May 31 2010

Memorial Day

Category: freedom,friendship,God,liberty,love,military,society,virtueharmonicminer @ 8:30 am
I ran across this at Michelle Malkin’s site.
It is a tribute to a single soldier, but I think it stands for them all.

May 30 2010

One year anniversary of late term abortionist’s murder

Category: abortion,media,societyharmonicminer @ 12:15 pm

One year anniversary of late-term abortionist George Tiller (the baby killer’s) death by Jill Stanek

Pro-aborts have been paying tributes and are planning memorials.

Democrat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has read or will read a Tiller tribute statement on the Senate floor today.

For a donation of $75 the TX Equal Access Fund “will deliver a handmade card, flowers, and a basket of goodies” to your favorite abortion mill on May 31….

The George Tiller Abortion Fund has been established to subsidize late-term abortions.

At the Abortioneers blog Silky Laminaria recalled where s/he was the moment s/he learned Tiller had been killed, closing with a Tiller quote.

I’m sorry, and meaning no disrespect for the dead, but what exactly is that supposed to mean? The quote only reminds me of Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey.

NARAL has made a tribute video…

Jill Stanek goes on at the link above to discuss the ridiculous commemoration of George Tiller as if he is some kind of hero, instead of a killer of babies.  It’s worth reading it all.

May 29 2010

The end is near?

Category: humor,media,society,theologysardonicwhiner @ 8:42 am

These truly are the end times.

The Fox show 24 is going off the air, having just broadcast its finale episode this week.

LOST is going off the air, too, with a finale episode this week.

I read somewhere that Ghost Whisperer, that paean to bad theology and ambiguous afterlife, is also going off the air.

And the show Numb3rs is going off the air.  I read somewhere that over the six seasons it aired, 666 murders were investigated (about five per show?), and at least 20 people survived non-survivable head wounds.  Besides that, the mathematical genius brother of the FBI agent seems to have had a relationship with numbers that can only be described as…  mystical.  Makes you wonder.  Was the show giving away the secrets of the apocalypse?

I’ve always wondered why Ghost Whisperer hasn’t featured an episode with all the terrorists that Jack Bauer killed on 24, but that’s just me.

So, my theory.

24 is going off the air.  That’s because Jack has already knocked off all the terrorists, and there won’t be time for any more to appear before the final apocalypse.

Ghost Whisperer is going off the air because all the dead people have already shuffled off to wherever they’re going, and there aren’t going to be any more dead people before the apocalypse, at which point talking to ghosts will be kind of pointless.

LOST is going off the air because pretty soon we’re all going to know exactly who is lost, and who isn’t.

Numb3rs is leaving us because it was just giving away too many hints about what the number 666 really means.  When I have some time I’m going to do a numerological analysis of the title of the show.  I’ll bet there is something encoded there, hiding in plain sight….

But when a bunch of long running shows are canceled all at once, including some with pretty good ratings…..  you have to wonder.  What are they trying to keep from us?  What secrets would have been revealed in the next episodes, if only they’d stayed on the air?

And finally, one other observation: almost no one is buying real estate these days, so almost no one is in escrow.  Since escrow is an eternal state (escrows never end), if no one is in escrow, then that means all escrows have ended.  But that means we must be at the end-times.  Well, the beginning of the end-times.  I suppose people with the mark of the beast might still be in escrow, still being able to buy and sell.

The proliferation of 2012 disaster movies is just a premonition of things to come even sooner.

Maybe even before the 2010 elections.  We’ll know if Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid switch parties and become tea-baggers before November.

I’m predicting that the CW show Supernatural will have just one more season….  if that.  It seems that it’s getting harder and harder to put makeup on Satan.

So….  think of the current life on Earth as a very long running show that is about to be canceled, having been failing in the ratings lately.  Rumor has it that the studio Chief Executive sent in a Trouble-Shooter a couple-thousand years ago, but the production company has mostly failed to see reason, and is ignoring His advice.  The show was almost canceled once before, early in its run, when really bad weather interfered with the shooting schedule.

