Liberalism’s Greatest Failure

Dynamite movie.  On the heels of Chris Christie’s battles with the NJ Teachers Unions.  Will matters improve?  I’m not holding my breath – those unions are a cash cow and shock troops for the democratic party.

h/t Jonah Goldberg in “Liberalism’s Greatest Failure“:

There are two problems with this canard. 1) Bush and the GOP congress massively increased education spending and 2) the problems with our education system have almost nothing to do with how much money we spend.

We’re constantly told about all of  these countries allegedly beating us in the classroom. Does anyone really think they’re doing better than us because they spend more? Really? …Do we really think China and India are spending 20-30K per pupil on their new crop of math whizzes?

In 2008-2009, the  District of Columbia spent $1.3 billion dollars on 45,858 students. That is slightly less than the entire GDP of Belize. In 2007, 8 percent of DC eighth graders were able to do math at the eighth grade level. Clearly what’s needed is more money!

…And yet when you listen to these endless seminars and interviews on NBC and its various platforms, I never seem to hear Matt Lauer or David Gregory ask “Isn’t the education crisis a failure of liberalism?” After all, liberals insist all social problems can be reduced to root causes. Well, they’ve been in charge of the roots for generations and look at the mess they’ve made. Look at it.

Largely because of the Iraq war,  Katrina and Bush’s unpopularity,  a host of liberal intellectuals pronounced conservatism to be dead. The decrepit state of American education is a far more sweeping, profound and lasting indictment of the very heart of liberalism and yet the response from everyone is “Let’s give these guys another try!”

UPDATE: (10/1/10)

Rich Lowry in An Education in Spending

These funds have kept school systems from having to undertake wrenching changes, or any changes at all. They have helped goose federal spending on education from $37.5 billion in the last year of the Bush administration to $88.8 billion in the second year of the Obama administration, according to the calculations of Jay Greene of the University of Arkansas.

While the private economy has shed 8 million jobs in a work force of 150 million during the downturn, the $550 billon education system has added jobs. It’s the great wonder of the American economy, growing during recessions and regardless of its quality. If everyone in America were a teacher, we’d truly be a worker’s paradise.

The spending would be justified if it correlated with outcomes. It doesn’t. We have tripled per-pupil spending during the past four decades, while results have largely stayed flat. The money has been poured into personnel, on the theory that more teachers equals more learning. If the teachers are unexceptional, that’s not true. The compensation structure of teachers — with a large portion of their pay devoted to pensions and benefits — tends to attract careerists looking to settle into jobs for life.

The resulting insular culture of nonaccountability is nearly impossible to crack.

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