Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
How Teachers Came to Be So Underpaid in America (time.com)
44 points by hbcondo714 6 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 91 comments

Bait click heading.

Nationwide, the estimated average public-school teacher’s salary is now $58,950. Not a bad salary I would say, and the salary is 20% lower than similar college degree which is not to bad considering one have more time off than other jobs (summer vacation etc).

Would be more interesting if there was a lack of people wanting to work as teachers but the article didn't say anything about that.

Non-teachers seem to greatly underestimate the time spent by teachers. Growing up, my mother and two of my aunts were teachers. My brother is a teacher now. They routinely spend upwards of 80 hours a week teaching, grading papers, preparing lesson plans, and contacting parents. They also have to spend time before and after school and at lunch monitoring students (making sure they don't run into the road, keep arguments from breaking out into fights, etc.)

Teaching is not a 9 to 5 job with 12 weeks of vacation a year.

The median salary in San Francisco is about $70k per year. How many developers would accept that as a salary in SF these days? Yet you would still claim that teachers get paid well.

How many would accept median pay anywhere? 70k in the Research Triangle in NC is probably unimpressive. $70k in the DC area is piddly, and good devs and IT folks, esp. those with clearances and decent chops, are making easily $120k+. I'd image the same holds true for NYC and Boston.

>How many would accept median pay anywhere?

(Runs a few calculations on a napkin ...) Exactly half.

You’re using one normalized stat to come to a conclusion of “not bad”?

Many teachers get $0 or a pittance for supplies and have to spend from their own salary so other people’s kids to have access to learning activities and materials.

They’re spending their days dealing with a room full of emotionally selfish brats. You think they grade all that homework from 8-3? Nope. Many spend dozens of hours working outside the classroom.

Meanwhile, I’ve worked with dozens of coders who contribute jack squat, but earn &100k+.

Coders who often could be replaced with a few git clone ops and a Squarespace front end if companies weren’t obsessed with re-inventing the wheel, or over fetishing their web ui which really just follows one of 6 common looks.

Quite simply our economics around who gets paid are effed.

There are few tech folks that couldn’t be replaced by thousands of other workers who are just as capable at churning out CRUD app after CRUD app

Smart and capable people that might be interested in teaching the next generation if the pay didn’t suck given the expectations put on them

> have to spend from their own salary so other people’s kids to have access to learning activities and materials.

I can not describe in words how much I hate this utter false narrative.

Stop giving money for this bullshit and it instantly stops within 24 months. Period.

It only continues because of wording like "have to" in these sort of posts. No, they don't have no. If they didn't, schools would pick up the insanely trivial cost of these items. This is not a source of school funding issues. 99% of parents can figure out where to get an extra $50 over the course of a school year if they care even a tiny little bit.

The 80/20 rule you describe holds true almost everywhere in life. 20% of the people on the planet do 80% of the work, that's how it always has been and always will be. Unfortunately compensation will never properly align.

> Smart and capable people that might be interested in teaching the next generation if the pay didn’t suc

This has almost nothing to do with the pay, and everything to do with how shitty the job is. I'd educate smart motivated kids with parents who would kick their ass at home for a very marginal salary - it's fulfilling and interesting. Public school in the US as it's practiced today? I'm not sure you could offer me enough money to do such a thing. I'd rather retire today than take such a job at 4x my current pay.

Perhaps solve that last paragraph of mine and we could actually fix education in this country.

Edit: tldr; we agree for the most part but I'm much more militant in nature :)

The summer-off argument has been used in many countries and since I know some teachers now it is a pretty shitty argument as most of the 'summer vacation' is filled with learning (required), creating next years curriculum due to changes in the requirements and helping the less-well-off children get through. On average they do get a bit more off-time in the summer, but also work considerable longer hours per day and nights (speaking to parents, yay!) than most office workers.

Quotes from OA

"...shortening school weeks and enacting emergency certification for people who aren’t trained as educators."