Better store water, food and ammo.  And gold.  Lots of gold.  Not that it will do you any good in the long run, but since you may be left standing around after the rapture (you can come to my house and move in, if you can find it, since my family and I are expecting to be on permanent vacation), you may find some temporal preparations useful.

Include a Bible in your stores.

You’ll be more interested in reading it then than you may be now.

May 28 2010

Parenthood changes you

Category: family,societyharmonicminer @ 8:13 am

In The Difference Being a Parent Makes, Al Mohler makes some interesting observations about Steve Jobs’ decision not to market “porn apps” for the iPad:

Political scientists and sociologists long ago came to the realization that one of the most significant indicators of political behavior is parenthood. Those who bear responsibility to raise children look at the world differently from those who do not. In fact, parenthood may be the most easily identifiable predictor of an individual’s position on an entire range of issues.

Parenthood by married parents both living at home is an even better predictor. Single mothers still go pretty left as an average, on a range of issues, reflecting in how they vote, among other things… but Mohler’s point isn’t without weight.

Now, along comes Steve Jobs to prove the point. Jobs, the Maestro of Cool at Apple, recently engaged in a most interesting email exchange with Ryan Tate, who writes the “Valleywag” blog for the gossip Web site, Gawker.

On his initial email to Steve Jobs, Tate complained about what he described as a lack of freedom in Apple’s approach to the approval of products for its “App Store” for iPods, the iPhone, and the iPad. “If Dylan was 20 today, how would he feel about your company?,” Tate asked. “Would he think the iPad had the faintest thing to do with ‘revolution?’ Revolutions are about freedom.”

Apparently, Tate was upset about some of the restrictions put in place by Apple. Among those restrictions is a ban on pornography.

Steve Jobs threw Ryan Tate’s definition of freedom right back at him. Is Apple about freedom? “Yep,” said Jobs, “freedom from programs that steal your private data. Freedom from programs that trash your battery. Freedom from porn. Yep, freedom. The times they are a changin’.”

One of the interesting dimensions of Steve Jobs’ leadership at Apple is his habit of answering selected emails personally. It appears that Ryan Tate’s complaint got under Jobs’ skin. It is even more apparent that Jobs’ response irritated Ryan Tate.

“I don’t want freedom from porn,” Tate asserted. “Porn is just fine.” Jobs sent back a remarkably insightful retort, informing Ryan Tate that he “might care more about porn when you have kids.”

Even if Jobs decision is “pure business” and not based on a personal preference of his own, namely not to market easily available porn apps to kids, it is still remarkable that he was so transparent in his observation that Tate might feel differently about the matter if he had kids.

Young people are all about freedom.  They want to do what they want to do, and they don’t want to be told different.  Of course there will be exceptions, but the pattern is clear.  For this purpose, I consider most adults before late middle age who have no children to be “young people,” again with many exceptions.  I simply observe that you aren’t really a grown up, in most cases, until there is someone in your life whose welfare is WAY more important than yours, and for whom you are chiefly responsible.  I include in the list of “grown ups” many people who really, really want children…  but for some reason can’t have them.  And also, it’s fair to include in the list of “grown ups” those people whose lives really are mostly about service and caring for others, priests, ministers, etc.

If you don’t have kids, and think you belong on the “grown up” list, fine, I won’t argue with you.  But I think it’s a fair observation that parenthood changes you.  It reforms the habits of your mind.  You find yourself looking at a great many aspects of our culture through an entirely different lens, one which is focused on the welfare of someone for whom you are responsible, and whose outcomes matter enormously to you.  You find that your freedom seems less important to you than your kids well-being.

You may notice that much of the freedom you so prized in your unfettered, pre-parenting state is now less than worthless to you…  and further, you may find that a culture that encouraged you to exercise that freedom now seems threatening to your children.

