Los Angeles Unified School District has stumbled upon a revolutionary concept in disciplining young schoolchildren: Maybe don’t treat them the way the police department treats parolees? That is to say, LAUSD is pulling back on responding to common child misbehavior with police citations. From theLos Angeles Daily News:
Starting Dec. 1, elementary and some middle school students in Los Angeles Unified will no longer receive police citations for most misbehavior.
According to the new policy, Los Angeles School Police will refrain from writing criminal citations for infractions such as fighting and writing on desks, instead turning students to school officials for campus-based punishment that is more in line with their age and nature of the violations.
“This is an important step, but it also raises concerns that there is more to be done,” said Manuel Criollo, director of organizing for the nonprofit Community Rights Campaign, an L.A. group that has lobbied for the decriminalization of many school-based offenses. “Some of this should be common sense, and the next thing is to expand it in the middle schools. Thirteen- and 14-year-olds should also be covered by this.”
This “new policy” smells remarkably old actually, like how schools handled discipline when those of us who are adults now attended school. Officials have finally realized that treating students like criminals discourages them from doing things like attending school (important, because that’s how school funding is determined):
The directive from LAUSD Police Chief Steven Zipperman asks school-based officers to look at misbehavior of students under the age of 13 as a teaching opportunity rather than a reason to hand out citations that could discourage them from attending class altogether.
If a ticket is issued, officers should have an articulated reason for doing so, as well as the permission of a supervisor. The policy does not cover possession of contraband.
The Community Rights Campaign calculated that school police have handed out more than 4,700 citations to students under the age of 14 for the 2012-13 school year.
This is just mind-blowing. The cop arrests this man because he challenged the idea that he, as a father, had higher claim over his children than the state. And because the father - who was not being aggressive - would not concede to the cop’s ramblings, the cop arrested him. Watch the video, but only if you don’t mind getting upset.
As I noted yesterday with regards to a different issue: if this were a non-state school and private security, this would not happen.
A Tennessee man was arrested yesterday for trying to pick his special needs kids up from school. The school wanted the parents to sign a form to allow their children to walk home “unsupervised.”
Naturally these parents questioned the safety of this new policy. They went to school and called the Sheriff’s department to voice their concern over the new policy, when one of the officers begins his power trip.
At one point the father cites the law that allows for him to pick up his children when school is out. The officer then has the audacity to tell the father, “Yes, school is out you can pick up your child, but it doesn’t say when, now, does it?” I’ll be damned if some bureaucrat on a power trip is going to tell me when I can and cannot have access to my children.
Soon after the cop is made to look like the tyrant fool that he is, he does what all cops do when backed into a legal corner, arrests someone.
A Los Angeles school teacher has pleaded guilty to a series of heinous abuses against his students, including blindfolding them and feeding them cookies laced with his semen.
Elementary school teacher Mark Berndt pleaded guilty on Friday to abusing 30 students at Miramonte Elementary School for the last two decades. Berndt was caught after a photo technician reported dozens of blindfolded third graders in photographs he was developing for Berndt. When investigators searched Berndt’s classroom, they found semen on a spoon in a trash bin. Berndt had been feeding his students cookies laced with his own semen.
After being removed from the classroom in 2011, Berndt was paid $40,000 by the school district to drop the appeal of his suspension. The school district has already settled 63 cases relating to the abuse, with 71 still pending.
The guilty plea calls for Berndt to spend 25 years in prison.
"He’s going to jail essentially for the rest of his life," the attorney for the students and their parents told the Associated Press. "You can’t ask for more than that."
The school district had received reports of Berndt abusing students since the 1990s, but did not act until the the police intervened.
So for those of you following at home, this teacher was abusive to students for 30 years. The school district ignored reports of abuse until the police got involved, and when he was finally fired, the school district (read: taxpayers) paid him $40,000 to drop his appeal.
Then there’s this teacher who tied a student’s hands together and tried to tape her mouth shut:
A high school teacher has been suspended for allegedly taping a student’s hands together and then trying to tape her mouth shut. Greg Sims, a science teacher at Lake Brantley High School in Altamonte Springs, Florida, will be suspended without pay for five days.
