State pension secrecy needs light

Thinking Right’s weekend free-for-all. Pick a topic:

● Every now and then, achievements in science, medicine and technology are breath-taking. Two in the past week come to mind. The first was a stupendous achievement at Emory University Hospital where a team of surgeons led by Dr. Linda Cendales performed a 19-hour surgery to attach a hand to 21-year-old Linda Lu. As a 1-year-old, Lu lost her hand to complications related to Kawasaki disease. It’s a first for Emory, though the surgery was first performed by a team that included Cendales in 1999 in St. Louis. And this week, even without a functioning “black box” flight recorder, searchers operating undersea robots found the wreckage of Air France’s Rio-to-Paris flight resting 2.4 miles below the surface of the Atlantic — and can identify some of the bodies before they are recovered. Even with a daily diet of economic gloom and incomprehensible brutality and murder, some news is worth waking up to.

● I may become a liberal again one day, as I was in the ’60s, when the left starts coming up with ideas that address social problems as beneficially as conservatives like U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, the Wisconsin Republican who heads the House Budget Committee, have. The mistake of liberals is to pretend that the nature of poverty and the values of the impoverished are unchanged by 50 years of public spending, Hence, their solutions: Spend more, require less initiative and personal responsibility. Ryan’s proposal, which would cut $6.2 trillion from spending over the next 10 years, “puts the nation on a path to actually pay off our national debt,” he writes in The Wall Street Journal. He tackles Medicaid and Medicare responsibly and constructively, empowering states and individuals. Such a breath of fresh air in American politics.

● Headlines are really difficult. Few words, little space. A headline over the story about the U.S. Supreme Court upholding an Arizona law that allows individuals a tax credit of up to $500 for contributions to tuition scholarship organizations declares “Private schools get break.” Georgia has a similar law. My headline would say “Parents, givers get break.” The first beneficiaries are not private schools, but parents whose children are trapped in a nonperforming public school. Great decision for parents. And encouragement for reformers and would-be ObamaCare repealers: Patience and persistence.

● Republicans under the Gold Dome need not own the good ol’ boy culture they inherited. They can change it. And should. Case in point: Taxpayers put $1.3 billion per year into state retirement systems but are prohibited from knowing who is exploiting the system for unwarranted benefits — the politicians and their kinfolks and the politically connected in particular. That prohibition is responsible, in part, for keeping the system open to political abuse. Republican legislators and state Attorney General Sam Olens need to aggressively push full transparency so taxpayers know which politicians and which friends and kinfolks are ripping us off. Fix it or you own it.

● A surprising discovery after Clayton County decided it couldn’t afford a low-ridership bus system that was costing the county $8 million — half of its projected $16 million deficit. The discovery is that people either moved closer to their jobs or to existing bus lines or formed car pools. The day surely will come when rational discussions direct limited tax revenues to the greatest need. If the solution can be that people move from one apartment complex to another, or go to nearby clinics in the case of Grady Memorial Hospital’s decision to close two neighborhood clinics, we can both serve the needy and do it rationally and affordably.

68 comments Add your comment

Joe Mama

April 7th, 2011
6:36 pm

“The first beneficiaries are not private schools,”

Well, Mr. Wooten, finally you have awakened to the realization that vouchers are nothing but an entitlement system. Your use of the word “beneficiaries” gives you away. It’s especially telling that you chose to laud this proposed new entitlement right after complaining about public spending over the last 50 years. Clearly, some entitlements are just dandy with you, whereas others are not so fortunate.

“but parents whose children are trapped in a nonperforming public school.”

Trapped? Oh, no, Mr. Wooten. Parents have school choice TODAY. If they want their children to be taught elsewhere, or even to teach them themselves, they can do that right now. Today. Well, okay, tomorrow morning. But they don’t have to have any new entitlement in order to do it. Parents already have school choice, Mr. Wooten. What they don’t have is *subsidized* school choice, and that’s what this is really about.

Mid GA Retiree

April 7th, 2011
7:17 pm

The vast majority of retirees who are drawing a pension from the state are not “exploiting the system”. They are drawing a pension based on the rules in place at the time of their employment and one to which they are legally entitled. These retirees don’t deserve to be lumped together with those who are said to be abusing or exploiting the system. I wish those who indignantly complain would have the decency to recognize this fact.

Entitlements

April 7th, 2011
7:28 pm

I’m only for the rich! Why would you ever entitle a poor person? – Florida Crystals (probably)

tar and feathers party

April 7th, 2011
7:30 pm

End all public tax support for schools, all schools. Education is the responsibility of mom and dad, pay up, or junior grows up illiterate.

Barry

April 7th, 2011
8:01 pm

Any discussion of vouchers is dishonest and hyper-liberal (sorry – that was redundant) if it does not include a corresponding call for the elimination of public schools. Otherwise, all it does is create a separate, parallel, publicly funded school system that will eventually erect a separate bureaucracy. All of it will funnel still more money away from the public-school classrooms, and eventually lead to public schools reserved for the poorest and worst students, with the privileged granted access to their separate-but-more-equal system – all to eventually be undone, with great clamor, by Brown vs. Board of Education II.