I know a lot of people who lived pretty “free” lives, right up until they had kids.  And then, one day, they saw something on TV, something that had never bothered them before, took a look at their child taking it all in….  and changed the channel.  And then blocked it.  And then went and looked in the mirror and wondered about themselves.

Another thing I’ve noticed is that parenthood makes you start thinking about eternal things a bit more, even if you hadn’t been too concerned about it up to that point.  If you really, truly love your children, sooner or later you’re going to wonder how you’d handle it if one of them predeceased you.  And that makes you start wondering what meaning their life would have had if they died young.  And that opens the door to serious consideration of all kinds of very important questions.

God has ways of getting our attention, even if we’re hard of hearing. 

And a little child shall lead them.

May 27 2010

It’s time to take action! Part TWO

Category: government,humorharmonicminer @ 8:26 am

In “It’s time to take action!  Part ONE” I discussed the need for the government to be appearing to take action to solve problems, even when the solution is outside the government’s sphere of competence.

The oil is still leaking in the Gulf, about a mile under water.  BP doesn’t seem to be able to, uh, put a lid on it.  So, in the spirit of taking federal action whenever possible, whenever there is the slightest chance that it might work, I offer some ways Obama and his armies of federal experts could solve this new “oil crisis.”

1)  Fill lots and lots of ships with lots and lots of big rocks, and lob them over the side above the leak.  There’s a reasonable chance that one or more of them will land on the leak, and plug it.  (Note the parallel to lobbing federal money out of the federal financial cannon at whatever problem comes along.)

2)  Along the way, in the spirit of federal inter-agency cooperation (the kind the CIA doesn’t give the FBI), why not haul the rocks out there in decommissioned naval ships that are just taking up space in a harbor somewhere (space that Obama’s rich, New England liberal yacht-owning friends could be using for their floating palaces).  Then, after lobbing the rocks over the side, Obama could have the ships sunk on the spot.  The ships might land on the rock that plugged the leak, and hold it down, plus there is the environmental plus of providing the structure for the growth of a new coral reef.

3)  Just to build on the idea, Obama could send along the conservative Republican caucus of the House, ostensibly on a fact-finding tour, to observe the rocks being hurled over the side…  then sink the ships with the right-wing bigots still on board, in a regrettable accident that could probably be blamed on BP.  The New York Times would probably find out, eventually, that it wasn’t an accident, but no worries.  They’d never publish the story, since its publication would do no harm to national security.  Now that I think of it, the New York Times knows a great deal about leaks….  maybe someone should ask them what to do.

4)  In a parallel idea, Obama could order the scuttling of nuclear subs he thinks the US shouldn’t own anyway.  One of them might hit the leak and plug it.

5)  Obama could consider tossing Michael Moore over the side, followed by Rosie O’Donnell  and Sheila Jackson Lee.  When the water pressure flattens them to an inch thickness, they’ll have the density of a neutron star, surely enough to plug the leak.  I’m guessing, though, that Michael Moore will be more than sufficient to do the job.

6)  Obama could offer the oil to China, if they can figure out a way to get it and stop the leak.  They’re very industrious people.  After all, they built the Great Wall.  China is eager to drill in the Caribbean.  Maybe then China would help us keep North Korea out of trouble.  There’s an added bonus here:  when China burns the oil, adding to global warming, Obama has even more talking points to point the finger at China in front of the UN.  Not that he’d use them.  He’d probably send somebody to apologize to the Chinese for not delivering the oil to them directly.

7)  Since Obama is canceling and mothballing the Space Shuttle fleet, why spend the money on storage where moth and rust doth corrupt?  Instead, get the Space Shuttle up into orbit one last time, then crash it into the Caribbean, right above the oil leak, at about Mach 25 or something (remotely piloted, naturally, unless Obama could get John McCain to fly it).  It wouldn’t do much good, of course (how many federal programs do?), but it would be spectacular, and it would be clear evidence of serious federal commitment to solving the problem, and, who knows, a piece of the main engine might survive intact and plug the leak.