According to Superintendent Walt Griffin, Sims “taped a student’s hands together, attempted to tape her mouth closed as a means of addressing her disturbing the class and taped her book bag to a pole in the classroom.” Griffin also notes that Sims’ behavior was “unacceptable conduct” and “egregious” for a professional educator.
Yet this is not the first time Sims has been in trouble for misbehavior. In 1999, he was sent an official warning letter, in 2001 he was suspended without pay for “embarrassing students,” in 2005 he was again warned for calling a female student a “derogatory name,” and in 2008 he was suspended without pay for “repeated misconduct” and “embarrassing students.” All three suspensions stem from charges of embarrassing female students.
The school-district spokesman, Mike Lawrence, said that Sims would “likely” face firing if he has any more trouble when he returns to the classroom next week. Which is good because they should definitely wait and see if the behavior is part of a pattern before jumping to any permanent conclusions.
So this guy also has a long history of abuse, and his punishment here is a five-day suspension. And the most the school district offers is that he would “likely” face firing if he abuses students again.
Look, there are crazies in this world. There are bullies and jerks and evil-doers in all walks of life. But in a private setting, this kind of abuse would not be tolerated. If these were private schools, there would be no way school management would keep this kind of teacher on staff. Such teachers would be a deterrent to potential students and parents (the school doesn’t get paid if no one is enrolled), and it opens the school up to expensive liability.
With government-run schools, the priorities are reversed. Enrollment is based on a regional monopoly, and funding is essentially guaranteed. The unions, in turn, prioritize teachers over students - and make it all but impossible to fire poor or abusive teachers.
And sometimes this leads to dead children.
We see this kind of thing all the time with police, as criminal cops get slaps on the wrist and paid time off. Such is the unholy matrimony of unions and the government: unions need not appeal to the masses who actually foot the bill, they only need to placate the inherently corrupt politicians and bureaucrats who make the actual decisions. And when things are turned to voters, concentrated benefits dictate that those who gain most (unions) are more motivated to vote than those whose losses are dispersed among many. And everyone else is easily duped with cries about “public safety” and “for the children.”
"As with any service business, there’s a natural feedback system built-in that is obscured by government interference: school administrators would be sensitive to making sure parents’ demands are fulfilled. In a free market in education, schools face the risk of losing students if they don’t fulfill [certain] demands."
Privatization, a free market in education, is what is required:
[H]aving locally controlled schooling… forces schools to compete for students and thus lets parents hold the teachers and administration accountable. …
[S]ince no taxpayers would be on the hook for a penny, only the parents [and guardians and students] - and not the public at large or bureaucrats or union leaders - have a say.
The best schools will produce the best adults, and that’s where the parents will send their children. The bad schools will go out of business. The rich can already opt out of bad schools, so why not dismantle the infrastructure that keeps the poor from doing the same?
Empowering the consumers fosters competition, which means greater accountability, lowered costs, increased access, and better catering to specific demands.
Which means abusive teachers aren’t very likely to continue their behavior for years…
A word of caution for kids heading off to college this year: Your degree may be worth less and cost more than you think. Your job prospects will likely be grim, whether or not you get that sheepskin. Oh, and you’re on the hook for trillions in federal debt racked up by your parents and grandparents.
Washington has willfully ignored the looming crisis of entitlement spending, knowingly consigning young Americans to a future of crushing debt, persistent underemployment, and burdensome regulation. Politicians on both sides of the aisle share the blame.
This summer, Congress made a big bipartisan show of cutting student loan rates to 3.4 percent from an already artificially low 6.8 percent. But even that seemingly helpful gesture will wind up hurting the Americans it claims to help. Federal student aid, whether in the form of grants or loans, is the main factor behind the runaway cost of higher education. Subsidies raise prices, leading to higher subsidies, which raise prices even more. This higher education bubble, like the housing bubble before it, will eventually pop. Meanwhile, large numbers of students will graduate with more debt than they would have in an unsubsidized market.
And when those new, debt-laden graduates head out into the labor market with their overpriced diplomas, they may not be able to find a job. …[F]ewer than half of Americans today between the ages of 18 and 25 are employed. For those in that cohort actively on the job market, the unemployment rate is 16 percent, versus 6 percent for job-seekers aged 25 and above. …
[M]uch of the uncertainty that gets in the way of employers hiring new full-time workers can be traced to government policies.
