Saturday, August 30, 2008

Connecticut Faces a School Tax Revolt

Seventeen years ago Connecticut did not have an income tax, today they do. The promise was it would lower property taxes, sound familiar? The educrats, Democrats and state unions in New Hampshire are pushing for an income tax, the only people who will benefit from an income tax are those who are pushing an income tax. The taxeaters' pocketbooks will fatten while the taxpaying schmucks who do not live off of taxpayer dollars will shrink. An income tax in New Hampshire will make the taxeaters wealthy and give them more political clot to lobby for even more taxpayer dollars.


The following story appeared in the Wall Street Journal.

Connecticut Faces a School Tax Revolt
August 23, 2008; Page A9
On June 30, the board of education and the town council in Enfield, Conn., convened to hear the results of a citizen cost-cutting committee. Among its other recommendations, the 17 residents recommended replacing some public school teachers with low-cost college interns, restricting the use of school vehicles, and increasing employee contributions to benefit plans.

These may seem modest steps toward fiscal responsibility -- but they are emblematic of a significant change in this very blue state: growing disenchantment with the price of government, especially of public education.

Over the past two and a half decades, the student population in Connecticut has increased only 10%. Yet the cost of schooling more than doubled -- to $8.8 billion in 2006, up from $3.4 billion in 1981. Seventeen years ago, the state enacted an income tax with promises to cut other taxes. Instead, real-estate assessments soared, creating a massive income transfer from the private to the public sector, fueled in part by a state cost-sharing formula that uses taxes on residents in the suburbs to subsidize urban schools. Helping to soak up all that money were binding arbitration laws, skewed to give teacher unions an advantage in collective bargaining negotiations.

The result is that the average teacher salary is now the highest in the nation -- $57,750 excluding benefits, according to the latest survey of the American Federation of Teachers. Meanwhile, the American Legislative Exchange Council reports that Connecticut is one of the 10 states with the heaviest property-tax burdens. According to a calculator on the Web site of the Nonpartisan Action for a Better Redding, a local taxpayer group, even the smallest municipalities unnecessarily spent millions on school construction, much of it to meet a predicted increase in population that never materialized.

The calculator enables the resident of any town to compare the cost of constructing and staffing a new building (or addition) to the cost of simply subsidizing the overflow number of students to attend private, parochial or home schools. Says David Bohn, president of the group: "You could extend the subsidy to children already in such schools and still save hundreds of millions long term."

Now taxpayers find themselves caught between falling real estate values and ever increasing property taxes. And for what? The National Assessment of Educational Progress puts eighth-grade proficiency figures in the state at 37% for reading, 35% for math, 33% for science and 53% for writing.

Connecticut law does not allow a statewide referendum to curb school spending with a property-tax cap, as do ballot measures this year in Nevada and Florida. Nevertheless, most towns in Connecticut fold the school budget into the municipal budget, which can be voted on at a town meeting, or by annual referendum, or by a petition-inspired referendum, depending on the local rules. So citizens do have the ability to rein in public spending if they choose to act -- and that is what they are beginning to do.

This spring Avon, Farmington, Stonington and Ridgefield -- all affluent communities -- rejected the politicians' original spending plans. On June 17, the voters of suburban West Hartford, where public schools have often ranked among the best in the state, rejected the town budget by a lopsided 7,037 to 3,711. As of the end of June, a record 85 of Connecticut's 169 municipalities had or were planning budget referenda; and the median approved spending increase was 3.8%, lower than the 5% last year and 5.3% in 2006.

Limiting government at the state level is more difficult, thanks in part to a 1964 Supreme Court decision (Butterworth v. Dempsey) requiring that representation in state legislatures be based solely on population. By depriving rural regions of their traditional influence, urban Democrats and public sector unions have more influence. From 1970 until 2005, total state spending skyrocketed to $4,322 per capita from $863 in real dollars -- in spite of near-zero job growth and a decline in net population for every year except one in the decade between 1997 and 2006.

But at the local level, there are nearly as many Republican chief executives as Democrats, and both parties outside the big cities are relatively conservative on fiscal issues. This is leading to more than just budget defeats.

