Monday, October 24, 2005

Public Schools Debate

Some weekends back, I volunteered to paint some walls at a school in San Francisco with my co-workers. The school had an excellent campus (by my high school's standards) - many basketball courts, computers, good playground, small class sizes, a committed principal (and committed teachers too, I'd guess)... And yet, it is one of the not-so-good public schools, I was told. Struggling school.

I couldn't figure out. I was told that the most important factor in a good school vs not-so-good school in the Bay Area is the type of socio-economic background the kids come from. Parental role is the most important factor, according to some. I agree with the idea. But if you read the 'failed' public school debate (for example, in this Wall Street Journal article), parental role is never mentioned. Wonder why.

Dude, I think the debate among the two scholars is mainly based on the observation of whether competition among schools produce better academics or not. Obviously, free market supporters like Milton Friedman, like such competition as is seen in Boston area, but teachers unions don't for obvious reasons.

Failed public schools might be the ones where students are from the lower economic bracket and the parents there might not have choice of other schools, or in other words, lack of competition among schools.

Interesting debate though. I am with the free-market reformers.
Chomsky, it seems, does not think that Economics can be considered a scientific discipline.
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