8)  Even better:  why not simply set off a couple of large nukes on the sea floor above the leak?  The melted slag, underwater, would be sure to plug whatever leak there was, and the mile-deep water would prevent any serious above-water effects.  Might make one good surfable wave in Galveston.  But no tsunamis.  Just not enough energy.  (Mother Nature and her undersea quakes continue to dwarf any puny nuke.)  In fact, maybe we could do this in concert with the Russians.  This could be part of the nuclear disarmament process, and the peaceful use of nuclear power.  Of course, it would take a ten year study by the UN and the EPA to decide if it was “safe”….  as if ten years of oil leaking would be safer.

9)  Offer a ten billion dollar prize to the company that figures out how to solve this, and similar subsequent problems that may develop.  Oops… that sounds just a bit too much like a market based, competitive solution.  I don’t know what I was thinking.

10)  Stop the stupid drilling in mile deep water tens of miles off the cost, and drill closer in where it’s easier to manage, and, paradoxically, safer.  Better yet, drill on land where we know there is plenty of oil (so what if there’s an oil leak?).  And build about two hundred nuclear plants, streamline the permit process, and have congress remove the legal footing for the endless lawsuits that plague any nuclear startup in the US.

While the previous two options will take some time, and may have nothing much to do with solving the immediate problem, you could try this, Mr. President.  How about having the next White House BBQ in the Caribbean, on the White House yacht?   If there isn’t one, there certainly should be, in the Imperial Presidency.  You’ll have plenty of fuel to cook the meat.  You can BBQ a couple of BP execs while you’re at it.  Maybe Chavez will drop by and you can apologize to him for cooking with Caribbean oil.

11)  One more idea:  just set the whole oil slick on fire.  It gets hot in the Caribbean, and I’m sure they could use the shade from the inevitable smoke.  It might even slow global warming to put so much smoke in the air, blocking the sun.

12)  One more option, for NASA.  If NASA wants to make the case for more funding, why doesn’t it go get a smallish asteroid, say, 50 feet wide or so, and drop in the Caribbean at Mach 25 (call this Plan B of the Space Shuttle suggestion earlier)?  There would be a small wave, but nothing on the order of a hurricane surge, and it might penetrate the mile of water and plug the hole.  And if not, the heat of the impact might burn off a lot of the oil slick.  Better warn small boats to stay away.  Invite the Cuban and Venezuelan navies, though.  NASA would be sure to get a budget increase out of this.

BTW:  whatever happened to all the talk about oil-eating engineered bacteria?  Maybe they’re still in the testing phase.  This seems like a good opportunity for a real-world trial, if so.

Come to think of it, I haven’t heard much about Michael Moore lately.  I’ll bet those oil consuming bacteria are smiling.  And looking well fed.

May 26 2010

It’s time to take action! Part ONE

Category: education,environment,government,healthcareharmonicminer @ 9:34 am

As slick spreads, so does frustration

The White House is being pounded for not acting more aggressively in the month-old oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. The administration is hitting back, mostly at BP. Louisiana is threatening to take matters into its own hands. The truth is, the government has little direct experience at either the national or state level at stopping deepwater oil leaks, and few realistic options.

“As the administration is being pounded,” eh? This is “pounding?” I invite the writer of this particular opinion piece to go back and review the press coverage of Katrina. Now, that was an administration getting pounded.

With the oil flowing and spreading at a furious rate, President Barack Obama has accused BP of a “breakdown of responsibility.” He named a special independent commission to review what happened.

But the administration seems to want to have it both ways, insisting it’s in charge while also insisting that BP do the heavy lifting. The White House is arguing that government officials aren’t just watching from the sidelines, but also acknowledging there’s just so much the government can do directly.