Mike Guarco, chairman of the finance board in Granby, has formed the Connecticut Municipal Consortium for Fiscal Responsibility, a bipartisan alliance of elected officials representing 117 of the state's towns. The group fights against binding arbitration, "prevailing wage" laws for public building projects, and burdensome state mandates (such as a requirement that all student suspensions be supervised in-house). These are the three largest cost drivers of K-12 education.

There are other ideas in the air. In Chester, First Selectman (Mayor) Tom Marsh proposes to pay students not to attend public school. He wants to give $1,500 a year to families who send a child to vocational school, $3,000 to families who homeschool, and to put $5,000 in a college scholarship fund for anyone transferring to a private high school.

Mr. Marsh also wants to give a full two-year community college scholarship worth $5,000 to students who graduate from public high school in three years. "If we can persuade families to consider options outside the system," he says, "we have the potential to save significantly long term."

With this gathering grass-roots rebellion -- and with the archbishop in Hartford advocating a tax credit for corporations that help poor students attend private schools -- the public education establishment is increasingly nervous. Last December, the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education and the Connecticut Association of Public school Superintendents wrote an unprecedented joint letter to every school board and superintendent in the state criticizing Armand Fusco, the retired school superintendent who advises the citizen cost-cutting committee in Enfield.

Mr. Fusco has not backed away. He notes that even before the Enfield citizens' commission offered its recommendations, the very existence of the committee spurred the town council to reject a requested 3% increase in the school budget, and to forestall efforts to raise the property tax rate. For next year, Enfield has already adopted zero-based budgeting.

The time is coming, says Mr. Fusco, for all Connecticut schools to "distinguish between needs and wants."

Mr. Andrews is executive director of the Yankee Institute in Hartford, Conn.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

School choices: Obama makes one you can't

Strangely enough, even Barack Obama is a victim of the government education monopoly he is working to protect.

He is forced to spend ~$38k to get a decent education for his children because the alternative is so horrible that the University of Chicago Laboratory school can charge that much.

It is foolish to believe that we need to spend anywhere near $20k to provide a quality education. The market is skewed because the monopoly schools (many of which spend almost the same amount of money) have no incentive to raise quality or lower costs.

With parental choice, the incentive would exist. Quality would climb and costs would fall. In such a free parent-controlled market, expensive failing schools (like CPS) would go out of business, replaced by low cost high quality schools, public and private.

As a result, Senator Obama could send his kids to the same school for a lot less, since the alternatives would be better and less expensive.

Jim Peschke

The following article appeared in the Union Leader.

School choices: Obama makes one you can't

With her daughters by her side, Michelle Obama told the world Monday night that "their future -- and all our children's future -- is my stake in this election."

It sure is. And what does that future look like for the Obama girls? Whether their father wins or loses, it is bright. Little Sasha, 7, and Malia, 10, attend the elite University of Chicago Laboratory School. Tuition for grades 1 to 4 is $18,492. For grades 5 to 8, it is $20,286. As National Review's Jim Geraghty has pointed out, that's $38,778 a year that Obama is willing to pay so his two daughters don't have to attend Chicago's public schools.

What about your own children? Obama opposes school choice programs that would empower low-income parents to send their children to private schools if their own public schools are failing. It's private school for his daughters, but no help for you if your kids are stuck in a public school that doesn't work for them.

John McCain believes that no American child should be forced to attend a school that is broken or that doesn't fit his or her educational needs. He supports school choice plans that would free American parents to make the best educational decisions for their children.

So, yes, our children's future is at stake in this election. One candidate wants to level the playing field and give all children the same opportunities Barack Obama's daughters have. Sadly, that candidate is not Barack Obama.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Is college really worth it?

Our children are young, we have a one year old and a four year old. We have been saving for their college since birth. Our hopes are that they will get full rides to college and we can use said funds for retirement. My husband and I talk often of college and about the empty degrees at many colleges and universities across America. We have also talked about many people we know that have degrees and who are not working in the field in which they have a degree or who are working in a field in which no degree is required. Many of those people are doing well financially a few making six figures in their jobs. When the time comes our children if they choose to attend college will receive funds if the degree is an actual requirement in their chosen career.

What I gleaned from this article is the failure of schools to prepare students for college and the dumbing down of higher education to meet said students lack of qualifications for college.

Public schools and colleges will continue to decline until Americans take back education from special interest groups. Americans and parents have to put the burden of educating their children on themselves instead of the government until than we will continue to see a decline in the quality of output from government institutions.