By the way: If I don’t like my publicly funded sheriff’s office, can I get a voucher to pay for a private security guard?

Michael H. Smith

April 7th, 2011
8:57 pm

By the way: If I don’t like my publicly funded sheriff’s office, can I get a voucher to pay for a private security guard?

Nope! Government, like the Mafia, eliminates any and all competition. Whatever competitors either of these organizations cannot immediately and directly kill off through the use of their respective police powers, they each have their other respective means of competition disposal to extort efficacy. With the Mafia, it is an offer made that you cannot refuse. When it is the government, it is a regulation made that you can never ignore.

So to end a socialist liberal challenge in advance that shall surely question: What freedom or liberty have youuuuuuuuuuu lost?

Going you one better, Libs: Tell me what so-called freedom or liberty youuuuuuuuuuu have that is not regulated in one way, shape, form or another?

Michael H. Smith

April 7th, 2011
9:19 pm

Public funding of education should pay solely for the education of a child, not exclusively for a government bureaucratic education monopoly.

I firmly support amending the Constitution of State of Georgia to publicly fund “School Choice”.

Bill

April 7th, 2011
11:22 pm

Jim,

I hardly recognized your column. Where is the ideological hatred that you love to spew?? You surely are not getting soft on us are you??

Regards,

Old.Conservative

April 8th, 2011
1:09 am

Ryan’s budget is a joke. It has no chance since it does not add up. Unemployment of 2.8%, increase in revenue by cutting taxes, etc. These are silly on the face of it. It is another example of a politician (this time a pseudo-conservative) telling us that this will be easy. Pathetic

JC

April 8th, 2011
1:38 am

Jim Wooten was a major reason I quit buying the print edition of the AJC. He was a boring bigot in print. Now he’s a really boring bigot in retirement.

Mid-South Philosopher

April 8th, 2011
6:09 am

With respect to American education, why don’t we return to the “roots” of schooling in this country….you make the babies, you pay for them to be schooled…NOT depend upon your neighbors to pay for it! Yeah, that is going to happen…right after Sarah Palin joins Planned Parenthood!!!

Road Scholar

April 8th, 2011
6:17 am

“…are prohibited from knowing who is exploiting the system for unwarranted benefits ”

What proof do you have that people are bilking the system? Or is this like the illegals voting scam…not one event was documented. If they are bilking the system and with your logic , then all people should have their tax returns published. As one said the other day, I will find all deductions that I can take, legal or not.

BitterEXdemocrackkk

April 8th, 2011
6:28 am

Education is NOT a function of our government NOR a Constitutional requirement. Shut down the Dept of Education which as effectively RUINED public schools, now deemed, government indoctrination centers. America ‘progressed’ WELL for the first 200 YEARS WITHOUT a Dept of Education which was created in 1979. SHUT IT DOWN!

seabeau

April 8th, 2011
6:39 am

Bitter! I agree with you!. If you have 5 kids to educate,you pay for 5 kids. If you have no kids to educate you don,t pay period. I heard Micky Dees is hiring now!!

Will

April 8th, 2011
6:53 am

Republican newspaper writers are a hoot!!

They have consistently (and rightly so) opined over the necessity of getting hold of the spiraling cost of Social Security. Now these same republican newspaper writers are full of praise for Representative Ryan’s (the congressman that critizes the President for ignoring the budget commission’s recomendations – a commission that Congressman Ryan was a member and WHO VOTED AGAINST THE FINAL REPORT OF THE COMMISSION!!!) “bold”, fiscially responsible plan that…..does not address the spiraling costs associated with Social Security!! What a hoot!

What’s that you say?? Democrats won’t touch Social Secuirty either? Of course they won’t but is that the standard to which you strive to adhere, to be no better than democrats?

The shoe moves to the other foot now and it will not be a comfortable fit for republican newspaper writers. Just as republican newspaper writers “demogagued” health care reform with “death panels” and “socialism”, democrats will do the same with the republicans budget reforms.

With employment numbers beginning to move in a healthy direction (a fact that seems to really bother republicans)within the private sector – remember that republicans sniffed and whined last year whenever employment numbers rose by proclaiming that those numbers did not mean anything because they were helped with government, not private sector job creation)and most likely to be in a full-throated robust recovery this time next year, it is beginning to look like the “republican reallignment of America’s electorate” is likely to last about as long as the democrat reallignment of 2008.

Beavis

April 8th, 2011
7:50 am

Joe Mama,
Yes the kids are the beneficiaries, why is there even a question about that? What has any teacher’s union done for any child that is correct nothing they are there to give money to union goons and keep under preforming teaches working. Just look in NYC alone 4 million a year to have teachers that “are not fit to be in a class room” sit in a building and do nothing. What a great thing for the kids, right? And yes they are trapped; most of us can’t afford to have one spouse quit working to home school, or the money to send them to private schools.