The problem here is that the administration is having a hard time being seen as doing something. 

When somebody didn’t have health coverage at a price they were willing to pay, the government could DO something.  What it did is incomprehensible, incoherent, and incompetent…  but it’s going to be a few years before the degree to which this is true is manifestly undeniable, so, for now, some people give the feds credit for at least having done something….  though the numbers of such people appear to be dropping daily.

Is somebody out of work?  Hey, the government is spending billions and billions and billions on makework projects (did you know you can create a $50,000 per year job for only half-a-million bucks of federal money?), unemployment benefit extensions, and shovel ready projects of all kinds (I have dogs…  so I have a few shovel ready projects I wouldn’t mind federal funding for…  and they’d do about as much good for the economy).

Are some children mentally disabled?  Let’s create a federal law that imposes on the states an enormous bureacracy whose net effect is to send an army of expensively educated people with Master’s degrees to work in small classes (or even private lessons!) trying to teach 3rd grade arithmetic to 15 yr olds who have no chance of ever remembering a significant amount of the instruction, let alone using it for anything.  Let’s make federal laws that force states to create educational policy by lawsuit, so that one parent sues under new federal law, and the entire state’s approach changes, very expensively, as a result.  And let’s remember to reserve names like “mean-spirited” and “cold-hearted” for anyone who thinks perhaps this isn’t a wise use of public resources.  In the meantime, let’s continue to complain about how financially strapped the state and county education establishments are.

At least we’re trying to do something.

So, just to get in the spirit of things, tomorrow (or the next day), I’ll be posting some suggestions for things the Obama Administration could do immediately to stop the Gulf oil leak.  Not that I’m promising any of them will actually work.  But one of them might….  and we have to try, don’t we?

May 25 2010


Category: Uncategorizedharmonicminer @ 4:21 pm

Oops, I just discovered that I inadvertently published a post too soon, that was meant for two days from now, because it’s part two of what I am posting tomorrow.  So I just pulled it, but, no worries, if you’re really missing it, it will be back in two days, in the proper order.

Of course, by then it may be obsolete, since it’s about the BP oil spill, and rumor has it they may be trying to cap it tomorrow…  but somehow I’m not worried.

May 25 2010

Something the feds can’t do?

Category: Uncategorizedharmonicminer @ 8:46 am

At last, the Obama administration admits there is something beyond the competence of the federal government.

It can run one of the largest auto manufacturing companies in the world, it can take over US healthcare, it can slow the rise of the seas (well, so Obama claimed, anyway), it can micromanage countless aspects of industries and businesses, large and small, it can dictate all manner of educational policies and mandates, but the  Government can’t push BP aside on the Gulf oil spill

The Obama administration’s point man on the oil spill rejected the notion of removing BP and taking over the crisis Monday, saying the government has neither the company’s expertise nor its deep-sea equipment.”To push BP out of the way, it would raise the question, to replace them with what?” Coast Guard Commandant Thad Allen, who is heading the federal response to the spill, said at a White House briefing.

The White House is facing increasing questions about why the government can’t assert more control over the handling of the catastrophe, which unfolded after a BP offshore drilling rig blew up April 20.

The thing is, the federal government doesn’t know any more about running the nation’s healthcare system, or making GM productive and profitable, or stopping “global warming,” or “managing environmental issues,” or improving education, or growing the economy by dint of positive government action, than it does about capping undersea oil wells, which is a fairly straightforward problem by comparison.  It has had to bow to expertise in private hands, expertise that it does not possess.

It’s a pity that Obama doesn’t have the same accurate self-regard with respect to these other issues, which are simply beyond the sphere of the federal government in general, and Obama and his cronies in particular.  They are truly in over their heads.  They seem to think they can tread water and swim to the shallow end and just touch bottom….  but I think perhaps the water Obama is in is deeper than the uncapped BP oil well in the Gulf.