Cathy Peschke

Some college degrees are great, others are worthless. "Let the buyer beware". It doesn't require hindsight to know which degrees are fluff.

When a degree entails genuine rigorous transfer of skill and knowledge in a field of use to society (think medicine, science, engineering, computers, etc.) that is difficult to obtain outside of the college environment, you can feel pretty safe.

But when the coursework is primarily subjective, requires minimal effort or skill, and has questionable value in the real world (Sociology?!? What did you expect?), you're being had.

As more businesses and individuals come to recognize how worthless so many degrees are, hopefully tighter scrutiny will alleviate some of the pain from these college con-artists.

Jim Peschke

The following piece appeared in the Union Leader.

Walter E. Williams: Is college really worth it?

As parents pack their youngsters off to college, they might ask themselves whether it's worth both the money they will spend and their children's time. Dr. Marty Nemko has researched that question in an article aptly titled "America's Most Overrated Product: Higher Education."

The U.S. Department of Education statistics show that 76 out of 100 students who graduate in the bottom 40 percent of their high school class do not graduate from college, even if they spend eight-and-a-half years in college. That's even with colleges having dumbed down classes to accommodate such students.

Only 23 percent of the 1.3 million students who took the ACT college entrance examinations in 2007 were prepared to do college-level study in math, English and science. Even though a majority of students are grossly underprepared to do college-level work, each year colleges admit hundreds of thousands of such students.

While colleges have strong financial motives to admit unsuccessful students, for failing students the experience can be devastating. They often leave with their families, or themselves, having piled up thousands of dollars in debt. There is possibly trauma and poor self-esteem for having failed, and perhaps embarrassment for their families.

Dr. Nemko says that worst of all is that few of these former college students, having spent thousands of dollars, wind up in a job that required a college education. It's not uncommon to find them driving a taxi, working at a restaurant or department store, performing some other job that they could have had as a high school graduate or dropout.

What about students who are prepared for college? First, only 40 percent of each year's 2 million freshmen graduate in four years; 45 percent never graduate at all. Often, having a college degree does not mean much. According to a 2006 Pew Charitable Trusts study, 50 percent of college seniors failed a test that required them to interpret a table about exercise and blood pressure, understand the arguments of newspaper editorials and compare credit card offers. About 20 percent of college seniors did not have the quantitative skills to estimate if their car had enough gas to get to the gas station.

According a recent National Assessment of Adult Literacy, the percentage of college graduates proficient in prose literacy has declined from 40 percent to 31 percent within the past decade. Employers report that many college graduates lack the basic skills of critical thinking, writing and problem-solving.

Colleges are in business. Students are a cost. Research is a profit center. When colleges boast about having this professor who has won a science award or that professor who has won the Nobel Prize, very often an undergraduate student will never be taught by that professor. It is a "bait and switch" tactic and very often your youngster will take classes not taught by a professor but taught in large classes by a graduate student.

Faculty who bring in large grants are more highly valued than faculty who teach well. Teaching excellence is so often undervalued that the late Ernest Boyer, vice president for the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, quipped, "Winning the campus teaching award is the kiss of death when it comes to tenure."

Parents and taxpayers cough up billions upon billions of dollars to the nation's colleges and universities. Colleges make money whether students learn or not, whether they graduate or not, and whether they get a good job after graduating or not. Colleges and universities engage in "bait and switch," confer fraudulent degrees and engage in other practices that would bring legal sanctions if done by any other business.

There is little or no oversight of the nation's more than 4,000 colleges and universities that enroll in excess of 17 million students. There are some colleges, such as Grove City College in Pennsylvania and Hillsdale College in Michigan, that do a fine job of undergraduate education. Useful information about what colleges are doing what can be found in the Delaware-based Intercollegiate Studies Institute's "Choosing the Right College" (

Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Public School Nightmare: Why Fix a System Designed to Destroy Individual Thought?

The following is an excerpt from a book titled "Everywhere All the Time:
A New Deschooling Reader
", edited by Matt Hern. The book can be purchased from AK Press by clicking here. The book can also be purchased from Amazon.

The excerpt below was taken directly from the website Revolution by the Book an AK Press Blog.