Why are the lefty’s teachers afraid of a little competition, if they are doing such a good job they should have nothing to worry about, right? Why is bad to have choices and competition, the only people that would be against that are under preforming losers.

carlosgvv

April 8th, 2011
8:22 am

All of the “ideas that address social programs” that are coming from the conservatives can be translated into one simple sentence; “let them eat cake”.

khc

April 8th, 2011
8:31 am

i guess using your logic federal employees, military, regular reserve or national guard ought to be divulged too

Evelyn

April 8th, 2011
8:36 am

The recently introduced House Republican plan for Medicare will reduce medical cost, in part, because so many seniors will not be able to afford medical insurance even with a voucher. The government will eventually have to open free clinics for seniors, or watch our them suffer needlessly. The loss of dignity is imaginable. Sad.

Aquagirl

April 8th, 2011
8:38 am

There’s some amazing medical research going on at the Sheppard Spinal Center too, Jim. Now if we can only continue helping the paralyzed, despite wingnuts who would rather see them in wheelchairs and on ventilators for the rest of their lives.

If you admire science so much, why are you Republican? That’s as believable as a APS board member saying they love kids.

GTT

April 8th, 2011
9:20 am

“What proof do you have that people are bilking the system?”

State pensions of $150,000 to $300,000 a year? What more proof do you need? Geez.

GTT

April 8th, 2011
9:21 am

“If you admire science so much, why are you Republican?”

Science is not a government enterprise.

WHY? RNC is Y

April 8th, 2011
9:35 am

The problem with Wooten is that he was adamant in his stance that he was a true issue-bully, cruel and bellicose. Now, that he’s realizing the his soul is at stake, and his reckoning is dead ahead, he’s trying to repent to the wrong god, the god of war, but I forget his name. Oh, you’ll get your stinking war, Wooten.

I think it’s mercury.

Marie

April 8th, 2011
9:52 am

Ryan may say he is a Christian, but his approach to budgeting is pure Darwinism, with a push to make sure that the fattest wallets survive (”No tax cuts ever!”). Basically, If you get sick and cannot afford healthcare, or are layed off for a long period of time and cannot afford housing or food costs, die quickly. But what he has not factored in is that we are an economy based on spending by the masses. When the rest of us are dead, we are not buying services and products, so those workers will be layed off, die, etc, and so on until nothing will be left but fat cats who are rapidly getting lean because there is no one there to buy their oil or fertilizer. Though I suppose at that point they just import foreigners with money to live here. Hmmmm? Very interesting diabolical plan, China and India.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

April 8th, 2011
11:06 am

Good morning all. I cannot imagine any reason anyone should be “entitled” to take $50,000 or more per year from taxpayer funds without the public’s awareness.

Otherwise I am much impressed with Rep. Ryan’s budget outline. Our democrat friends are profoundly opposed to any form o budget sanity, and thus lack any credibility on the subject. I was also pleased to see the Republican House resolution to put off the government shutdown for one week, but ensuring complete funding for the only essential government service – the military – for the remainder of the fiscal year. It speaks volumes that the democrats oppose such a common sense solution. There is no reason to expect otherwise from a democrat.

The sensible Supreme Court ruling on the school tax credits had a comic element. The entire legal position of the leftists was that “granting a credit thus harms the other taxpayers.” Thus every “failure to tax the individual” becomes a right – in the leftist mind – to sue on “equal protection” grounds. The court sensibly determined that elected legislatures have authority to leave the individual alone, and that such a decision should be outside the realm of the courts. Probably should not read too much into it, but a court receptive to a legislative decision to leave the individual alone is the court I want to review a legislative demand that an individual purchase a health insurance policy.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

April 8th, 2011
11:11 am

Conservative throw out ideas for discussion, and leftists throw out epithets. “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” Eleanor Roosevelt

Hillbilly Deluxe

April 8th, 2011
12:34 pm

Republican legislators and state Attorney General Sam Olens need to aggressively push full transparency so taxpayers know which politicians and which friends and kinfolks are ripping us off. Fix it or you own it.

Amen to that.

The vast majority of retirees who are drawing a pension from the state are not “exploiting the system”. They are drawing a pension based on the rules in place at the time of their employment and one to which they are legally entitled. These retirees don’t deserve to be lumped together with those who are said to be abusing or exploiting the system. I wish those who indignantly complain would have the decency to recognize this fact.

I can only speak for myself but I have no problem with the thousands of State employees, who’ve worked at their jobs for years, getting a pension. They earned it. It’s the sweetheart deals and double dipping, that I’m opposed to.

Halftrack

April 8th, 2011
1:07 pm

Jim; You have been fighting the Public retirement systems a long time, especially the ERS. A vast majority of retirees who are drawing a pension from the state are not “exploiting the system”. They are drawing a pension based on the rules in place at the time of their employment and one to which they are legally entitled. Our State Legislature is responsible for the Retirement systems that are set up for the employees. Many of the systems have been changed over the years because of your advocacy in the past to have them changed.. It is inflammatory to want to go back in time and bring up past abuses that already have been exposed many times. Currently the ERS has the least number of retirees on retirement of the other 7 systems. You also forget that many of these retirees paid half of the contribution for their retirement plan.