Take the president’s health care law. Because ObamaCare requires employers with more than 50 workers to provide health insurance to all employees or pay a $2,000 penalty per worker, the law will likely increase the cost of current and future employees (those working at least 30 hours per week). There is increasing evidence that the new rules are leading employers to hire more part-time workers and/or to cap their workers’ time at 30 hours, especially in the retail and fast-food industries. Outfits ranging from Walmart and Forever 21 to Virginia community colleges have already started increasing their share of part-time employees.
Health insurance premiums are also going up, thanks to ObamaCare’s requirement that health insurers accept everyone who applies, that they never charge more based on preexisting medical conditions, and start paying for many medical conditions that previously went uncovered. …
[B]ecause “premiums for younger, healthier individuals could increase by more than 40 percent,” some will choose to pay the individual-mandate penalty rather than get coverage. In other words, they still won’t be insured, the job market will still be constricted by ObamaCare, and they’ll be poorer by the amount of the penalty. …
[And] before ObamaCare, there was Medicare. And in addition, there is Social Security. Spending on these programs will explode in the near future, creating a massive pile-up of debt and unfunded liabilities. Medicare is the bigger ticking time bomb, with a projected shortfall of more than $30 trillion. Social Security’s unfunded liabilities total about $7 trillion. …
While the entitlement problem represents the largest and most visible example of how younger Americans will be penalized by government overreach, it is far from the only trouble spot. Take farm subsidies: Not only do they artificially jack up the price of food, they also increase the value of farm lands, making it harder for young farmers to buy or rent land. The same can be said of the mortgage interest deduction, which artificially increases the value of homes, making it harder for first-time buyers. Like student loan subsidies, the mortgage interest tax deduction gives people an incentive to get deeper into debt than they would have otherwise.
From poor public schools to the minimum wage, well-intentioned policies tend to backfire. In addition, we are about to embark on a massive transfer of wealth from younger to older Americans. It is today’s youth who will take the brunt of punishment from Washington’s decades of “helping” previous generations of Americans. It is today’s youth who will most likely see their own federal benefits cut dramatically, their taxes increased, or some combination of the two. And it is today’s youth who will find it harder to get a good job (let alone start a company), buy a home, support a family, or do many of the things that were long considered a near-certainty for college graduates.
And it is today’s youth, by a significant margin, who supported and voted for the very policies and politicians that make them suffer. They are, in effect, instruments of their own oppression and willing cheerleaders of their own torment.
Death at School: Parents Protest Dangerous Discipline
Barbaric corporal punishment and torture against children at schools, some under such doublespeak names as the “correctly-performed and state-approved therapeutic hold" that ended up killing a "special-needs" boy who did not stop shooting basketballs when instructed to.
IF you missed last week’s “mad gunman terrorizes American schoolchildren” news story, this time out of North Carolina, don’t feel bad; these days they’re common enough that it’s not reasonable to expect any one person can keep up with them all.
Still, last week’s story was notable for two reasons: One, nobody actually got shot; and two, the gunman was on the school’s payroll. Seriously: Administrators at Eastern Wayne Middle School later sent parents a letter explaining that they sent a masked gunman to various sixth-grade classrooms as an “enrichment lesson on exhibiting good citizenship and observing your surroundings.”
It’s unclear exactly what good-citizenship lesson the kids were supposed to learn — “sphincter control,” perhaps — but it’s a lucky thing none of the kids tried anything heroic, like disarming the gunman, because any student who did that would surely be kicked out of school.
Whenever the state intervenes in a market to restrict entry by sellers, it results in higher prices. Customers are not able to buy the kinds of goods and services they want, at a price they are willing to pay. So the producers who would otherwise have entered the market are forced to enter other markets. These markets are less profitable than the restricted markets. Customers in the regulated markets are worse off, and so are marginal suppliers who leave those markets.
We can see this principle at work in the market for education. The supply of education is limited by government restrictions on academic certification. Teachers must go through a specified regimen at the college level in order to be eligible to teach in the nation’s tax-funded school systems. This reduces the supply of teachers who can legally be hired by local school districts. Furthermore, restrictions on school construction by private entrepreneurs limit the amount of competition tax-funded schools face.
