Thursday, August 21, 2008

George Will, Paternalistic Schools, and Liberalism

George Will's column today is about a marvelous little (only 200 students) inner-city charter school, being run by a Native American who made a fortune in real estate, then decided to do Good Works. The teachers, Will tells us, come from "come from places such as Harvard, Dartmouth, Oberlin, Columbia, Berkeley, Brown and Wesleyan." Needless to say, the school is excellent.

What it isn't - and someone with half a brain could see this, but that manifestly excludes Will - is a solution for what ails our schools.

The problem is replicability. Let's take a city with a population of 1,000,000. It has, say, 150,000 school-age children. Will's model school has 200 students. You'd need 750 such schools for this one city.

Now, where are you going to get 750 school administrators who have the smarts and drive to make a fortune in the business world, but would rather run a school, let alone several thousand grads of elite schools to teach at them?

And that's just one city. Now scale that up to the level of the U.S.A.

You'd think George Will would be able to think this through. You'd be wrong.

According to Will, what stands in the way of this movement of "paternalistic schools" curing the ills of America's public school system is, of course, the Usual Culprits: teachers' unions, Democrats, liberals:
Unfortunately, powerful factions fiercely oppose the flourishing. Among them are education schools with their romantic progressivism....Other opponents are the teachers unions and their handmaiden, the Democratic Party. Today's liberals favor paternalism -- you cannot eat trans fats; you must buy health insurance -- for everyone except children. Odd.
The funny thing is, you know where I first heard about this movement? In approving posts in lefty blogs.

To quote Will, "Well."

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