Grifter

April 8th, 2011
2:35 pm

All you idiots whining about pensions. Get it through your thick middle Georgia christian conservative brains: they paid into the system what they are getting back when they retire! They aren’t bilking anyone, its THEIR money! They and their employer paid in at the rate they are paid out. Sweet Jesus, you can’t tell a christian conservative anything. Just go home and pray for guidance. Or better yet, watch the discovery channel so you can finally learn that the earth revolves around the sun. Stop getting your information from dentures-wearin’ diapered old nannies like Wooten.

Gene

April 8th, 2011
3:23 pm

During my thirty-three years in the University System six percent of my salary was taken out for the TRS My employer matched that six percent, that is the taxpayers matched it out of taxes. That billion or so you complain about should work out to just about cover the State matching contribution for current active members to the TRS. There are publications at www. trsga.com that explain this. Those AJC reports failed to make that clear ( deliberately or out of ignorance? ). There is a fine summary report from trsga.com that will really help. BTW, six percent was also taken out for Social Security, also matched by the employer, i.e. the taxpayers. I’ve been retired fifteen years, and I’ve gotten back my contributions many times over. My income from TRS now comes from the hefty earning they get from investments.

khc

April 8th, 2011
4:20 pm

so RD, why do repubs spend so much time on birther, kenyan, issue? instead of focusing on jobs?

Halftrack

April 8th, 2011
8:35 pm

Jim; The second point about inflammatory things about your article is that you say that the State puts 1.3 billion into the Retirement systems each year. It is inflammatory because you don’t explain how much % centage this is from the State and how much is from the employee which is based upon their salary. The Retirement systems are basically set up to be self-sustaining. The Legislatures of the past have caused some of the problem by not contributing the amount that they should have in years past; thereby allowing some of the systems to drop below 100% being funded. This is a breach of the State’s responsibility to the Retirement system affected. Please give a fair & balanced review so as to not inflame the taxpayer that they are being duped by the Public worker which it is not their fault for abiding in the system that has been set up as an incentive to acquire adequate & qualified employees to Public service.

Glenn

April 8th, 2011
9:23 pm

@: Joe Mama, Entitlements, tar and feathers party, Barry, Michael H. Smith, Mid-South Philosopher, and BitterEXdemocrackkk,

1) There never has been a legal, governmental “monopoly” on education. Please get that even if you’ve been so over weaned as to reduce education to schooling. Oligopoly, maybe, rather than simplistic monopolization. Collusion among the leading families in confab, perhaps, to keep Michael H. Smith’s metaphor. That’s about as far as the conspiracy theory goes, though, and even then you’d have to seat at the table, as Joe Mama implies, the heads of private education (parochial and commercial), home schooling, and the diversifying rackets within public education (e.g. mainstream schooling, charter schooling, virtual education).

2) Mr. Wooten advises patient incrementalism. Whence/Whither? I think he answers, clearly, away from “nonperforming public schools”, instead in the direction of greater choice, be it intradistict or inter-district choice, increasing choice of charter schools or of officially sanctioned public or private options. If we proceed on this course probably we will arrive at what I consider our destined juncture: a future in which the state says clearly what it wants and requires of people’s children, provides transparently the means with which to meet the requirements without enquiring at all how the pupil acquired them.

3) It’s half-true, as BitterEXdemocrackk sez, with perfect parodic pitch, that “Education is NOT a function of or government NOR a constitutional requirement”, and equally as deficiently true that America progressed WELL for the first 200 YEARS WITHOUT a Dept of Education”, etc. This is a shell game involving the conflation and then substitution of two “governments”, the federal and the state ones. In their federal charter the states reserved educational authority, which is to say that they withheld that authority from the federal government they’d agreed to form. When the Feds decided to jump the charter by establishing a federal education authority, the states had come to universal agreement over compulsory schooling, as the one best means of the dissemination of learning, only 45 years earlier. Long before this one best method had been agreed upon, in 1800, the national government, as a project of the Interior Department, undertook its first survey of the status of learning among Americans. The survey reported astronomically higher rates of literacy and numeracy than ever have been achieved under the regimes of age-segregated, colocated, tax-supported, politicized schooling. I’m just sayin’.

4) Vouchers aren’t an entitlement, they’re a public benefit. Benefits, however, are apprentice entitlements. Whether such benefits aid mostly the parent or mostly the pupil, I don’t know. But it’s an insightful and longrun probably a crucial question. A shrewd bumpershot by the players chalked up before me in queue.

