Wednesday, July 01, 2009
Slumming It In Private Schools
Here in the United States of America, Americans are constantly bombarded with the message that the failure of students in the public schools is a lack of money, or that if the State did not provide free public education, America would be filled with stupid people. But is there actually any truth to that? I do not think so, but the message has been so ingrained into the public conscious, attempts to break from the public education system via charter schools, or school vouchers, are met with the full force of the teachers’ unions opprobrium, including withholding of campaign funds for the candidate of the day.
But there are lessons Americans can learn from some of the poorest of the poor, the slum dwellers.
In slums around the world, from Lagos, Nigeria and Nairobi, Kenya to rural villages in Ghana and China and places in between, Tooley has discovered poor people opening small private schools that offer alternatives to dismal or inaccessible public education. The schools charge only pennies a day, and most also provide scholarships to orphans or children of the indigent. One in five students in the Hyderabad slums, for example, attends a private school on some kind of need-based scholarship. Whether in Kibera (Kenya) or Gansu (China), these schools all seem to boast committed and punctual teachers, efficient and attentive owners, and satisfied parents.
Tooley visited numerous public schools in these far-flung places as well, and they also share certain traits: a dearth of discipline; teacher complacency; and classes in which students sit and chat instead of learning. Development experts readily acknowledge the shortcomings of public schools in less-wealthy nations. But Tooley expresses bafflement at their proposed remedies—more regulation, more money, better teaching training—especially when impoverished communities have already improvised and created their own successful alternatives.
Just how successful? Do pupils in private schools for the poor actually learn more than those in public schools? To find out, Tooley assembled and trained research teams that eventually tested 24,000 fourth-graders from impoverished areas who attended a range of schools—private schools recognized by the local government, private schools not so recognized, and public schools—in India, Nigeria, Ghana, and China. His findings are stunning:
The results from Delhi were typical. In mathematics, mean scores of children in government schools were 24.5 percent, whereas they were 42.1 percent in private unrecognized schools and 43.9 percent in private recognized. That is, children in unrecognized private schools scored nearly 18 percentage points more in math than children in government schools (a 72 percent advantage!), while children in recognized private schools scored over 19 percentage points more than children in government schools (a 79 percent advantage).
Redistributed money is not the answer. Privatization is the key to knowledge.
From a City Journal piece titled The Private Schools No One Sees, which is a short review of a book written by James Tooley titled The Beautiful Tree: A Personal Journey Into How the World’s Poorest People Are Educating Themselves, which is indeed worth a read.
Indeed it sounds beautiful.
No, It’s That Simple
Remember, the answer at the door is “NO!”
If you type mortgage modification into the Google news search engine, you currently receive six hundred and forty-five (645) possible news links to peruse. Some, trumpet large numbers of mortgage modifications completed, while others warn of possible fraud, or the impossibility of having a mortgage modification completed due to “paper jams” or what not.
Tim Cavanaugh, at Hit & Run, notes that a very large percentage (any where between 46% and 64%) of these modified mortgages are ending right back where they started. In default.
In general, the more loans you modify, the higher the percentage of redefaults: In the first quarter of 2008, 68,001 loans were modified, and 40,206, or 59 percent, of those have ended up 30 days late again, or worse. In the first quarter of 2009, 185,156 loan mods were done, and of those, 120,067, or 64 percent, ended up in trouble. (Check my math: to get a total-in-trouble number I’m adding up “30-59 days Delinquent,” “60 or More Days Delinquent,” “In Process of Foreclosure,” and “Completed Foreclosure.” To be sporting, I’m leaving “Short Sale or Deed-in-Lieu of Foreclosure” out.)
Cavanuagh’s post on this subject is titled Deadbeat: Not Just A Circumstance, A State of Mind and it provides links to all the pertinent data on this subject.
Everything’s going so well, isn’t it?
It Happens In All Ponzi Schemes
All ponzi schemes crash, at one point or another, when the suckers are either all tapped out, or new suckers cannot be induced to fall for the utopian pitch of never ending returns. The great ponzi scheme, which is the federal government, may be suffering from just such an eventuality.
As we near the end of June, which is supposed to be one of the four biggest months for federal tax collections (January, April, and September are the others), it is clear that the serious receipts shortfalls are not only continuing, but have caused the March 20 projections of the administration and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to be outdated.
Unfortunately, for Americans, the State has warehouses of smoke and mirrors, and a monopoly on force, which the State will use indiscriminately to maintain their illusion of beneficience and liquidity.
Via The New Clarion, in a post titled Going Galt?.
A Real Independence Day Message to the State
Bill St. Clair notes that Larken Rose will be speaking at a tea party in Philadelphia on July 4. Rose is preambling his speech online with a piece titled You’re Not the Boss of Me! from which I’ve gleaned the most salient point.
“Dear Federal Government, you’re fired! We’re not paying your taxes anymore, not obeying your laws ever again, and from now on we will resist your thugs when you try to enforce your will on us.”
Unfortunately, as Rose notes,
How many Americans would dare to even THINK such a thing, much less say it out loud, or write it down and send it to the feds? Very few, indeed. The truth is, the spirit of resistance is all but dead in this country. Even among those in the pro-freedom movement, the vast majority of efforts revolve around begging the masters to be nice, petitioning for or against this or that legislation, arguing over WHICH politician should run our lives and take our money.
“very few, indeed,” would be so bold as to make such a statement.
In a post titled Civil Frights, Scooter Oi comments on the State’s forcing financial institutions to lend.
I’m trying to figure out when credit became a civil right.
I was taught that credit was something that one acquired after years of hard work, saving money and being financially responsible. When you had accomplished all that to the satisfaction of a bank, they would give you a credit card. If you didn’t screw that up after a while, them might give you a car loan. If you paid that off in good order, you might be able to qualify for a loan for a house…
Getting a loan for something you can’t afford is not a right…