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Bully Pulpit

The term "bully pulpit" stems from President Theodore Roosevelt's reference to the White House as a "bully pulpit," meaning a terrific platform from which to persuasively advocate an agenda. Roosevelt often used the word "bully" as an adjective meaning superb/wonderful. The Bully Pulpit features news, reasoned discourse, opinion and some humor.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Re: More school stuff

"Any entity that has competition always produces a better product."

So what's the problem with American car manufacturers? Wait, I know the answer! It’s those pesky labor rights organizations, right?

But really, I do agree with this statement. Private schools currently exist, which are competition for both public schools and each other. However, the vast majority of those that can afford to send their children to private schools do not. Are they missing something, or are their children's public school experiences like most of those that I've had during my all-public school education?

Steve sez: "First, we get the federal government out of education, mostly because it has no constitutional authority to be there in the first place, but also because it is grossly inefficient. Then we get local government to turn the schools over the private enterprise. The we go back to actually educating our children."

Yeah, that should be a piece of cake. While you're at it, maybe you can do something about our grossly inefficient postal service, too. I usually wait for 30 minutes for one grumpy clerk to hand me a book of stamps while three others wander around in the background, and I always send important and timely things via private enterprise (Fed Ex), certainly not Express Mail. But wait, the postal service does have constitutional authority to be there in the first place. I guess some needs and things change after 218 years, huh?

Hey — I have a great idea for the first truly 'corporate' school: Wal-Mart Academy. They could teach exclusively from the books they sell (from nothing offensive to their customers, of course). If your grades are under a C, then they just eject you from the classroom and straight to a cashier's position. The longer you keep your grades up, the greater chance you have to leave the world of retail and eventually, you'll graduate to Wal-Mart management. But if you fail, there's always a place for you as an 'Associate!'

Operator, get me Mr. Lee Scott in Bentonville, Arkansas ASAP!

Okay, enough sarcasm. Steve's above statement is a great example of why drastic ultra-conservative — or, for that matter, drastic ultra-liberal— ideas never materialize. They almost always require some massive and totally unrealistic change in the status quo.

It's a looooong stretch between our current public educational system and a corporate educational system. Any ideas on what would happen during such a transition? How would we even make such a transition without negative effects on current students?

Ending the public school system could easily be the final nail in the coffin of the American dream and an end to this place where 'rags to riches' stories really and regularly happen. Why? Well, I certainly respect any private school that would forgive tuition altogether for those that can't afford it, but what happens when a school is nothing but children whose parents can't afford the tuition? How long will it be around? And you can't say that wouldn't happen; after all, once a school is a business it's all about profit; there's no profit in a school of poor children. And do you think that the 'haves' will willingly send their kids to a school to subsidize the 'have-nots?' Yeah, right. Maybe they'll send love offerings here and there, but that can't be counted on. After all, now the ones that can will send their children to the best school money can buy, if they don't already.

"As for your assertion that any school must exist, the right to an education is a myth. That's like saying someone has a right to their welfare check."

Well, I don't know about you, but I live in a society, not in a bubble. The quality of life of others directly affects my quality of life. Giving everyone a fair shot — one that doesn't depend on whether a child's family can afford to send them to school or not — matters to me. But, oh yeah, I forgot: I must be a bleeding heart liberal for thinking such. My fault.


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