5) I’ve always “believed” in public education, though not always in public schooling. I want to see both students and their teachers elevated correspondingly, and I’ve never trusted politicians nor administrators to decide the Who/Whom. From what I’ve seen over the years of big urban school systems, were we to cut ot the fat and corruption we’d still have room to lift student achievement while progressing toward paying frontline educators something closer to what they deserve in a society that so relies upon them. The public educational agencies are getting hemmed in, all sides. That’s the strategy Jim Wooten commends. I like it, because we can take that challenge and hit it out of the park in Prado or Jones or Heyward manner. Then folks would begin to migrate back to the public schools. As John Lennon once wrote, we mustn’t “be afraid of being afraid”.

Michael H. Smith

April 8th, 2011
11:19 pm

Glenn

April 8th, 2011
9:23 pm

You might want to read the Constitution of the State of Georgia to correct your facts. As some other blogger informed me in order to have public funding follow the student and not the public school system as it stand s today, I and others of like mind would have to amend the Constitution of the State of Georgia. That individual was correct – I checked their claim. You are definitely misled or misinformed about the existence of a legal government education monopoly.

CONSTITUTION
OF THE
STATE OF GEORGIA

Article VIII.

SECTION VI.
LOCAL TAXATION FOR EDUCATION

Paragraph I. Local taxation for education .

(b) School tax funds shall be expended only for the support and maintenance of public schools, public vocational-technical schools, public education , and activities necessary or incidental thereto, including school lunch purposes.

~

That Glenn, is not a metaphor or a conspiracy of mine my friend, it is the constitution and law. Reading Article VIII in its’ entirety only makes the legal government education monopoly all the more clearer.

Michael H. Smith

April 8th, 2011
11:35 pm

It appears the shut down of BIG GUB’MENT has been avoided for the moment, or rest of this year.

The battle is over, now the real war over spending begins.

Tommy Middlefinger

April 9th, 2011
10:05 am

LIPERLEFTY…………..

WHER YOU AT, BOY………………..

Glenn

April 9th, 2011
12:53 pm

@ Michael H. Smith

Thanks for taking the trouble to engage on this in some detail.

Wherever you have inter-district choice, charter schools and the likes of the Georgia Cyber Academy (itself chartered) you do have “public funding follow[ing] the student”. Moreover, private schools enjoy a constitutional protection against governmental monopolization of schooling. (Pierce v. Society of Sisters [1925])

My problem with our Art. VIII, Sec. VI is its narrow construal of education as mere schooling. I’ve discussed this with Ragnar, and you may share our concern. The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 was developed enlarge part to encourage “schools and the means of education”, a broader construction that several states have adopted in their constitutions. Yet Georgia’s language is like restricting provisions for public health to services delivered only at hospitals. Schools, like hospitals, are very specific, often inefficient and even counterproductive, mechanisms of service delivery.

If you want to make school moneys fungible for private services, then one approach might be to amend in favor of language more similar to the NW Ordinance which, incidentally, intentionally encompassed tutoring and apprenticeships in the private sector.

Michael H. Smith

April 9th, 2011
2:27 pm

@ Glenn

Until school moneys are fungible for private education services the government education monopoly as we know it for all intents and practicalities remains the full force of reality.

Fortunately, part of the budget deal reached last night continues the D.C. school voucher program – Real competitive education, real school choice, where the money follows the student and not the school system. :)

Glenn

April 9th, 2011
6:27 pm

@ Michael H. Smith,

Now we’re coming together. If we can speak of the monopolization of public moneys, rather than of an actual public school monopoly, then I’m completely in accord. The exclusivity lies in the state’s hold on expenditure of public revenues, and not in its exclusive control of a favored form of service delivery–schooling.

I’ll discuss tactics with you a little more, but first let me clarify my position. I want to help everyone–anyone–who is furthering the education of Georgia’s youth, and resent pressures felt by people like me to choose sides. I think the State of Georgia should regard and nurture and protect the learning of its young the way the Commissioner of Baseball is supposed to protect his Game: providing impartially for the upbuilding and success of every expression of his sport. Every team, every level, all comers. (Flexibility toward innovation also iis part of the Commissioner’s mandate; otherwise the early commissioners would not have embraced the prospect that one day most of Baseball’s clents, its spectators, no longer would be colocated, in a sometimes exorbitantly expensive ballpark at a time imposed). Personally I hail from just about every imaginable expression of education–private, public, formal, non formal–and, in adulthood, equally sincerely from all kinds of seemingly warring factions. I saw them all of a piece, but they didn’t, and whereas once I was trusted as an educational, now no side can afford to trust me. But MHS, there are not sides, only teams! I’ll always buck up whatever team seems to need encouragement. J.S. Mill said that were government to provide (childhood) education at all it should do so as R&D, with a view to lifting the other providers to a higher standard. I think that describes a beautiful role for the Feds, an achievable mission realistically delimited–for those of us committed to efficient and limited–and where possible superlative and exemplary–cooperation of corporate partnership with individual states. Not the Jeffersonian and Pragmatic idea of the states as laboratories of democracy with the Feds holding down R&D, but rather a mirror image of this in miniature: a state fielding its best team awaiting the thrown gauntlets of other challengers, with everyone contesting for that season’s gate receipts.