So, parents are compelled to send their children to school, but the state restricts the number of schools available to parents. This creates a near monopoly of education, kindergarten through twelfth grade, for the state. The state uses tax funding to build schools, and it uses the regulatory system to restrict the creation of rival schools. This is the classic mark of a monopoly.
The free-market solution is open entry and competition. Competition may be in the form of quality. Some parents want very-high-quality education for their children, and are willing to pay a great deal of money to purchase it. They would not have to pay as much money if there were open entry into the local market for schools. Other parents cannot afford the best education for their children, because they do not have enough money. So, they want price-competitive education. This is also made available by entrepreneurs in the field of private education. These entrepreneurs can decide which programs are affordable for which parents, and which programs will meet the demands of specific parents. As more schools come onstream, the range of choice for parents increases. This is the standard definition of what constitutes economic growth. Economic growth takes place when customers can buy more goods and services than they were able to buy prior to the increase in economic growth …
Bureaucrats in the field of education, which is almost exclusively nonprofit education, have a bias against price-competitive academic programs. They assume that these programs are of low quality. They think it is a good idea to close the market to sellers of any kinds of curriculum not certified by educational bureaucrats. They have greater control over the content and structure of education when they can restrict entry into the marketplace. In the name of helping children, these promoters of self-interested restrictions on entry conceal the fact that they are able to exercise greater power over education and then charge more for the privilege of doing so.
This is why libertarians believe that there should be open entry into the field of education. They do not trust state bureaucrats to act on behalf of parents, especially parents who have a particular view of the best methodology and content for the education of their children. The bureaucrats operate in their own self-interest, which is to expand their power and income. …
There should not be anything resembling a government monopoly of education. Standards that govern the public school system locally should not be imposed on parents who decide to remove their children from that system. Without freedom of parental choice in education, the state will pursue a policy of extending its monopoly over education. Tenured, state-funded bureaucrats will then use this monopoly to screen out ideas that call into question the legitimacy of government interference in many areas of life, including education. The government does not have to burn books in order to persuade the next generation of voters of ideas that favor the government. The government need only screen out books and materials that are hostile to the expansion of the state.
In the last decade total student loan debt has grown nearly fourfold. Much of the focus on this growing problem has concentrated on the increasing cost of higher education. This brief looks at another side of the student loan bubble: the crony capitalism of SLM Corporation – more commonly known as Sallie Mae – and the way in which it has come to dominate student loan markets.
The brief shows that Sallie Mae has used its political influence to build and maintain its profitability in spite of the financial crisis and throughout numerous attempts to reform the industry. It has used this influence recently to secure massive servicing contracts from the expanded Direct Loan Program, acquire a multi-billion dollar bailout of the student loan industry, and to procure the removal of significant debtor protections from privately issued student loans, of which the company is the largest originator.
The resulting situation is unfair to students and taxpayers alike: students end up paying higher college tuition fees and are saddled with more debt; taxpayers are left sitting on a ticking time bomb of accumulated government-backed debt. When the student loan bubble bursts and Uncle Sam is called upon to bail out Sallie Mae, the cost could run into the billions.
What is the solution? Ideally, the federal government should exit higher education finance altogether. This would not only stop the cronyism in the system, it would also lay the ground work for a more robust private sector student loan industry.
Attempts by governments to make higher education more attainable by more people is precisely why costs in higher education have steadily grown.
My wife and I have made it one of our highest priorities to make sure our children do not and will not attend public schools in Los Angeles (our oldest, the only one who is of school age, attends a great Montessori school). LA public schools are incredibly expensive, horrifically inefficient, terribly inept, unabashedly corrupt, and overtly statist.
Here, they take their state-worshipping hubris to a new level:
Sure, professional athletes have a certain celebrity appeal, but can they really convince Americans to embrace a product that a growing number have already written off as a shit sandwich? But to really win hearts and minds … Hey! How about using the public schools to recruit their captive audience of students to the cause, and then set the kids loose to proselytize their families on the glories of Obamacare? That should work wonders.
And it’s not creepy at all.
From School Reform News:
The Los Angeles Unified School District will use a state grant to train teens to promote ObamaCare to family members. Covered California, the state’s health insurance exchange, announced grants of $37 million on May 14 to promote the nationally unpopular law.