"This year in Oklahoma, a record number of teachers were given emergency teaching certifications, despite no traditional training."


"The pipeline, meanwhile, is drying up. Between 2008 and 2016, the number of new educators completing preparatory programs fell by 23%, according to the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. And once ­teachers make it to the classroom, attrition is high: at least 17% leave the profession within the first five years, a 2015 study found."

UK metrics: the government tends to plan on a 9% per year replacement rate for most public sector jobs. We have around half a million teachers in England and Wales, so that is 45,000 extra newly qualified teachers each year. Not sure what the numbers are like in the various states in the US. Remember that employing a cohort of teachers with a lower qualification level is going to give you a support and in-service training need that lasts for 20, 25 years or so.

Mind you, 17% leaving in first five years is actually pretty good. Much higher in UK. Could be the fact that the occupation is more accessible to people with children keeping people in as alluded to early in the article.

Time off: the summer holiday isn't pure holiday as such, and a lot of what you do as a teacher happens outside the classroom. Being able to decide when I do the extra work is nice, but the work still has to get done.

$59,000 is only a good salary in comparison to how terribly most jobs pay in America. Many junior devs fresh out of college make more than that, and I sure as heck would not trust my junior devs with the responsibility for my children.

I know a bunch of people will jump in here and lecture about supply and demand, but the fact is the American economy is weirdly bimodal where essential services (public education, bridge repair, public transit) are cut to the bone, while you pay an exorbitant fortune to people doing nonsense jobs targeting ads or moving numbers around in Excel.

If you assume they work only 8 months of the year due to holidays, pro-rata that would be $88,425.

If you assume they work only 8 month of the year, then you probably don't know too many teachers.

The work for an math or physical education teacher is a lot less than for an English teacher. Grading long essays take a lot of time. Grammar School is also less time demanding than high school for time used to prepare and grading papers.

Can't speak for physical education, but I've taught basic maths to adults for a long time, and I work with English teachers and ESOL teachers.

A key concept in teaching is what we call 'differentiation', the idea that different students will need a different approach. A good model for HN people here would be (say) a computer game. If a game is too easy, you get bored. If the game is impossibly challenging, you give up. A well designed game that develops you has to be pitched at the right level for you. Individually.

English differentiates by student response to a common task.

Maths differentiates by topic.

So, the English teacher can (for example) set a title for a piece of writing and the whole class can work on that for say half an hour, and each person can feel that they have done their best. The teacher has to mark the pieces and that is where the differentiation comes in: one student might have shown really good progress by producing sentences organised into paragraphs, another student might have explored a metaphor and developed a simile, but might have been 'phoning it in' compared to their previous performance. Marking a class set of work and providing feedback to each student is where the time goes.

In my maths class, some students just need different work to other students. Some students will finish a lot quicker than other students. So my work is more on identifying and producing resources, skill development exercises and enrichment activities than the marking. Mind you, the marking still takes time. As a concrete example, how long do you think it would take to mark a worksheet like [1]?

[1] http://www.maths91.uk/files/week10-algebra02.pdf

What do they do in the 3-4 months off each year? They're not attending their schools.

No teacher in the US is off for 3-4 months (summer break in the US is only ~10 weeks to begin with). During summer breaks teachers take classes, renew certifications, prepare lesson plans, tutor, return early to setup classrooms and otherwise prep for the upcoming school year. During the school year, teachers work before and after the students arrive, meet with parents/school officials and get things ready for the day. They also as work weekends grading papers/projects/etc and otherwise organize the upcoming week ahead. Hours can be long and arduous during the year and the amount of actual vacation time available to be off is equivalent to a typical office worker (3-4 weeks at best). Source: in-laws/wife are all teachers.

As I understand it from teachers, creating lesson plans is something you typically do infrequently - certainly less than yearly. Absent major curriculum changes you can re-use your lesson plans for years.

The coming in early and working late, as well as the occasional weekend is something that a lot of other professional jobs do as well, without a ten week summer break.