Having said that, have you by chance looked at the inception of the voucher concept? Two very different yet also similar thinkers first propounded it, in concert for a brief time. They were Ivan Illich and Milton Friedman. Illich, like Friedman, was a social scientist, also an historian and a theologian, but unlike Friedman was not an economist. So he sought the counsel of economic theorists, and spent more than a year in special study of economics, at the end of which time he recommended this instead of “vouchers” (Dr. Friedman’s coinage): how about “educational savings accounts”? (Since dubbed the “credit card option”) Meaning, instead of my taking scrip from your cruddy public scool to pay for private schooling down the road, I’ll take the money off your hands and be held responsible for spending it in whatever way will best assure the child’s growth.

See the problems with both scenarios, the voucher one and the credit card one? It’s those problems to which good folks still attend. We all, though, still are motivated by the colonial impulse Tao help each other’s children commonly.

P.S. In your call for school competition please consider that competition as a concept, at the elementar school level, is pretty far removed from what how we would want children to perceive themselves: at excelling only in relation to others ignorant of rudimentary Physics. (This family will take the blue ribbon, let the state deal with the hindmost).

Glenn

April 9th, 2011
6:47 pm

From my iPad: thos philistines in Cupertino did not recognize my word and despite my extra block, corrrected it. They are so bereft of any familiar with ecclesiology! When I said that “once I was accepted” as an an ecumenists”, they overrode me twice and imposed the word “educational” as though theirs was a noun that could make any sense. I’ve found that Apple’s is not a format upon which to engage in any intelligent discussions among the great religious traditions. It’s inherently dismissive, corrective and preemptive in its very architecture, by all-important default. Poor timing, given the salient need for raprochment viz the West and global Islam.

The pretentiously prosperous order of young mock-T’d Cupertines sworn to the superiority of their own convenient unexamination.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

April 9th, 2011
9:37 pm

Dear khc @ 4:20 4/8, “so RD, why do repubs spend so much time on birther, kenyan, issue?” Friend khc, are you discussing people (”repubs”) or did you simply omit your comment on a topic?

Dear Glenn and Michael @ various times, great discussion, I have little to contribute other than questioning the definition of “public.” I certainly can rationalize a definition for the term that would also embrace most so-called “private” schools, those that effectively accept all applicants who can/will pay the tuition.

Rather than rest on a too-clever definition, though, I looked at the county site online and my Gwinnett County seemingly does not have a “school tax,” just a property tax. While there was seemingly an intent to restrict use of funds, I think that the county has by-passed the Constitutional restriction in the manner it raises revenues.

Glenn

April 9th, 2011
10:17 pm

Ragnar, you’re so so right: it does come down to the legal definition of “public”. There’s a new civil war in dispute of that claim, or else we could handle it civilly. Anyone’s guess, Man.

Glenn

April 9th, 2011
10:33 pm

Nutsy Cupertine zealots! Even my criticisms here, of all places, were, though cautiously edited, changed so as to ridicule my criticisms. The callow sycophants have no idea how deep the charges go if they keep up this pompous behavior.

Glenn

April 9th, 2011
11:50 pm

I might even sell my inveterate Apple stock, which after all has declined overall about twenty bucks over the past two months. Live by the apple, die by the apple. Blue sky don’t make a market for one phone or one tablet over another, when you don’t have the edge on performance. And desirability is as fickle as last year’s designer jeans. Perform or lose. If you play to hold ‘em you’re outta the game. We’ll jump ship pronto.

Michael H. Smith

April 10th, 2011
8:33 am

@ Glenn

Let me state again for the record: I completely support “the public funding of education” for grades K-12. I adamantly oppose the exclusive use of public funding dedicated to the government’s public schools or school systems. The money I pay in school taxes – in my Not so humble opinion, contrary to present law that I strive to change – belongs exclusively to every school-age-child in this State, to obtain the best education which that money can buy. Not one penny of that money belongs, or rather should belong, to the State.

Now, with that said, it is hard to separate money or rather the control which that money has in the dominance over education, which is “the government’s monopoly of education”. The golden rules remains in full force – he that has the gold, RULES! Admit it Glenn, the proverbial “he” in this case is the government and the government schools or school systems. For all practicalities public schools DO NOT compete for a single taxpayer penny of public funds used for education – THEY OWN THE FUNDS.

Equal portions of public funds for education pursuant to grade level should go to the student and their parents or guardians. They should buy whatever education they deem best for the child; whether the education is from a public school or a charter school or private school that complies with State and County requirements.

Let the money follow the student.

And close the Unconstitutional Federal Department of Education. Education is the constitutional right of the State governments

Tommy Middlefinger

April 10th, 2011
9:16 am

Looking for Dr. Stan……………………

AMEN?

Michael H. Smith

April 10th, 2011
9:25 am

@ Glenn

how about “educational savings accounts”

It should probably be looked at in more depth. It is tempting at first glance, though, it may give an unequal advantage to some that already have the economic means by which the particular less endowed I see that can gain in leverage from a voucher system. It will depend more on tax reform which should take place only after spending reform has concluded and the nation is set on a path of fiscal solvency that really can win the future.