Don’t get me wrong.  I know there are many smart people in government.  I’m even willing to admit that Obama hired some of them, though presumably only those committed to his ideology, naturally.  The problem is that no one is smart enough, and no one knows enough, nor does any group know enough (not that “groups” know anything, as groups, since they rarely manifest the wisdom of their wisest members) to manage in detail something like the economy, or the health-care system, which simply depend on too many people making too many decisions for too many reasons for anyone to definitively grasp, or quantitatively manipulate, without creating great problems.  Read Hayek, and understand that his argument isn’t just that governments shouldn’t try to manage the economy as much as it is that they can’t, and therefore governments produce effects that are worse than the problems they’re trying to solve, when they try to create particular outcomes.  When they fail, as they inevitably do, they create even greater problems, and frequently greater evil, in trying to make things come out a certain way, anyway.

It isn’t long before governments start to pretend that things have turned out as they planned (the “war on poverty” has really worked out well, hasn’t it?), and then they do even more evil.  Or, sometimes worse, they double down on failed policies, and do even more damage.

When “everyone has healthcare,” who will be responsible for the deaths that occur due to rationing, shortages, and waits, not to mention research that doesn’t happen because the profit incentive is removed?  No one…  because everyone will “have” access to healthcare.  If they live so long.  That is exactly the situation in many nations with some form of nationalized healthcare.  And there is even less chance of getting it right when government is trying to manage the entire economy, not “just” healthcare.

Only the broadest kinds of decisions are appropriate for government in areas like this, not the micro-managing of specific rules, regulations and policies that typically issue forth from Washington, D.C.

The most important thing the feds can do is simply enforce contracts, general rule of constitutional law, and encourage open markets.  But there is always some interest group or other, buying and selling influence, and so it goes, since too many legislators, bureaucrats, and presidents are essentially for sale, though the coin isn’t always money, of course.  Somebody is always willing to distort the system and the process to produce a particular outcome, and even when they mean well, it’s often disastrous, such as the 2008 housing debacle, which flowed from years of trying to pretend that the laws of economics don’t exist.

So it’s refreshing when the government admits it has no idea how to cap an oil leak.  Sadly, it seems to have no desire whatsoever to cap the federal money leak, and that’s going to do more than kill some birds, fish, and seaweed, or disrupt some vacations.

May 24 2010

More potpouri

Racializing the news

It’s unseasonably cold at my house today, too.  It snowed this morning, a little, very unusual for this time of the year.

Why Israel Can’t Rely on American Jewish “Leaders”

This is what passes for “leadership” in American Jewry. A kabuki dance is orchestrated by an Obama fan to gather other Obama fans to air the mildest criticism and to avoid challenging the factual representations of an administration that is the most hostile to the Jewish state in history. As one Israeli hand who definitely isn’t going to be invited to any meetings with this president put it: “They may be fine rabbis, but they are out of their league here.” And by not directly and strongly taking on the president, they are, in fact, enabling the president’s anti-Israel stance. It is, come to think of it, more than an embarrassment; it is an egregious misuse of their status and it is every bit as dangerous as the quietude of American Jews in the 1930s.


Read Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy first, then read The Cost of Discipleship… again, if you’ve read it before, through the lens of knowing more about Bonhoeffer.

Apple removes app showing “violent and hateful passages from The Qur’an”; anti-Bible, anti-Christian app still on sale

May 23 2010

“Freeing up teachers’ futures”

Category: Uncategorizedharmonicminer @ 8:17 am

One of the best theories I’ve heard for improving the state of education in America is Improving schools by paying teachers to leave:

I read about a school principal who disliked saying she was firing staff. She preferred the phrase “freeing up teachers’ futures.” That is sort of what Hoover Institution economist Eric A. Hanushek is saying we should do with any new school bailout: use it to pay severance packages for ineffective teachers so they can find their true calling elsewhere.

