"Two Americas" and School Choice

From Fred Hiatt of the Washington Post:

The desperate poverty of those options made me think of those who had opposed vouchers for District parents: senators who send their children to private school, D.C. Council members who themselves had been saved by attending parochial school, union leaders with the wherewithal to decide in which school district to live. All of them with choices, and very few choosing to send their children to Ballou. All of them claiming to speak on behalf of the people of the District, and never mind that those people -- when given an opportunity to, say, apply for privately funded vouchers -- show themselves to be desperate for choice.

While John Edwards keeps harping on the "Two Americas", he doesn't realize the divisions created by the very social programs he endorses. Public education creates one system in which poor families are trapped in a failing system, while the better off can afford to send their kids to private schools. Medicare creates a system in which the elderly have limited choices for health care, while those with more resources can go around the system and seek alternatives. The very existence of these programs creates the divisions which Edwards and his class warfare message seek to exploit.

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I was recently discussing

I was recently discussing this very issue with two of the attorneys where I work. I told them that Edwards was better than Kerry but still scared me. When they asked why, I told them that the biggest part is his "Two Americas" rhetoric. They told me, "But he's right! There really are two Americas!" To which I replied that they were correct, but that fixing socialism with more socialism (as Edwards wants to do) was simply not the answer. They didn't agree with me in the least. This didn't surprise me much, though; the attorney that has a child sends her to one of the best private schools in Knoxville.

How in the world do we convince people who think social programs help that they really don't, especially when those people are the ones who never have to worry about dealing face-to-face with the programs they espouse?

I've got no problem with

I've got no problem with "class warfare" rhetoric. I figure we're in a class war because the plutes, using their state to intervene in the market, started it. The whole reason for "public" education in the first place, as with all those other "public" services, was to externalize the costs of reproducing "human resources" on the state. When you get down to it, government schools, the GI Bill, student loans, government health insurance, etc., are forms of corporate welfare for companies that don't want to include such things in their own personnel costs.

But the New Class apparatchiks running the publik skools are themselves part of the class war. Despite their rhetoric, they're not enemies of the corporate ruling class. They're a subsidiary faction of it.

To say a service like education or health care is a "civil right," generally, means you get it in the (rationed) amount and form the State wants you to have, and buying it in the form you want much more difficult (if not criminalized). It means the providers of the service will be cartelized, and that the provision of the service will be regulated according to their professional culture and institutional mindset.

My own solution, for starters, would be to abolish every school board, department of education, and college of education in the country, and put each school under the direct control of the parents whose kids attended. Then I'd march all the newly unemployed educrats out into the countryside and subject them to forced readings of John Taylor Gatto and Ivan Illich. :)