At present I’d say no to education savings accounts replacing vouchers on the grounds it might give undue tax breaks to an elite few, in a “class subsidy”. If that problem can be overcome, where the educational leverage of the lesser can displace income advantage of the greater… well then, sign me up. :idea:

Michael H. Smith

April 10th, 2011
9:32 am

@ – Ragnar Danneskjöld

the definition of “public.” As in public funding of education

All taxpayer monies collected by any means that is dedicated to educating school age children K-12.

J.B. Stoner-(the white one)

April 10th, 2011
10:43 am

Tommy, sorry to report that ‘Dr. Stan passed away about 10 days ago……….. True story, I know person who was neighbor of his.

catlady

April 10th, 2011
3:41 pm

Let’s start with reforming the retirement benefits of legislators, who get a year’s credit for the 3 months they work.

catlady

April 10th, 2011
3:47 pm

Anyone should be able to get a voucher for what they pay in school taxes, less $500 for basic infrastructure, to be used to educate their child(ren). So, if your school property taxes are 1200$ you get the princely sum of $700 to pay for the education of one, two, or however many kids you have. What you DON”T get is anyone else’s money in your voucher.

In my case, I pay less than $500 in school taxes, so I would get $0 to spend on educating my 3 kids. Gee, that gob’mint school doesn’t seem so bad now!

Michael H. Smith

April 10th, 2011
5:03 pm

Anyone should be able to get a voucher for what they pay in school taxes, less $500 for basic infrastructure,

Nope! That is unconstitutional under the equal protection clause. Equal portion vouchers of taxpayer funds to every school age child K-12. Most public school buildings have been paid for already. They start off with that infrastructure advantage and many more in addition.

Michael H. Smith

April 10th, 2011
5:28 pm

When is the “Social Justice” of “Equal Results” unjust in eyes of the Big GUB’MINT loving Socialist Liberals?

Whenever private sector capitalism is an “Equal Recipient” thereof !

Mooowhaaaaaaaa, ha, ha… that old Capitalism, those old Capitalists :cry:

WHY? RNC is Y

April 11th, 2011
7:30 am

retardo-rama

Michael H. Smith

April 11th, 2011
8:52 pm

Globally the U.S. ranks 3rd in education spending per student, the U.S. ranks 14th in the education results achieved among the other nations of the world.

Now comrade dear leader obumer and socialist liberal DNC Company want to spend-invest more money in education?

Not only do these foolish people want to spend more money, they want to spend it for an inferior service and product from a proven lousy failed GUB’MENT education system and they want to continue buying more of these same inferior services and products “EXCLUSIVELY” from the same lousy failed GUB’MENT education system, expecting and trying to convince the rest of us, that they will get a better outcome.

Retarded is, as retarded does; and anybody that would support increasingly paying more for inferior services and products from a proven lousy failed system is beyond the pale of defining an insane idiot: They are absolutely brain dead stupid.

jm

April 12th, 2011
1:05 pm

Glenn

April 12th, 2011
5:59 pm

A couple ideas from the reform debates on health care and social security might–just might–be helpful in these kinds of arguments about how best to structure and fund the teaching of kids. The first is associated with liberals, the other with conservatives. I’m thinking of the liberal notion of a “public option” in health policy and the conservative pursuit of “portability” in Social Security and pension benefits.

Whatever happens to “ObamaCare”, meanwhile some of the states have implemented a public option, not an “entitlement” but an opt-in for those whose care is not, for whatever reason, covered through private sector providers. Discussions of a public options often speak of “safety nets”, of a “basic level of care”, of “essential” care. Compared to the mature and fertile health care debate the education version is just entering the first trimester of a teen pregnancy, but each of these ideas already has a paternity claim in education policy. What would a safety net look like in public education? What would be “basic” service delivery in that sphere, what is “essential”? Most importantly, what if public education services were, like health services, but one option among many? How might that be operationalized, practically, legally, fiscally?

It seems fair to say that whereas in health care we find a spectrum of private options with yet only a few public ones, in schooling we have the reverse situation. Might the two service areas come to mirror one another ultimately in a similar mix of options both public and private? Liberals in both policy areas are working energetically to increase and improve alternatives within the public sector, but they are not so catholic as to extend their liberality to the increase and improvement of choice in the private realm.

That’s where conservatives, including classical liberals of the old school, come in. In in the interest of reforming health care coverage, Social Security and other pension benefits, conservatives promote “portability”, the means of retaining coverage or benefits when a worker changes jobs within one level of government (federal, state, local), or between levels of government, or between the public and private sectors. (Some of this is codified in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act [HIPAA], of 1996). But look at the potential implications for education!

In health hawks and Sosh-scurty skinflints want coverage and benefits attached to the employee and not the employer; similarly, our Michael H. Smith and others want school moneys attached the the school’s client (not to be confused with NEA) and not to the school. They both explore this idea of the portability of services at the juncture–in the teeth of the competition between–the public, governmental sector and the private, deeply personal one. (That’s why I quipped to Ragnar that there’s “a new civil war” lying in his definitional point about the statutory meaning of the term “public”–because those were the irrational passions of 1850-61: Who owes what to whom?)

