Posted by: Dahni | March 8, 2008

Polopoly

© 2008 03/08/08

By Dahni

Polopoly

   Monopolies exist even though government regulates business in an attempt to prohibit any company from having undue influence in the market place.  Some monopolies may even argue that they are actually good for the consumer. Public utilities come to mind as an example. But whenever and wherever a monopoly is discovered or attempts to form, the downside in the prevention of competition. Competition often leads to better pricing and innovation which are both better for the consumer. The problem with this prohibition and regulation is that the government itself operates several monopolies.

   For the budget years 2007-2008, the United States government allocated 626.1 billion dollars for the military, which is not unusual considering expenditures earmarked for the war on terror and specifically in Iraq and Afghanistan. Interestingly, the largest monopoly in the US designated almost the exact same amount.

Total Department of Education Appropriations
(in billions of dollars)

Federal $56 billion 8.9%

State $271 billion 43.3%

Local $238 billion 38.0%

All other $61 billion 9.7%

Total $626 billion 100.0%

Source: http://www.ed.gov/about/overview/budget/budget09/summary/appendix3.pdf

   The largest union in the US is the AFL-CIO of which nearly every educator in the local, state and federal associations are members in one way or another. This staggering amount of power and influence makes it nearly impossible for private education to compete. Regulation furthers the improbability and if possible, the impossibility of competition. There is perhaps no greater and alarming example than a recent decision in the California court of appeals. This is the game of what I refer to as ‘Polopoly’ or political monopoly. It is a game where the ‘COMMUNITY CHEST’ of public money is controlled by the government for public education and we have virtually no ‘CHANCE’ of doing anything about it.

   I am a product of public education and my wife Susan receives her salary and pension as a teacher in public education. Private education and home schooling are other educational organizations and should always be available as alternatives. It is the latter or home schooling which is the focus of this blog entry.

   “The children I know who were home schooled and then went on to college were often ahead of their peers who had come from either public or private schools. No system is perfect, but home schooling is an option that is growing in national use, and I applaud the families who choose to dedicate their time and energy in this way.”

-Susan Combs, Texas Comptroller-

   According to a report published by the Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC) and funded by the Office of Educational Research and Improvement, U.S. Department of Education, home school student achievement test scores were exceptionally high. The median scores for every subtest at every grade were well above those of public and Catholic/private-school students. On average, home school students in grades one to four performed one grade level above their age-level public/private school peers on achievement tests. Students who had been home schooled their entire academic life had higher scholastic achievement test scores than students who had also attended other educational programs.”

   One interesting facet of the study noted that academic achievement was equally high regardless of whether the student was enrolled in a full-service curriculum, or whether the parent had a state-issued teaching certificate.

   The study states, “Even with a conservative analysis of the data, the achievement levels of the home school students in the study were exceptional. Within each grade level and each skill area, the median scores for home school students fell between the 70th and 80th percentile of students nationwide and between the 60th and 70th percentile of Catholic/Private school students. For younger students, this is a one year lead. By the time home school students are in 8th grade, they are four years ahead of their public/private school counterparts.”

   Also, “Home school students did quite well in 1998 on the ACT college entrance examination. They had an average ACT composite score of 22.8 which is .38 standard deviations above the national ACT average of 21.0 (ACT, 1998). This places the average home school student in the 65th percentile of all ACT test takers.”

Test results

EduFigure1

Figure 1. Home School Students Compared to the National Norm Group in Grade Equivalent Units, Scholastic Achievement and Demographic Characteristics of Home School Students in 1998, Lawrence M. Rudner, University of Maryland, College Park. From Education Policy Analysis Archives

EduFigure2

Figure 2. Academic Achievement of Home School, Catholic/Private and the Nation’s Students, Scholastic Achievement and Demographic Characteristics of Home School Students in 1998, Lawrence M. Rudner, University of Maryland, College Park. From Education Policy Analysis Archives

   Home Schooling Achievement, a study conducted by National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI), supported the academic integrity of home schooling. Among the home schooled students who took the tests, the average home schooled student outperformed his public school peers by 30 to 37 percentile points across all subjects. The study also indicates that public school performance gaps between minorities and genders were virtually non-existent among the home schooled students who took the tests.

   It should also be noted that those states with the fewest regulations on home schooling, those home schooled performed at even higher test scores above and beyond the national averages of home schooled students.

   If you cannot prevent competition then eliminate it by regulation. This can be seen clearly and recently in the state of California,

   “California courts have held that … parents do not have a constitutional right to home school their children,” Justice H. Walter Croskey said in the 3-0 ruling issued on Feb. 28. “Parents have a legal duty to see to their children’s schooling under the provisions of these laws. Parents can be criminally prosecuted for failing to comply, Croskey said.

   The reactions to this decision from those directly involved in public education (salaried and tenured), has been favorable. The AFL-CIO supported this decision.

   If this kangaroo court decision is allowed to stand and it spreads to the entire country, there goes freedom of choice.

   Home schooled students despite their high test scores would no longer matter as their education unless obtained through academically acceptable credentials, is invalid. Their teachers (parents or principal care givers), would be criminals.

   As home schooling goes, so goes private education. This might also be the end of the high standards set by both home schools and private education. It would also mean that Bill Gates would not be qualified to teach computer operating systems or Steve Jobs and if they did, their actions would be criminal. Al Gore could not legally teach global warming either (YAY). Batting coaches for the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox would be arrested and replaced by only those with valid and acceptable teaching certificates. It is all this ridiculous, but also even more so, this serious!  

   Like a bully, “If you don’t play by my rules, you can’t play.” If you don’t play, you will be thrown in jail and your students will be thrown into public schools. This is about the freedom to choose. If you choose to do nothing, the choice will be made for you, by the one that own the game and the only winner, the government run monopoly of public education is this game called Polopoly or political monopoly.

Just Imagine,

Dahni


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