Sunday, December 10, 2006

Those who favor freedom are merely bigots

Jane Clark Lindle, Eugene T. Moore professor of educational leadership at Clemson University, writes in The State that freedom doesn't work, and even if it did it doesn't work in public education.
Few studies of free-market schools show any greater improvement in student achievement than public schools have produced.
Of course its not true. Had she really cared to look, the Manhattan Institute, the Milton and Rose D. Friedman Foundation and the Mackinac Center for Public Policy are but three sources of academically rigorous research that freedom produces superior results even in education.

Joseph Schumpeter accurately described what Dr. Lindle is afraid of:
The opening up of new markets and the organizational development from the craft shop and factory to such concerns as US Steel illustrate the process of industrial mutation that incessantly revolutionizes the economic structure from within, incessantly destroying the old one, incessantly creating a new one ... [The process] must be seen in its role in the perennial gale of creative destruction.
Dr. Lindle rightly perceives that allowing teachers to be innovative and parents to choose what's in the best interest of their children will destroy the status quo of education today on which she and her College of Education depend. Dr. Lindle does not want to engage in a competition of ideas, and ultimately results, because she instinctively knows that Schumpeter's Gale will blow her away.

What really is disappointing, and quite frankly embarrassing, is for a professor to be reduced to arguing that those who favor freedom are merely bigots.
Proponents of free-market only that their children benefit from schooling, and they don’t care about other people’s children. Other people are people they don’t know, who live in apartments or public housing, not in their neighborhood. The other people are single parents or immigrants working two or three jobs daily to put food on the table. The other people have different skin color, different abilities or disabilities, different languages, different religions and different politics.
By the way, check out Gaston College Prep and Pride High, which destroys Dr. Lindle's arguments about both freedom and bigots: Most students are black. They are poor. And they are scholars. The founders, Tammi Sutton and Caleb Dolan, weren't trained in a traditional college of education and don't spend much time worrying about the way schools are supposed to operate. That's what Dr. Lindle is really worried about.

May the gale blow.

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