The federalists among us, those who want a closer reading of the constitutional delineation of governmental powers, will remember that the national government has no more bid’ness legislating health services than it has in pedagogical affairs (unless the states insist upon violating an individual’s constitutional protections). Still, I guess I’m what you’d call an educational pluralist. Education is the sport, choose your team. More the better, in fact. Better ‘n’ better, each of them, so much the better. So in pedagogy I think we can have a Public League and a Private League; I do think that we can fund them commonly to an extent; That we can do all this for less, and do it better.

First, though, we’d have to agree upon the rules, futzing with all attorneys excepting those here, fixing all jurists and fixing all politicians.

Glenn

April 12th, 2011
6:13 pm

I’d meant to recommend futzing with the esquires, FOXING the jurists and, as ever, fixing the pols until this educational debate takes in every engaged voter at least as much as the health care debate now does.

Glenn

April 13th, 2011
5:30 pm

@jm,

We’re gonna go see that film just to learn how anyone could think to dramatize that cumbersome book. Know what I mean? I’ve noticed for decades now that booksellers place that volume in shelves covering variously Fiction, Politics, Philosophy, Economics, and on and on.Hollywood sucks at translating to screen lit-as-lit. Last year some creative independents managed to cinematize poetry in the groundbreaking movie “Howl”, but I’d think that the scripting of Rand’s most ponderous book should be quite an uphill battle for the film people. Did they cop out, or have they found a new approach? If the latter, then the World’s our oyster. It might even be possible to make a popular film dramatizing the Declaration of the Pursuit of Happy Filmgoing.

Gonzo

April 13th, 2011
6:33 pm

You have to hand it to the Feds. Today the President saved nine billion dollars by not sending NASA to Venus. Venus had not especially interested anyone, least of all the planners at NASA, but just by rejecting Venutian spending the famously articulate president managed in a stroke to save taxpayers an estimated nine billion dollars. “We are not going where we cannot go,” stated acting White House spokesperson Wiley Gibber,” adding that the President thereby has added billions toward reduction of what is perceived as a multiplying deficit problem.

In a pre-campaign swing today through Dubuque, the President was noticeably confident. Asked about the proposed elimination of the Venus Program, he said only, “We’ll go later. Meanwhile, look at the money I saved!”

Ripshot

April 13th, 2011
6:36 pm

Q: Are we not going to Paris today?

A: No, today is the day we are not going to Brussels.

Glenn

April 13th, 2011
9:06 pm

With th the hope of change we will win the future!

carlosgvv

April 14th, 2011
8:36 am

The recent hand surgery at Emory certainly is a tremendous medical achivement. Unfortunately, this kind of medical treatment comes at a very high dollar cost. This is one of the main problems with health care insurance today. Who should be covered for all of these incredibly expensive procedures and who should pay for it? To make matters worse, it often is a question of who gets to live and who gets to die.

Glenn

April 14th, 2011
8:48 am

Good question. I should think that the people of the State and nation would wish to pool their resources in cases such as this one, but in other days we’d have underwritten such measures with nickel donations from schoolchildren, whereas now it’s wired by force of law. Kinda takes the humanity out of the thing. As Twain once quipped, “Compulsory education. [Hmn] that seems better than the other thing”. Point is, What is lost in the compulsion, the mandate?

Glenn

April 14th, 2011
8:54 am

Maybe this story from Emory illustrates a part of what’s best in our weird health care system. Maybe the opposite. I dunno. What do you think?

Glenn

April 14th, 2011
9:45 am

Oh. And @Michael H. Smith

It seems that you decry the 30-year move to federalize American education. I join you in opposing that move. A couple days ago I learned that under President Obama’s most recent proposals would have people in my elderly mother’s tax bracket paying $8,000/year to fund federal encroachments in education whilst I, in the next lower bracket, should pay a tenth as much and the rest, almost nothing. It seems clear to me that the President is a rank power maniac who regards education mainly as an opportunity for redistribution, if not retribution.

carlosgvv

April 14th, 2011
11:53 am

Glenn

Our health care system and the increasing number of wonders it brings is part of a brave new world. Money, in many cases, already decides who lives and dies. While this is appalling, when you consider the fantastic cost of some of these treatments it becomes clear that there will never be enough money to treat everyone. I guess the real question is how will the “have nots” respond to this in the future. Will they just accept it or riot?

Glenn

April 14th, 2011
1:46 pm

Very clear, carlosgvv. Helps me make sense of health policy, which is not my field. My only suggestion, as a lay person, is that the inevitable triage would be more honest and humane in proximity of the payer to the patient, if you see what I mean. While we don’t live in Capraland, still I don’t think we want the Canadian national government deciding who does or does not get her hand reattached. You remind me, however, of the sensitivity of these matters, so I should shut up.