Saturday, November 1

Talkin' with Macon

Macon left a good comment on Politics, esoterica and friends:
I have never understood the logic of comparing education spending to defense spending.

So we spend more on defense? So what? That critique has nothing do say about the quality of either.

But I can play the game, too: I spend more on Peanut M&Ms in a year than I do on jewelry for Kellsey. Now, tell me: is that bad?

The question around dollars and education and defense is: are we getting our money's worth? In defense, I leave that up to you, Sean. ;-) But I'd say being the most dominant military in the world means we might be getting some of our value out of the spending.
In public education? I think not, but I lay the blame squarely at the feet of a bloated bureaucratic superstructure and Teachers Unions, not because there is insufficient funding.
My reply (no caps b/c I started it in comment mode and then thought 'wait, this turned into a post!' ;-)
it seems obvious to me, Macon, that the comparison b/t defense and education is supposed to be a comparison of priorities (self-evidently bad priorities to those who make the argument). however, you make a very good point: it's not apples to apples.

we do have the world's biggest gun, and it is worth something, not only for our own defense but also for the elimination of great power war. no one is really challenging us as military superpower. China's growing their military, but they can't compete (eg, they have almost no expeditionary capability). Russia's trying to recapitalize, but the economic downturn and their Georgian aggression are limiting them somewhat.

(tangential point: at the same time, no, we're not getting our money's worth. taxpayer money could be invested much better, like all government enterprises (oh, wait. i'm playing right into your anti-tax hands! ;-))

the bloated bureaucratic superstructure applies to defense and education.

hypothesis: Sean's Law: more money is wasted the further away it gets from the taxpayer. discuss.

in my mind, the biggest problem with education is societal, especially the lack of interested, supportive, involved parents.


Macon said...

Truly: the military has a bloated bureaucratic superstructure. :-)

But it also has another pressure on it, that is absent from all other governmental bureaucratic superstructures: the threat of death.

This, i believe, has a bracing effect on the superstructure: that Big Gun had better work! And the feedback is real and, these days, immediately known on the ground. "Did we, or did we not take the objective?"

No such feedback loop in the education system.

But we would have a better one if we had vouchers. Because then parents could communicate most effectively to the bureaucrats via cash. Which, to them, is a kind of death in its absence.

Sean Meade said...

makes sense to me, Macon.

no comment on Sean's Law?!

Macon said...

Sean! What is there to discuss? You have found a universal constant! :-)

I put it up there with:
the Speed of Light

Macon said...

Also: please consider my anti-tax hands more as "open, welcoming arms".

Mine and the Boston Tea Party folks.

Jim said...

Parents end up uninvolved with education because the schools isolate them from the kids (and the educational process). This occurs at an increasing rate as the kids get older. If the intent is to produce a self sufficient adult at some point, fine; however, that is not the impression I get. It is rather a removing of parents from the educational equation...
NEA's Law: The State knows best.
I disagree, parents are essential to their child's education.
So I also disagree with Obama on this one. Further funding will not produce the results we are after.