One of their favorite arguments: “Why, we can’t trust the free market to educate our children — the very idea! The free market excels at many things, they say, but it does not guarantee education “equity” for our kids.
What is this “equity” public-school apologists talk about? It means a guarantee that all children get a “quality” education and “equal opportunity” to learn. “In the cruel free-market,” the public-school bureaucrat says, “the rich get the best schools, the middle class the mediocre, and poor kids get left in the dust.” That, they say, is not fair, not “equity.”
But why not apply their “equity” theory to food, clothing, and housing? Shouldn’t all homes, food stores, and clothing factories also be owned and operated by government to ensure “equity?” After all, the rich eat better, have warmer clothes, and live in finer homes than the poor or middle-class. That’s not fair, right?
No, it is fair.
In a free-market, those people who make more money than others usually earn it. They risk more, work harder, work smarter, persevere more, make better life decisions, or choose a profession that has greater opportunity to gain wealth. Why shouldn’t they enjoy the just fruits of their labor, of their character, of their life-decisions?
Also, what financially successful people earn is not taken from those who earn less. Is it the successful person’s fault the less successful do not work as hard, persevere as long, or make better decisions? If you seek blame for differences in people’s income, don’t place it on those who succeed. Blame it on life, on human nature.
Nature makes all men and women different — different talents, abilities, strengths, and weaknesses. It has always been this way since human beings came out of the trees and started walking upright. To stamp your foot at disparities of income is to stamp your foot at human nature, which is to stamp your foot at reality.
If “equity” for all people is our goal, then for every “inequality” between poor, middle-class, and rich people, whether in food, shelter, health care, or education, government must loot financially more successful people with taxes to remedy what they did not cause, and which is not their fault. This notion of “equity,” extended to all aspects of our life, will turn America into a socialist or Communist economic police state. In such a police state, the successful are punished and “leveled” by progressive income taxes, so that all of us end up miserably equal and equally miserable.
But this is an old story, the story called envy. The unhappy who hate the happy, the unsuccessful who hate the successful, all seeking to salvage their self-esteem by bringing down the ones they envy. The communist Soviets tried it for eighty years. The result — a shambles of poverty, slavery, and failure.
“But,” the equity lovers say, “why punish the children? Is it their fault their parents are poor?” No, it is not, but neither is it the fault of those who are not poor.
Even presuming we wanted this “equity” for our kids, have our government schools actually given children equal opportunity and “quality” education during their 150 years of control? Jeanne Chall, in her book, “The Academic Achievement Challenge,” sites grim statistics that 70 percent of inner-city 4th-graders read below grade level, that an exploding prison population is made up mostly of men whose reading and math skills are at or below the eighth-grade level. These are just the tip of the iceberg of statistics that prove the utter failure of government schools.
Public-school employees can have the best intentions in the world. So what? What matters is results. For all practical purposes, public schools therefore create only inequity for our children by giving them a third-rate education, especially inner-city kids. Our government-controlled public schools condemn millions of children to a lifetime of failure, while school officials mouth pious goals about creating education “opportunity” for all kids. Could our children be any worse off if public schools were scrapped, and low-cost, competent, free-market schools or tutors taught our kids?
In order to guarantee “equal education” for all children, you have to create a massive, public-school system to enforce this guarantee. Once a government monopoly takes control of your children’s education, quality education for your kids goes out the door. Demand education “equity” and we condemn millions of children to a miserable future.
In contrast, if we allow children’s natural love of learning to flourish and an education free-market to blossom, even poor kids, as generations of American immigrants have proven, become middle-class or even rich. Scrap the public schools and let school choice and open competition prevail, and most poor kids will finally get a quality education and rise to their highest potential.