federal Court of Appeal ruling that sided with the federal government in its 2006 order from then-agriculture minister Chuck Strahl for the board to refrain from spending its money on lobbying.

[…]The federal Conservatives are seeking to end the board’s monopoly, which is controlled by farmers. The monopoly makes the agency one of the world’s biggest exporters of wheat and barley.

The board maintains that the monopoly ensures farmers receive the best prices for their grain, but the federal government, along with some farmers, say that they would be better off in a free market, selling their products on their own.

Conservatives are for a free market and competition, because we believe that it is the best way for consumers to get a low price and high quality. The proper role of government is to ensure that no organization or business enjoys monopoly status due to the government insulating them from competition. The Canadian Wheat Board is just one option, but farmers should have other choices to sell their product.

Capitalism is opposed to monopolies and it is the proper role of government to make sure that no government policy is set up to favor one corporation over any competitor. Let the farmers choose what is best for them. Choice and competition.