That is one of several provocative suggestions made by Hanushek on Education Week’s [bias alert-I am on their board] latest back page commentary, “Cry Wolf! This Budget Crunch Is for Real.”

Hanushek is good at being constructively outrageous, like many scholars strolling among the eucalyptus trees in the shadow of Hoover Tower. I gave a rave review last year to his great book with a terrible title, “Schoolhouses, Courthouses, and Statehouses.” This new piece continues his habit of waving uncomfortable realities in our faces, even as we face the prospect of major teacher layoffs.

He summarizes his plan for turning school budget cuts and more federal bailout funds into an opportunity to improve the teaching ranks: “The first-best solution, based on several decades of consistent research findings, is to lay off ineffective teachers selectively while letting class sizes drift up a bit,” he writes. “When the bailout ends, schools would be in a stronger financial position because the permanent teacher workforce would be reduced by the slightly larger class sizes, and this workforce would be of higher quality.”

Hanushek puts his ideas together in a more elegant way than I have, but you get the idea. My first problem with his solution, as he recognizes, is that we are not really sure which teachers are effective and which are not. Most districts have no dependable way to find out.

That’s very true. Further, things aren’t much different in colleges and universities. Yes, there are all kinds of “assessment” systems, ranging from student evaluations compared with national norms to assessments by colleagues and administrators, sometimes even including “objective” measures of student learning with pre-tests and post-tests, “authentic” assessment based on portfolios of student work, scholarly or creative activity of the faculty, etc.  But little of this seems to produce much discernible outcome in the ability to say who is or is not teaching well.  No evaluation systems has yet been devised that cannot be gamed, and a part of the professional development of any faculty member is learning how to do so.

I think the problem of “fixing” education, especially public K-12 education, is akin to the problem of “fixing” the ailing automotive industry in the USA.  That is, no one is smart enough to do it, from the position of a top-down mandate, some new policy directive, or set of directives, that will do the job.   The problems involve too many competing interests, too many misplaced incentives, and too many political forces and special interests, chief among which are the unions and the edu-lobby.

So here is the fix I have in mind.  Don’t fix it.  In fact, stop trying to make it better nationally, via national policy.  The drop in educational effectiveness in the USA is pretty well mapped with the rise of the federal education bureaucracy, if one were to plot a curve of each.  It is an inverse relationship: that is, the more federal dollars have been spent, with federal strings attached, the worse education has become, on average.

So, my humble recommendation, for what it’s worth: repeal every federal education law.  Every single one.  The only exception would be the laws that forbid forced segregation of schools.  Then get rid of the federal Department of Education.  Turn it all back to the states.  Whatever money the feds have been sending to the states should be cut off.  If the states need more money, they can solve it on a state by state basis.  Let the states have control of what they spend, and how they spend it.  I’m guessing that with federal mandates removed, many states will discover that they have enough money to do what they choose to do, since federal money is only about 10% of the national education budget, and since the federal mandates, mostly “unfunded”, amount to a higher percentage than that of state spending.

States might want to consider repealing many of their own education laws, and letting counties and school districts manage things locally.  I have the feeling that a great many counties could solve more of their education problems if they had more room in which to maneuver, unhampered by federal and state mandates, policies, restrictions and assorted impositions.

Yes, if we do this, things won’t be “equal” from state to state, or district to district.  But things aren’t “equal” now anyway, and we are so deep in the muck of disincentives to excellence that it’s impossible to see a way out.

The problem is similar to the comparison of central economic planning to free market capitalism.  As Hayek pointed out, no one is smart enough to do the planning, because no one, individual or central committee, can ever know enough to do it.  This is true for our education mess.

If states and districts had more freedom, they could experiment with various ways of “freeing up teacher’s futures.”

In the meantime, the number of public school teachers who either homeschool their own kids, or send them to private schools, continues to grow.  There is a reason, and it is clear they know something about the reality on the ground.

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