Useless anecdote incoming, but after always reading the many hastily posted defenses posted after anyone claims that teachers get to take summer off, I asked a friend who started teaching a few years ago. He said that you do indeed get most of the summer off. Few conferences you might have to attend, some teachers take second jobs, etc. Granted, he's a really smart guy and probably has less difficulty than others making lesson plans, but seems like a good gig if you have decent time management skills and enjoy the privilege of teaching the next generation.

I'm sure it depends heavily on the district, but the "teachers are the hardest workers!" tagline always seemed like an easy story to tell to (justifiably) ask for wage increases.

"gasp They have to grade homework at home!". Well, yeah, I have to take office work home as well as the United States has no labor laws preventing that.

> As I understand it from teachers, creating lesson plans is something you typically do infrequently - certainly less than yearly. Absent major curriculum changes you can re-use your lesson plans for years.

Lesson plans change frequently and aside from some macro-level planning, re-use is quite difficult from year-to-year. Some children also have individualized lesson plans that require more attention.

> The coming in early and working late, as well as the occasional weekend is something that a lot of other professional jobs do as well, without a ten week summer break.

Again, they are not off the entire ten weeks. They have work obligations to fulfill during the summer. Furthermore, during the school year, teachers work just about every weekend and not 'the occasional weekend'.

They work at home on non-contact tasks including planning coherent sequences of lessons, and 'differentiating' the approach within each lesson for lower quartile, median and upper quartile students. There may also be discrete special learning needs (e.g a deaf student who communicates exclusively by sign language and who will have an interpreter and a note taker present, a student with Asperger's, a student with type 1 diabetes and significant eyesight impairment, a student with pronounced dyslexia).

Within the planning process, you often have to allow for significant changes in the syllabus content and mode of assessment.

There is usually staff training provided by school management, and career progression in teaching is linked to taking on extra responsibility.

Now, a very interesting question is why do we have the long summer holidays still? Lets face it, a very small proportion of the population work on farms these days. Changing that would have to be a big bang change of course. The whole system would need to move over to a new school year in one go, which is probably why no government has done it yet.

I'm also, looking back on a 30 year career, beginning to wonder if a more 'industrial' approach to curriculum design might be useful. Why not simply devise a national curriculum and produce standardised lesson plans and schemes to go with it? In the UK we have the national curriculum bit but teachers are still scrabbling around for resources and activities.

> I'm also, looking back on a 30 year career, beginning to wonder if a more 'industrial' approach to curriculum design might be useful. Why not simply devise a national curriculum and produce standardised lesson plans and schemes to go with it?

That's what we do in France. In most cases, it works rather well.

The main problem is that it means that every change has to be synchronized nation-wide, which is time and resource consuming. Also, since it's national, it can quickly become a national cause, both for the government (who sometimes decide to change the curriculum for purely political reasons) and for some parts the opposition (« No, that's not how you do Sex Ed! », or such).

Also, we're not too good at handling edge cases (e.g. students with special needs, gifted students, students in places where most parents don't speak French).

Interesting, I'm wondering if the standardised lesson plans and schemes are available on a Web site somewhere, and so I'm googling with my schoolboy French right now.

Are your teachers noticeably less busy by the way?

Can't even fathom how many MSc educated people in the sciences would never, ever consider teaching due that laughable pay (even worse when converted to hourly) when compared even to the lowest-paying industry jobs. That's not how you educate a society for the 22nd century.

To catch up with what is common in Western Europe, the pay needs to at least double to 80k USD and more for teachers of upper secondary classes.

>To catch up with what is common in Western Europe, the pay needs to at least double to 80k USD and more for teachers of upper secondary classes.

What do you mean by this? It seems that the USA pays very similar to what Western Europe pays their teachers (ignoring outliers)? https://www.businessinsider.com/teacher-salaries-by-country-...

