The Cartel

A great interview with the director of The Cartel, a documentary on our broken public school systems:

In a similar vein, there’s this story looking into NYC’s school system.

When I rage against the school system and the unions, I’m often misunderstood. I’m not anti-union, per se, and I’m certainly not anti-education. I’m not even anti-government-paying-for-education. I just think the government monopoly on education — and the unholy nepotistic relationship between teachers unions and the Democratic party — are destroying the futures of millions of young children.

The failure of inner city schools, of course, is not “just” a social problem. It’s an economic one as well. We are spending billions of dollars to destroy trillions of dollars in future productivity from a well-educated citizenry. Having seen some of these things first hand, I can tell you that they system is the problem. There’s no question in my mind.

I used to tow to the Democrat line on this — that the solution to our education woes is more money, bigger salaries, smaller classrooms. Granted, that was partially because that line was spoon-fed to me by my own public school teachers.

But the evidence is now overwhelming that the “more money recipe” simply does not work. The turning point for me was an argument made by Walter Williams, which runs approximately so: poor people have decent cars. They’re not Rolls Royces, but they move. Poor people have decent clothes. It’s nor Armani, but it’s wearable. Poor people tend to have livable homes. It’s not suburbia, but it’s a roof and walls. Poor people tend to have decent food. In fact, obesity is higher among the poor than the rich. However, they have terrible educations. As bad as the poor’s choice in clothing, cars, food and housing might be, they’re choice in education is far worse. If they ate, drove and slept like they learn, they would be driving broken cars, living on sewer grates and eating rotten food.

What’s the difference between those things? Education is provided by a monopoly; the rest by the market. We have long decided that having the government actually make people’s food, sew their clothes, build their homes and assemble their cars was a recipe for disaster. So, instead, we give poor people money to acquire those thing from the market, to level the playing field as it were. Education is the exception. And it’s not a shining one.

Prior ranting on this subject here.