The Public School Nightmare: Why Fix a System Designed to Destroy Individual Thought?
By John Taylor Gatto

I want you to consider the frightening possibility that we are spending far too much money on schooling, not too little. I want you to consider that we have too many people employed in interfering with the way children grow up-and that all this money and all these people, all the time we take out of children’s lives and away from their homes and families and neighborhoods and private explorations, gets in the way of education.

That seems radical, I know. Surely in modern technological society it is the quantity of schooling and the amount of money you spend on it that buys value. And yet, last year in St. Louis, I heard a vice-president of IBM tell an audience of people assembled to redesign the process of teacher certification that, in his opinion, this country became computer-literate by self-teaching, not through any action of schools. He said 45 million people were comfortable with computers who had learned through dozens of non-systematic strategies, none of them very formal; if schools had pre-empted the right to teach computers use we would be in a horrible mess right now instead of leading the world in this literacy.

Now think about Sweden, a beautiful, healthy, prosperous, and up-to-date country with a spectacular reputation for quality in everything it produces. It makes sense to think their schools must have something to do with that. Then what do you make of the fact that you can’t go to school in Sweden until you are seven years old? The reason the unsentimental Swedes have wiped out what would be first and seconds grades here is that they don’t want to pay the large social bill that quickly comes due when boys and girls are ripped away from their best teachers at home too early.

It just isn’t worth the price, say the Swedes, to provide jobs for teachers and therapists if the result is sick, incomplete kids who can’t be put back together again very easily. The entire Swedish school sequence isn’t twelve years, either-it’s nine. Less schooling, not more. The direct savings of such a step in the United States would be $75-100 billion-a lot of unforeclosed home mortgages, a lot of time freed up with which to seek an education.

Who was it that decided to force your attention onto Japan instead of Sweden? Japan with its long school year and state compulsion, instead of Sweden with its short school year, short school sequence, and free choice where your kid is schooled? Who decided you should know about Japan and not Hong Kong, an Asian neighbor with a short school year that outperforms Japan across the board in math and science? Whose interests are served by hiding that from you?

One of the principal reasons we got into the mess we’re in is that we allowed schooling to become a very profitable monopoly, guaranteed its customers by the police power of the state. Systematic schooling attracts increased investment only when it does poorly, and since there are no penalties at all for such performance, the temptation not to do well is overwhelming. That’s because school staffs, both line and management, are involved in a guild system; in that ancient form of association no single member is allowed to outperform any other member, is allowed to advertise or is allowed to introduce new technology or improvise without the advance consent of the guild. Violation of these precepts is severely sanctioned-as Marva Collins, Jaime Escalante and a large number of once-brilliant teachers found out.

The guild reality cannot be broken without returning primary decision-making to parents, letting them buy what they want to buy in schooling, and encouraging the entrepreneurial reality that existed until 1852. That is why I urge any business to think twice before entering a cooperative relationship with the schools we currently have. Cooperating with these places will only make them worse.

The structure of American schooling, twentieth century style, began in 1806, when Napoleon’s amateur soldiers beat the professional soldiers of Prussia at the battle of Jena. When your business is selling soldiers, losing a battle like that is serious. Almost immediately afterwards, a German philosopher named Fichte delivered his famous “Address to the German Nation” which became one of the most influential documents in modern history. In effect, he told the Prussian people that the party was over, that the nation would have to shape up through a new utopian institution of forced schooling in which everyone would learn to take orders.

So the world got compulsion schooling at the end of a state bayonet for the first time in human history; modern forced schooling started in Prussia in 1819 with a clear vision of what centralized schools could deliver:·

*obedient soldiers to the army;·

*obedient workers to the mines;·

*well subordinated civil servants to government·

*well subordinated clerks to industry;·

*citizens who thought alike about major issues.

Schools, according to Fichte, should create an artificial national consensus on matters that had been worked out in advance by leading German families and the head of institutions. Schools should create unity among all the German states, eventually unifying them into Greater Prussia.

Prussian industry boomed from the beginning. Prussia was successful in warfare and her reputation in international affairs was very high. Twenty-six years after this form of schooling began, the King of Prussia was invited to North America to determine the boundary between the United States and Canada. Thirty-three years after that fateful invention of the central school institution, at the behest of Horace Mann and many other leading citizens, we borrowed the style of Prussian schooling as our own.You need to know this because, over the first fifty years of our school institution, Prussian purpose-which was to create a form of state socialism-gradually forced out traditional American purpose, which in most minds was to prepare the individual to be self-reliant.