Direct comparison isn't very useful. Teacher salaries in Germany seem to be just above the US when just reading the chart, but in reality it's higher than e.g. most software developers make in Germany. Thus, gets you a lot further than in the US. You should rather compare teacher salaries to local engineer salaries, as the education is similar (assuming Master's is required).

Yet almost all public schools, and union rules, fail to account for the market value of their specialities and pay the same amount for all subjects. Therefore while there is often an excess of people with degrees that have lower market value, there are shortages in advanced math, science, and foreign language.

I guess this is what happen when a country spends ~8 times more in its military than in educating its people. ($574bn vs $68bn).

Edit: as noted by a comment bellow, this is only the budget at the Federal Level


For education expenditure, US spends about $1.1T, of which only $0.11T comes from federal gov't and $1T from state/local gov't in FY2018. It's pretty much ALWAYS been the case that local/state gov't's pay for education expenses (often tied to property taxes).

The national defense budget for FY2018 is $0.87T and comes out of the federal budget only. Comparing the two at federal level makes no sense.

note: https://www.usgovernmentspending.com/year_spending_2018USrn_...

You're indeed right.

But the fact that the US Federal government always find money to feed its military while cutting the other departments [1] (including education) doesn't change the underlying fact that Education has a lesser priority than the Military in Washington DC.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2018_United_States_federal_bud...

This is a common response and fundamentally misunderstands the legal, jurisdictional and functional roles of the Federal, State and Municipal governments. "Federalism" is a foundational tenet of the United States Constitution and system of organization so it's important to understand in depth:


If your argument is that education should be a constitutional right, and thus funded by the federal government, then that's a different argument than simply "finding the money." Is that the argument you're making?

My argument was that cutting funds for education (even if I understand that it's a state-level prerogative to handle education) while raising funds for the army is a bad signal.

Where is your proof that the gov't is taking money away from education to fund the national defense? The US spending per pupil is second highest according OECD study (see https://data.oecd.org/eduresource/education-spending.htm), after a wealth city-state Luxembourg whose GDP per capita is $110K.

Countries like Finland, South Korea which routinely rank top in various international tests and studies spend far less and achieve much better results than the US, so the problem here isn't just about funding.

The Federal government has a constitutional obligation to defend the country. Education is not in the constitution and has always been chiefly a state and local burden.

Unfortunately the U.S Army is not just about "defend the country". The United States spends more on national defense than China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, India, France, United Kingdom, and Japan combined. I believe a great part of those funds would be better spent elsewhere.

Source on the 68bn number? That sounds comically low.

A quick googling says there's 50.7 million public school kids in the country, you're saying we only spend ~$1,300 per kid? Yeah, that's clearly wrong, you're either making that number up or are quoting the wrong number. And that's not even taking into account any university or adult education spending.

Source on the $68 billion number is probably Wikipedia:

The Department of Education is administered by the United States Secretary of Education. It has under 4,000 employees (2018)[1] and an annual budget of $68 billion (2016).¹

More info at the Education Departments website.²

I don't think that's the right number though? That's just what the Education Department spends each year administering education? The FY 2019 Education Budget Fact Sheet² goes on to say:

"The Budget supports $129.8 billion in new postsecondary grants, loans, and work-study assistance to help an estimated 11.5 million students and their families pay for college

So there's clearly more funds being directed to education than just the $68B.

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Department_of_Ed...

2. https://www2.ed.gov/about/overview/budget/budget19/index.htm...

Most public schools are primarily supported by local taxes, supplemented by state and federal.

I stand corrected. It's overall a fairly even split between federal and state. Higher income localities will have a larger ratio come from local property taxes, generally. Poorer neighborhoods rely more on share funding.

Right, that's just the feds, it doesn't include state and local spending (which I believe represent the majority of school funds).

The US spent ~$575bn in 2014-2015 in expenditures for public elementary and secondary education [0]

Additionally, the US spends more than almost all OECD countries [1]

Please don't spread misinformation.