LAUSD will receive $990,000. The district listed as a primary outcome for its project, “Teens trained to be messengers to family members.”
Covered California spokeswoman Sarah Soto-Taylor said staff have not questioned this goal.
"We have confidence that the model LA Unified brought to the table will be successful in reaching our target population, which includes family members of students," she said.
Well, of course “staff have not questioned this goal.” That’s because “LAUSD will also use tax-paid staff to promote ObamaCare through phone calls to students’ homes, in-class presentations, and meetings with employees eligible for ObamaCare’s taxpayer-covered healthcare.”
So public school teachers get paid taxpayer dollars to preach Obamacare to their co-workers and the students, so the kids will then go home and sing the glories of the health scheme to the same taxpayers who are funding the whole process. Everybody wins!
If this experiment in using the public schools as a medium for spreading the good news works out as school officials and health insurance exchange managers hope, expect more in the future.
"Teens are part of a ‘pilot’ program to test whether young people can be trained as messengers to deliver outreach and limited education to family and friends in and around their homes," said Gayle Pollard-Terry, a LAUSD spokesman, in an email. "Teens will be educating adults that they already know (e.g., family or friends) and not other adults."
Well, of course teens will be indoctrinated in official messages that they’ll then be expected to bring home. Why else would you send them to public schools?
To recap: federal money (that is, money forcefully extracted without consent from people around the country) is given to Los Angeles schools to pay teachers to promote Obamacare and teach teens (who, being captives of the state, cannot ‘opt out’) to proselytize about Obamacare to their family in the hopes that said propaganda will help them believe (like most of them do about other government programs) that it’s the only way it can be done. And if this scheme works well (which is either measured by how many people become indoctrinated or how much bureaucrats like the free money, wink wink), they’ll hope to expand it to more than just teens.
[T]hese [high-stakes political struggles for who gets taught what] are inevitable so long as we treat the public schools as an oh-so-necessary medium for transmitting a largely non-existent common culture that we then fight each other to define. And they’ll continue so long as control of the curriculum is a political plum with which to court interest groups. Far better to keep education options open, so that we can teach our kids our own values, and our own ideas about the world. Then they can debate with one another, and come to their own conclusions, without an official version mandated by politicians.
[T]hese [high-stakes political struggles for who gets taught what] are inevitable so long as we treat the public schools as an oh-so-necessary medium for transmitting a largely non-existent common culture that we then fight each other to define. And they’ll continue so long as control of the curriculum is a political plum with which to court interest groups.
Far better to keep education options open, so that we can teach our kids our own values, and our own ideas about the world. Then they can debate with one another, and come to their own conclusions, without an official version mandated by politicians.
Precisely. As I’ve noted previously: “if you, like me, resent the politicization of what is being taught in schools, then you must advocate an end to the government’s involvement in education. Otherwise, you can expect those who pay into and use the system to want to have a say in how it is run.”
In dismissing a motion by the NCAA to prevent football and men’s basketball players from legally pursuing a cut of live broadcast revenues, a federal court judge Tuesday raised the stakes for the governing body of college sports as it defends its economic model.
Judge Claudia Wilken issued her ruling Tuesday, rejecting the NCAA’s motion that players in the antitrust suit led by former UCLA star Ed O’Bannon should be precluded from advancing their lawsuit on procedural grounds.
The NCAA had objected to the players amending their lawsuit last year to claim a share of all television game revenues, not just those from rebroadcasts.
"Now the (NCAA and its co-defendants) are facing potential liability that’s based on the billions of dollars in revenue instead of tens or hundreds of millions," said Michael Hausfeld, interim lead counsel for the plaintiffs. "It’s a more accurate context for what the players deserve."
People have wrongly tended to reduce the debate to more gun ownership or more gun control. It’s clear where the Obama administration wants to take this: toward more centralized control and fewer gun rights. The right responds by pointing to the example of Israel where teachers are heavily armed. That’s the choice the mainstream gives us.
Actually, the framing of the whole debate is wrong. It is not about whether teachers should be armed or whether guns should be banned for everyone but state-employed cops. The real issue is whether any institution in society is going to be in charge of its own security, and not be forced to obey the government’s plan.