In Prussia the purpose of the Volksschule, which educated ninety-two percent of the children, was not intellectual development at all, but socialization in obedience and subordination. Thinking was left to the Real Schulen, in which eight percent of the kids participated. But for the great mass, intellectual development was regarded with managerial horror, as something that caused armies to lose battles.

Prussia concocted a method based on complex fragmentations to ensure that its school products would fit the grand social design. Some of this method involved dividing whole ideas into school subjects, each further divisible, some of it involved short periods punctuated by a horn so that self-motivation in study would be muted by ceaseless interruptions.

There were many more techniques of training, but all were built around the premise that isolation from first-hand information, and fragmentation of the abstract information presented by teachers, would result in obedient and subordinate graduates, properly respectful of arbitrary orders. “Lesser” men would be unable to interfere with policy makers because, while they could still complain, they could not manage sustained or comprehensive thought. Well-schooled children cannot think critically, cannot argue effectively.

One of the most interesting by-products of Prussian schooling turned out to be the two most devastating wars of modern history. Erich Maria Remarque, in his classic All Quiet on the Western Front, tells us that the First World War was caused by the tricks of schoolmasters, and the famous Protestant theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer said that the Second World War was the inevitable product of good schooling.

It’s important to underline that Bonhoeffer meant that literally, not metaphorically: schooling after the Prussian fashion removes the ability of the mind to think for itself. It teaches people to wait for a teacher to tell them what to do and if what they have done is good or bad. Prussian teaching paralyses the moral will as well as the intellect. It’s true that sometimes well-schooled students sound smart, because they memorize many opinions of great thinkers, but they actually are badly damaged because their own ability to think is left rudimentary and undeveloped.

We got from the United States to Prussia and back because a small number of very passionate ideological leaders visited Prussia in the first half of the nineteenth century, fell in love with the order, obedience, and efficiency of its system, and relentlessly proselytized for a translation of Prussian vision onto these shores. If Prussia’s ultimate goal was the unification of Germany, our major goal, so these men thought, was the unification of hordes of immigrant Catholics into a national consensus based on a northern European cultural model. To do that, children would have to be removed from their parents and from inappropriate cultural influences.

In this fashion, compulsion schooling, a bad idea that had been around at least since Plato’s Republic, a bad idea that New England had tried to enforce in 1650 without any success, was finally rammed through the Massachusetts legislature in 1852. It was, of course, the famous “Know-Nothing” legislature that passed this law, a legislature that was the leading edge of a famous secret society which flourished at that time known as The Order of the Star Spangled Banner, whose password was the simple sentence, “I know nothing”-hence the popular label attached to the secret society’s political arm, The American Party.

Over the next fifty years, state after state followed suit, ending schools of choice and ceding the field to a new government monopoly. There was one powerful exception to this: the children who could afford to be privately educated. It’s important to note that the underlying premise of Prussian schooling is that the government is the true parent of children-the state is sovereign over the family. At the most extreme pole of this notion is the idea that biological parents are really the enemies of their own children, not to be trusted.

How did a Prussian system of dumbing children down take hold in American schools? Thousands and thousands of young men from prominent American families journeyed to Prussia and other parts of Germany during the 19th century and brought home the PhD degree to a nation in which such a credential was unknown. These men pre-empted the top positions in the academic world, in corporate research, and in government, to the point where opportunity was almost closed to those who had not studied in Germany, or who were not the direct disciples of a German PhD, as John Dewey was the disciple of G. Stanley Hall at Johns Hopkins.

Virtually every single one of the founders of American schooling had made the pilgrimage to Germany, and many of these men wrote widely circulated reports praising the Teutonic methods. Horace Mann’s famous “Seventh Report” of 1844, still available in large libraries, was perhaps the most important of these. By 1889, a little more than 100 years ago, the crop was ready for harvest. In that year the U.S. Commissioner of Education, William Torrey Harris, assured a railroad magnate, Collis Huntington, that American schools were “scientifically designed” to prevent “over-education” from happening. The average American would be content with his humble role in life, said the commissioner, because he would not be tempted to think about any other role. My guess is that Harris meant he would not be able to think about any other role.

