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August 28, 2007


A very informative piece. Thanks Terry.

In that column, Krugman was exceedingly sloppy factually and logically.

"We offer free education, and don’t worry about middle-class families getting benefits they don’t need, because that’s the only way to ensure that every child gets an education — and giving every child a fair chance is the American way. And we should guarantee health care to every child, for the same reason."

In fact, we only offer "free education" in public schools. Those who opt for private schools have to pay tuition or qualify for scholarships or other forms of non-governmental financial aid.

"It’s just a matter of historical accident that we think of access to free K-12 education as a basic right, but consider having the government pay children’s medical bills “welfare,“ with all the negative connotations that go with that term."

It is no historical accident that Jefferson and others believed that a democracy must have an informed electorate. This meant that it should be the responsibility of government to educate children whose parents or guardians can or will not educate them. Hence the Common school movement.

A reality that Krugman overlooks is that 20% or so of parents and guardians have continued sending their kids to private schools; in the process paying twice in the form of private school tuition and taxes for public schools.

Another reality that Krugman overlooks is that government subsidized public K-12 is 3- tiered with mostly excellent public schools for the affluent, good-enough schools for the middle class and mostly bad schools for the poor.

The affluent are always going to feed, clothe, medicate and educate their kids better than the rest of us. Life in the U.S. is never going to be fair. However, with Common schools and public subsidies diverted from public schools for the affluent, government can start to close the gaps that currently exist/

"We" means the government, so it's not sloppy logic at all to claim that the "we" provide a (basically) free education to every child. The public schoolhouse is open to all regardless of wealth.

I agree that we're veering toward a two-tiered rich -poor system, but that has more to do with local politics and nothing to do with the principle of a free, universal, compulsory education for all.

Krugman is a real piece of work. His argument is that we shouldn object to the socialization of health care, since we already have socialized education, and nobody can argue that education is more important than health care.

Hmmm. Seems to me that food is even more important than health care. So by Krugman's logic, we should socialize the food industry.

Terry, you can add LA to your list of at least partially privatized districts.

Also, let's not forget that many "liberals" are also enamored with market-based school reform. Our very own Vicki Phillips, a former secretary of education under Pennsylvania's Democratic governor Ed Rendell, was a virulent proponent of free market schools. Eli Broad raises a lot of money for the Democrats, and we know about his free market schools bias.

Alas, the "invisible hand" is all the rage, all across the political spectrum. It's up to us at the local level to resist.

Whoa, are we all getting sloppy on this blog? Good point on Jefferson, but he would have supported educations which truly educated people for the world in which they live. We aren't approaching that in many of our schools.

Howard, hey I am pushing Vancouver again. They have pretty equally distributed resources -- hence better eductions than most of Portland and no huge imperative to transfer your kid someplace else. Of course, their range of wealth is not as broad.

The socialized medicine argument is pretty good. We also make sure pretty much everyone has electricity, water, roads etc. We have socialized food by the way for children -- free lunches and breakfast in school. Also, food, shelter, and clothing are total necessities and so people pay for them first and this is an accepted part of American society. The question is do we make sure kids' health needs are met if, after a parent paying for the necessities, he or she can't afford health care for their child. My answer is yes. So let's figure out how we are going to do that. Once we do that we better figure out how we will help all people get health care they can afford. Just seems like the right thing to do.

What if the government just subsidized healthy food... wouldn't it be great if we could help people out with grocery money?

Our destiny offers not the cup of despair, but the chalice of opportunity. So let us seize it, not in fear, but in gladness. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for circumstances they want, and if they cannot find them, make come on everyone.

Pursue green fashion, to embrace green living.

Really good to tell about the State Children's Health Insurance Program,because this is a useful program and the parents and the people will take some of the help and useful help from this information and the details that you share.

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