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Let's see, so the party whose biggest contributor is the teachers' unions, who have presided over four decades of trapping poor minorities in failed urban schools where it's virtually impossible to fire a teacher no matter how incompetent they are is pro-education, and the party that supports school choice programs, which in the past ten or twenty years has allowed hundreds of thousands of disadvantaged children to escape from some of the worst schools in the country and actually learn something is anti-education? Good to know.



Finland has much stronger teachers' union and pro-union laws than the United States, and pretty much no private schools, and at the same time has been getting stable, good results(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Programme_for_International_Stu...) in international comparison studies.

You will never find a singular change that can turn around your education system and getting rid of the teachers' unions surely is not the magic pill.

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Finland is a wild outlier. The gap between Finland and the rest of the European (+ Euro heritage nations, e.g. Canada, Australia) nations is huge. By comparison, the Euro-like nations below Finland all cluster together.

For unknown reasons, Finland is special. Bringing up Finland is a bit disingenuous.

You could bring up more typical Euro nations, but unfortunately several of them get pretty decent outcomes with privatized school systems (e.g., Sweden).

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That's kind of his point, I think. He's saying private or public isn't the point, whatever you do is going to be more than just one buzzword-thing like "take down unions" or "voucher system".

There isn't just one thing wrong with the US education system, there are countless things. Many of which aren't unique to a public or private environment, just plain old terrible schooling.

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Which is why the charter school "revolutionaries" are absolutely unconvincing to anyone who looks for reform.

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Charter school vouchers are an inflated ideal; what percentage of charter schools provide higher quality (and, in states where the science pedigree of the curriculum is in question, a more truthful) education?

Don't spout rhetoric; provide sources. If my recollections are accurate, more charter schools fail at this than succeed.

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Allowing parents to choose the schools their children attend is inherently superior to forcing them to attend government-run schools. Proof of better outcomes is unnecessary. Sure, some charter/private schools are worse than government-run schools. Parents can easily avoid those.

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Proof of better outcomes is unnecessary.

That sounds anti-science if ever I heard it.

Claiming inherent superiority while denigrating evidence and empirical approaches is cut from the same cloth as religion, and certainly won't convince those of us with higher standards.

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This is a great attitude to make yourself feel better, but it's not terribly productive if you can't produce some science yourself, or if you are, you know, any way inclined towards respecting humans' individual choices. Economists and sociologists, who are much better at science than educators, try to avoid making the mistake of knocking peoples' choices unless they're obviously irrational, because forcing peoples behavior to be a certain way in the name of "science" is an easy way to be disastrously wrong.

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Letting parents choose schools is not any more respective the choice of the individuals most directly affected than having government decide on the school.

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Are you saying children should choose their schools?

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The entire school curriculum will now be reduced to just two separate domain alternatives: Lady Gaga or UFC. I think we're onto something here!

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It depends on what you think "better" means. If you use "better" to mean "fits what I think ought to happen", then it makes sense to test market outcomes against nonmarket outcomes and decide which is better. If you use "better" to mean "what most people prefer", then the market is, in most cases, the best way we have to determine that, and talking about proof of better outcomes is analogous to asking for empirical proof that empiricism is a better way to find truth.

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> Proof of better outcomes is unnecessary

What I think natrius means, is that the burden of proof is on the anti-choice option. Surely the default should be giving parents a choice on which schools their children attend. In other words, we shouldn't need evidence to show giving parents a choice gives better outcomes because the evidence should be provided that taking away parents choice is better. If there is any doubt then give parents a choice.

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> Proof of better outcomes is unnecessary.

That could be the most ridiculous comment I have ever read on HN.

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Except where government run schools are the only option for schools, like somewhere with a fantastic education system.

Like, say, Finland.

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If you're asking for short-term narrowly-defined measurable outcomes, you're asking the wrong question. Everyone knows this when talking about No Child Left Behind, but it goes out the window when we talk about charter schools.

But choice should be the default, and in many places parents overwhelmingly prefer charter schools. Forgive me for thinking maybe they should have that choice.

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>Let's see, so the party whose biggest contributor is the teachers' unions, who have presided over four decades of trapping poor minorities in failed urban schools where it's virtually impossible to fire a teacher no matter how incompetent they are is pro-education, and the party that supports school choice programs, which in the past ten or twenty years has allowed hundreds of thousands of disadvantaged children to escape from some of the worst schools in the country and actually learn something is anti-education? Good to know.

You're kind of just proving my point. I never said the Democrats were unambiguously better for education than the Republicans. There is a uniquely Democrat disease wherein a disproportionally large share of the funds are required to go to "special needs" students where "special needs" includes learning disabilities but doesn't include gifted students. At the same time, I don't care what you think about school choice, the party that wants to stop teaching evolution in biology is inherently anti-education.

But suppose the Republicans got on the right side for both issues: Keep pushing for selection-based outcomes and school choice, and then teach the students how that process actually works in science class. If nothing else it would reduce the amount of cognitive dissonance necessary to become a Republican.

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