In 1896, the famous John Dewey, then at the University of Chicago, said that independent, self-reliant people were a counter-productive anachronism in the collective society of the future. In modern society, said Dewey, people would be defined by their associations-not by their own individual accomplishments. In such a world people who read too well or too early are dangerous because they become privately empowered, they know too much, and know how to find out what they don’t know by themselves, without consulting experts.

Dewey said the great mistake of traditional pedagogy was to make reading and writing constitute the bulk of early schoolwork. He advocated that the phonics method of teaching reading be abandoned and replaced by the whole word method, not because the latter was more efficient (he admitted that it was less efficient), but because independent thinkers were produced by hard books, thinkers who cannot be socialized very easily. By socialization, Dewey meant a program of social objectives administered by the best social thinkers in government. This was a giant step on the road to state socialism, the form pioneered in Prussia, and it is a vision radically disconnected with the American past, its historic hopes and dreams.

Dewey’s former professor and close friend, G. Stanley Hall, said this at about the same time, “Reading should no longer be a fetish. Little attention should be paid to reading.” Hall was one of the three men most responsible for building a gigantic administrative infrastructure over the classroom. How enormous that structure really became can only be understood by comparisons: New York State, for instance, employs more school administrators than all of the European Economic Community nations combined.

Once you think that the control of conduct is what schools are about, the word “reform” takes on a very particular meaning. It means making adjustments to the machine so that young subjects will not twist and turn so, while their minds and bodies are being scientifically controlled. Helping kids to use their minds better is beside the point.

Bertrand Russell once observed that American schooling was among the most radical experiments in human history, that America was deliberately denying its children the tools of critical thinking. When you want to teach children to think, you begin by treating them seriously when they are little, giving them responsibilities, talking to them candidly, providing privacy and solitude for them, and making them readers and thinkers of significant thoughts from the beginning. That’s if you want to teach them to think. There is no evidence that this has been a state purpose since the start of compulsion schooling.

When Friedrich Froebel, the inventor of kindergarten in nineteenth century Germany, fashioned his idea, he did not have a “garden for children” in mind, but a metaphor of teachers as gardeners and children as the vegetables. Kindergarten was created to be a way to break the influence of mothers on their children. I note with interest the growth of daycare in the United States and the repeated urgings to extend school downward to include four-year-olds. The movement toward state socialism is not some historical curiosity but a powerful dynamic force in the world around us. It is fighting for its life against those forces which would, through vouchers or tax credits, deprive it of financial lifeblood, and it has countered this thrust with a demand for even more control over children’s lives, and even more money to pay for the extended school day and year that this control requires.

A movement as visibly destructive to individuality, family and community as government-system schooling has been might be expected to collapse in the face of its dismal record, coupled with an increasingly aggressive shakedown of the taxpayer, but this has not happened. The explanation is largely found in the transformation of schooling from a simple service to families and towns to an enormous, centralized corporate enterprise.

While this development has had a markedly adverse effect on people and on our democratic traditions, it has made schooling the single largest employer in the United States and the largest granter of contracts next to the Defense Department. Both of these low-visibility phenomena provide monopoly schooling with powerful political friends, publicists, advocates, and other useful allies. This is a large part of the explanation why no amount of failure ever changes things in schools, or changes them for very long. School people are in a position to outlast any storm and to keep short-attention-span public scrutiny thoroughly confused.

An overview of the short history of this institution reveals a pattern marked by intervals of public outrage, followed by enlargement of the monopoly in every case. After nearly 30 years spent inside a number of public schools, some considered good, some bad, I feel certain that management cannot clean its own house. It relentlessly marginalizes all significant change. There are no incentives for the “owners” of the structure to reform it, nor can there be without outside competition.

It cannot be overemphasized that no body of theory exists to define accurately the way children learn, or which learning is of most worth. By pretending the existence of such, we have cut ourselves off from the information and innovation that only a real market can provide. Fortunately our national situation has been so favorable, so dominant through most of our history, that the margin of error afforded has been vast.

But the future is not so clear. Violence, narcotic addictions, divorce, alcoholism, loneliness-all these are but tangible measures of a poverty in education. Surely schools, as the institutions monopolizing the daytimes of childhood, can be called to account for this. In a democracy the final judges cannot be experts, but only the people.

Trust the people, give them choices, and the school nightmare will vanish in a generation.