[0] https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d17/tables/dt17_236.10.a...

[1] https://data.oecd.org/eduresource/education-spending.htm

The military is, for many, vocational training, even though you may disagree with its outcomes (I certainly do).

I do not know the numbers but dare to say with great certainty that regular vocational training is orders of magnitude more efficient and thus lower in cost than the military.

The vocational training argument is used quite a bit by military recruiters, but the reality is little of that training is valued on the job market, with a few exceptions. There are companies that do have veteran hiring preferences, but these are often social and economic justice efforts and do not take into account any actual skills.

"“I can’t tell you how many letters I got this summer that said final notice.” Cooke, who makes about $69,000, often skips doctor’s appointments to save the co-pay and worries about paying for her eldest daughter’s college education."

(a bit up it says she's in Raleigh, N.C.)

Not to question this woman's problems, but can someone shed some light on what the situation there is that would make a salary like that 'low income'? The median house price is 234k according to Zillow, so I would imagine rent being; what; 700 to 1000? I want to feel for these people, and I'm not claiming they are making things up; but when I see articles like this, they usually have examples that make me scratch my head a bit.

She's a single mother of two. The article doesn't say how old her children are, but if they're young enough to need child care before and after school (they may go to different schools that start at different times than Cooke, and she has work to do before and after school starts) that will add up very quickly. You also don't know anything about how much money she had to borrow to afford getting her degree (or degrees if she has a Master's). So yeah, $69k can be a low amount of money, even in places like Raleigh with lower costs of living compared to New York or SF.

Daughters are teenagers, there's a pic in the article.

If her predicament is because of student loans she had to take out to get this job, then the problem is really 'degrees are too expensive', and not 'teachers don't make enough', right? Or are excessive (relative to income) student loans an especially big problem for teachers?

The median household income in Raleigh is 55k (first Google hit). She's making almost 20% more than that. Sure, she may have a bunch of expenses that others don't, but is the story then that teachers make too little, or is the story that some people have high student loan repayments, or pay a lot in alimony, or have to help out family, or have debts from previous bad marriages or whatever?

My point is: if I was a PR guy, trying to gain public support for the idea that teachers are underpaid, I wouldn't show off someone who makes 20% more than the median household income on her own. If you're looking to make a point, you find some good examples of the problem you're illustrating; not even necessarily the worst cases, but surely not someone who raises questions for even a sympathetic reader like myself. So then I wonder in this case, what else is there 'hidden' in this story we're not being told but that would change the narrative substantially?

Yes, that jumped out at me too.

For whatever reason, $69K may not be a livable wage for her and her family. But most people in Raleigh would think, on the face of it, that she's making good money.

But this is an article in Time, not a PR piece. Maybe the author has an agenda, or maybe they're playing it straight. Whatever, maybe Ms. Cooke should have declined the interview.

If she has expensive student loans and she knew she was going to be a teacher, that may be her fault. She could go have gone to a cheap state school.

You are describing a series of choices that have noting to do with the cost of hiring someone to do her job.

Compensation is set based on scarcity, replacement cost AND the value of the work performed. For public sector positions, it is impossible to quantify the value so we fall back on the other two.

Whether or not someone had a bunch of kids or bought a too expensive car doesn’t enter into whether their pay is fair.

> that will add up very quickly

Indeed, if both of her children are in daycare programs the costs can easily exceed the amount she pays for her rent or mortgage.

Would be nice if a teacher's family gets free education.

This reminds me of the fictional character of Walter White in Breaking Bad.

Best advice I can offer in such cases - leave the country. Try your luck elsewhere. Teach internationally. Get paid premium.

Leaving permanently doesn't solve the underpayment problem. Striking and collective bargaining often does. It sucks but it's vital.

As a teacher? In the US? Good luck with that. At least it might solve the personal problem of working off your behind just so you get something to eat.