Schools face a problem not different in kind from any other issue of security affecting banks, convenience stores, jewelry stores, theaters, homes, or churches. All these institutions are constantly threatened with violence from random sources. They must all make judgments about the risk of violence and how best to deal with it. There is no one aggregate solution that applies in every case. Each institution needs to determine security for itself. …
Does this figure into the calculation that would-be killers make as they plot their malicious acts? Certainly. Advertising a place as gun-free by law is an invitation to killers. The law says to them that if they can get in, they will have a monopoly on violence. No efforts at defense will be available on the premises to protect the teachers and the kids. I don’t see how it could be controversial to suggest that this law is a very bad idea.
To be sure, these killings might have happened anyway. Dealing with violence was the last thing on anyone’s mind in this quiet and prosperous community school. All the events might have transpired as they did regardless. The point is that the law removes viable options for the school in dealing with security concerns. It says: We, the government, know what is best, and our way is the only way.
This is a terrible way to deal with any issue of security. …
Think of this in the case of your home. Let’s say your community passed a Gun-Free Home Act. Is such a law going to be something taken note of by would-be intruders? Is a criminal going to be more or less likely to enter a home knowing with certainty that all law-abiding citizens will not have the means to protect themselves?
Some people might respond that they don’t want to live in a society in which school administrators have to carry weapons. I completely agree. But wishing does nothing to deal with the problem of anti-social behavior on the part of a tiny minority. A tiny group is capable of ruining the social order for the rest of us, which is why we need mechanisms in place to deal with them.
It’s true in every aspect of life, whether our homes or online forums or banks or schools. Ownership is what allows the security calculation to be rational. Without private property, the destructive element rules. …
It is right and proper to wish for a society of perfect peace. But it is also very smart to have institutions in place that deal with those who do not want peace. Traditionally, people have relied on government to provide this service. This is a grave mistake. Security is inseparable from private property and the institutions of the market economy.
The reason violent crime has fallen by 65% since 1993 has not been government. It has been the private sector’s creation of advanced technology in the hands of private enterprise: surveillance cameras, private security, alarm systems, increasingly sophisticated systems of screening, and so on. Guns in the hands of private owners have been part of that solution.
The best path forward for schools in particular is to get out from under the protection of government and be put on the same status as regular commercial establishments. Private establishments that own and control their own space provide better security.
Whenever any institution is singled out for special protection by government and called too important to manage itself, that institution needs to worry about its future. That’s why the ultimate solution to public school violence is the full privatization of security and of the schools themselves.
At the very least, we need a repeal of the laws that make it impossible for schools to find their own solutions to the threat of violence. In the name of human rights, security needs to be privatized, whether government likes it or not.
That Unions Represent "The Workers" is One of the Biggest Con Jobs in the History of Western Civilization →
The trade union movement has never been in favor of the common laborer. The trade union movement has always been in favor of a minority of workers who have joined a union, whose union then meets the federal government’s legal requirements to establish itself as a monopoly for labor services. A vote of 50% plus 1 of today’s employees can keep out all future employees who do not join the union. The union is then given the right to call in someone with a badge and a gun, who then sticks the gun in the belly of someone who is offering to hire a worker.
The essence of the trade union movement is the use of violence, or the threat of violence, or both, in order to establish a monopoly of a privileged group of workers, who hold their position of privilege on the basis of political power.
The essence of the claim of the privileged union worker is this: he has a legal right to exclude anybody from competing against him who has not joined a privileged band of workers, who in turn are the beneficiaries of political favoritism. …
[T]he claim of the union movement that it represents “the workers” is one of the biggest con jobs in the history of Western civilization. It is almost as great a deception as the phrase, “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.” While it is true the government may help one person for a period of time, thereby creating dependence on the civil government, the government must penalize other members of society for its ability to make the promise to the individual who thinks the government is there to help him.
In a scarcity-governed world, it is not possible to get something for nothing. This is why the claim of the trade union movement, namely, that it represents the workers in general, is a preposterous claim. It achieves above-market wages and conditions for union members, but only because the union can call upon the government to threaten violence against other participants in the economy.