The profession of a teacher/mentor was once one of the most respected professions that had ever existed. Now look at what is happening to education in the US. Teachers are underpaid, curricula cut and trimmed to the minimum, tuitions in private schools worth a fortune. Public schooling is in danger. How to survive that as a public school teacher? Go on strike? LOL

Can you be a little more specific? Before suggesting someone else uproot their life and family to find a better life elsewhere, where exactly do you suggest they go, and how will it help them? It's vastly understating it to say this is easier said than done.

For the record, I think that thought experiment could illustrate that teachers in America don't have it so bad.

My stepsister and her husband are on benefits in order to make ends meet because teaching special ed in America, by the signal of pay, isn't valued enough for livable recompensation.

John Stossel did a section on highly paid teachers in South Korea : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TxMPfY_YDsE

Some numbers : http://ncee.org/what-we-do/center-on-international-education...

yeah I'm not sure "celebrity teachers" is a great model either

One political factor in the US is the belief, which I have heard expressed out loud any number of times, is that if you are good you then become an entrepeneur. So if you are instead a teacher then you must not have real skills, and should not get real pay.

(Not my attitude, very much not, but the reality that there are many who think that way needs to be noted.)

The whole “become an entrepreneur” is mostly a Silicon Valley bubble thing.

In the rest of the US, most people aren’t expected to start a business, they are expected to go to college and get a job.

I have many times heard people say, for example at events for a ham radio club I belong to, that if you are a teacher then it is because you couldn't, or wouldn't, make it in "the real world."

Pointing out that teachers are highly-trained professionals who are often quite skilled, and who are an important part of what it takes to make a better future, in my experience just does not register very much.

There is a huge difference between “not making it in the real world” and “starting your own business”. Not that I agree with the first sentiment either.

10 years ago it was working 2 jobs (Breaking Bad Season 1 reference).

If people know they’re going to be underpaid, why do they pursue that career path? No one becomes a teacher by accident.

Let’s have a shortage of teachers so that they’re forced to raise wages.

Having a long period of too few teachers could lead to large class sizes and a reduction in education quality. Those that could afford it would switch to private schools and we could end up in a feedback loop of reducing funding, worsening education and less support for public education.

Some would argue that's already happening

Believe it or not, some people see educating the next generation as a worthwhile endeavor despite the crummy pay.

(Son of two teachers)

If people know they’re going to be underpaid, why do they pursue that career path?

Why do people choose their job based on something other than money? To ask that is to answer it. (Hopefully)

Why do they complain if they knew beforehand and decided it doesn't bother them?

If you like 80% of your chosen career and wish to improve 20%, does it not make sense to speak out about the 20%?

Else, how would we ever improve working conditions anywhere? I don't think that is going to happen externally.

What would you do?

If I decided that low pay doesn't bother me, I definitely wouldn't complain. My choices are entirely in my hands. Additionally, I could (and I actually do, btw) teach privately for a much better pay, scrapping any reason to complain.

There are benefits to being a teacher as far as work life balance. Your schedule is the same as your kids schedule as far as holidays, and summer breaks. Teaching is especially good if you are a dual income couple.

It won’t force them to raise wages. What a lot of cities are doing are getting teachers from overseas.

>Let’s have a shortage of teachers so that they’re forced to raise wages.

In the absence of a strong union presence keeping political leaders in check the shortage is likely to simply lead to larger class sizes, more stressed out teachers and the use of privatization to "solve" the associated problems.

> Let’s have a shortage of teachers so that they’re forced to raise wages.

or you will get incompetent teachers

Is there a country in the world where are the teachers paid well? I don't know of any. I suspect if there is a reason, it has nothing to do with America per se.

In Germany they are paid quite well. At least older, married ones with children as those things give you bonuses. A relative of me had ~4k€ net (after taxes and healthcare) which puts you in the top 15% income earners according to a quick Google search. Not bad for teaching in some random school somewhere in the countryside. Unfortunately most German states are currently trying to lower the wages.