There is an unspoken economic alliance between the trade unions and employers in those sectors of the economy that are not under the dominance of the trade union movement. Neither group ever discusses the nature of the alliance. It would be too embarrassing. It would indicate that, in the name of helping workers in general, trade unions hurt the vast majority of workers. It would also indicate that, for those businesses that are not unionized, the trade union movement is very good for business. Those businessmen who are the beneficiaries of this arrangement are not interested in explaining the nature of the government subsidy. They are dependent upon the subsidy, which is why they do not fight trade unionism in general. They only resist trade union membership in their particular sector of the economy.
Because free market economics is not taught in high schools, but only a pro-union version of the labor market, most students never understand the nature of the convenient alliance between the trade unions and businesses in the nonunionized sectors of the economy. It is not in the self-interest of unionized teachers in the nation’s public high schools to present the case for economic freedom as it applies to the labor markets. Because it is not in their professional self-interest, teachers who serve on each state’s textbook-screening committee do not adopt textbooks in economics that present the labor market in the United States as the product of government coercion for the benefit of trade union members and employers in the nonunionized sectors of the economy. …
The entire public school system is based on government coercion. … It is based on minority groups coming to the majority in the name of the benefit to society of continued coercion. It is all done in the name of the children. But, you may have noticed, nobody ever asked the children what they want. Nobody asks the children who are victims of bullying in the schools if they would like an alternative. Nobody asked the children in inner city schools if they would like an alternative. The only people who are supposed to be asked what is good for the children are members of a monopolistic guild that has used government coercion to grant them high salaries and small classrooms.
N.B.: unions that organize without the assistance of government coercion, insofar as such things exist, are not the problem.
Also, see my Personal Note on Unions.
The degrees of government ownership in the economy vary from one country to another, but in all countries the State has made sure that it owns the vital nerve centers, the command posts of the society. It has acquired compulsory monopoly ownership over these command posts, and it has always tried to convince the populace that private ownership and enterprise in these fields is simply and a priori impossible. We have seen, on the contrary, that every service can be supplied on the free market.
The vital command posts invariably owned monopolistically by the State are: (1) police and military protection; (2) judicial protection; (3) monopoly of the mint (and monopoly of defining money); (4) rivers and coastal seas; (5) urban streets and highways, and land generally (unused land, in addition to the power of eminent domain); and (6) the post office. The defense function is the one reserved most jealously by the State. It is vital to the State’s existence, for on its monopoly of force depends its ability to exact taxes from the citizens. If citizens were permitted privately owned courts and armies, then they would possess the means to defend themselves against invasive acts by the government as well as by private individuals. Control of the basic land resources—particularly transportation—is, of course, an excellent method of ensuring overall control. The post office has always been a very convenient tool for the inspection and prohibition of messages by heretics or enemies of the State. In recent years, the State has constantly sought to expand these outposts. Monopoly of the mint and of the definition of money (legal tender laws) has been used to achieve full control of the nation’s monetary system. This was one of the State’s most difficult tasks, since for centuries paper money was thoroughly distrusted by the people. Monopoly over the mint and the definition of monetary standards has led to the debasement of the coinage, a shift of monetary names from units of weight to meaningless terms, and the replacement of gold and silver by bank or government paper. At present, the State in nearly every country has achieved its major monetary goal: the ability to expand its revenue by inflating the currency at will. In the other areas—land and natural resources, transportation and communication—the State is more and more in control. Finally, another critical command post held, though not wholly monopolized by the State, is education. For government schooling permits influencing the youthful mind to accept the virtues of the government and of government intervention. In many countries, the government does not have a compulsory monopoly of schooling, but it approaches this ideal by compelling attendance of all children at either a government school or a private school approved or accredited by government. Compulsory attendance herds into the schools those who do not desire schooling and thus drives too many children into education. Too few youngsters remain in such competing fields as leisure, home study, and business employment. …
In weighing the question of private or governmental ownership of any enterprise, then, one should keep in mind the following conclusions of our analysis: (1) every service can be supplied privately on the market; (2) private ownership will be more efficient in providing better quality of service at lower cost; (3) allocation of resources in a private enterprise will better satisfy consumer demands, while government enterprise will distort allocations and introduce islands of calculational chaos; (4) government ownership will repress private activity in noncompeting as well as competing firms; (5) private ownership insures the harmonious and co-operative satisfaction of desires, while government ownership creates caste conflict.
- Murray Rothbard, Power & Market