The family bonus is a little fascinating. I imagine something like that would be met with outrage if implemented here in the states. It certainly does make sense though, as teachers with children are likely to have more experience with caring for children as well as greater need.

Switzerland. According to a young fellow I met who was planning on becoming a teacher his starting salary was going to be 120k CHF.

Mind you living expenses are high there but that's probably still quite a decent figure.


My sister was a Jr. High School teacher in South Korea. I was quite surprised how much she was earning as a teacher and, after her retirement years ago, she is collecting now (it's only 10%-20% less than the US average which seems to support the OECD data).

Private schools in Czechia pay their teachers very well. They're also considerably better than the ones at public schools, but a public school can't possibly afford them - I mean in general, there is not enough tax money.

What about teachers working in outrageous expensive private schools, are they underpaid too?

It's truly a calling. My son is a junior in college, studying to become an elementary school teacher. I've talked to him several times about likely future earning prospects, he's well aware.

I have the highest admiration for true teachers.


Over here (UK) we don't see it as socialism, we just see it as good management. The consensus that we needed a national health service came after WW1 when it was found that a large section of the conscription age work force were not fit for service and were too sickly to work effectively in factories. Improving health provision became a national security issue. Also government services don't have to be costly and ineffectual. Just compare US health provision with pretty much any western European health system, inflated legal and insurance costs are crippling the US health system. I don't speak as a socialist. I'm a lifelong conservative voter. An efficient labour force that's fit for purpose needs to be healthy and well educated.

UK geezer again: and reading about various things in the US, I've realised what a drag on business health benefits are. In UK, you just don't need to think about that.

Corporate health benefits in the US are a racket. They are not subject to tax, while personal private health insurance is taxed. So it's basically a huge corporate subsidy, while small companies and private individuals get shafted.

It's really weird. Here in the UK I'm distinctly right of centre, but in US terms I'm a proper leftie. I don't see it as socialism though, it's just pragmatism. Certain ways of doing things, like centralising and consolidating some service provision, just provably and demonstrably from considerable practical experience in many countries over a long period of time works better that way. For other things, most things actually, markets, capitalism and private enterprise work best.


I don't see any change in the consensus view on education and health care in this country, as a result of immigration or even at all. The political divisions on how these services should be operated and funded have always been there, but there is no appetite to de-socialise either.

"The same thing happens over and over in every country that adopts socialism in any form" – do you have any basis for this statement at all? Globally this pretty obviously seems to not be the case.

Globally, pretty obviously seems to be absolutely the case. With few exceptions which you can count on the fingers of (let's give you the benefit of the doubt) two hands.

Even the exceptions are degrading rapidly, as I live in one of them.

Is that a "no"?

You made a clear, unambiguous statement. In reality, the healthcare, education, and transport systems of many European countries are fully or partially publicly controlled, and rank highly for many indicators. This seems to directly contradict your statement.

Do you know the meaning of the word "globally"? It seems like you don't. Globally means "the whole world". You take the countries of the whole world where the government provides "free education" (or more precisely - involuntary indoctrination), which is all of them. Count the countries where it's total shit, count the countries where it's "ok" and also count the countries where it's great. Then you'll see that 80-90% is shit and maybe 2-3 is great. My definition for great is to have obsoleted private schools. Yeah, that's probably Finland and maybe, just maybe Switzerland.

And yeah, you can still lay on your laurels of 5-10 European countries that actually do still provide "ok" education for free, but it's deteriorating so rapidly, that it'll be worse than what we had in Eastern Europe in the 80ies and 90ies in a few years.

Edit: And BTW, the same counts for the other pillars of "socialism" - healthcare, public transportation etc. Show me the countries where government services have obsoleted private healthcare, private cars etc. And no, don't show me countries where they have forbidden them (like Denmark basically forbids private cars) and you'll see that indeed, there is no place on Earth where socialism works.

Like I thought, you it does seem that you actually don't have have any interesting data to back up your statement so I guess we can draw a line under that discussion.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact