A blupete Essay

Notes, to blupete's Essay
"Education & The Voucher System"

1 Appendix K of the report of the Select Committee on Education (Nova Scotia) handed up on March 31st, 1992 (Select Report).

2 See report contained in Maclean's magazine, January 11th, 1993.

3 Appendix L of the Select Report.

4 See Maclean's.

5 The question of costs (because our young are, either; not educated, or mis-educated) can only be fully added up by taking a broader look. It's true that a shocking number of adults cannot read or write, but there is something else that a large number of the population are either learning or (depending on one's point of view) not learning. Our criminal and family court dockets (a barometer of social unrest, I would suggest) are bulging.

6 Only the Scandinavian countries and the Netherlands beat out Canada in its spending (see Table 8 "A Lot to Learn").

7 Though the figures are somewhat stale (1984), "secondary school teachers" (in U.S. dollars and after an adjustment in respect to cost of living factors, "purchasing power parity" ["ppp"]) earn more in Canada than their counterparts in other countries: in Canada a secondary school teacher makes $32,000.00 per year; compare this to the U.K., $17,700; Sweden, $18,800; Japan, $22,400; and the United States, $22,700. Most all of the money which our government here in Canada spends on education is spent on teachers' salaries. The percentage will vary from province to province, but here in Nova Scotia, for 1986-87, teachers' salaries took up 68% of all that money which was spent on education, it did not leave much for "capital expenditures," 7.6%. (See Tables 6 and 7 in the statement made by the Economic Council of Canada, 1992, "A Lot to Learn.")

8 While testing educational standards is likely one of the few legitimate governmental functions, it is not something that I can see is being done.

9 Henry Clay, in a speech to the American senate, 1832.

10 Until the market has an opportunity to respond in all its diversity to the demands of education, there will, of course, be a continuing role for government schools, but they would be obliged to compete on a level basis with private schools.

11 One must understand that there are two kinds of law: one is scientific, or natural law; the other is a rule (or set of rules), apart from a natural law, which society prescribes for itself (positive law). The former is descriptive, cannot be broken; the latter is prescriptive, or man made law, it can be broken (that it can be broken is definitive of prescriptive law, there would be little need to pass a law if it could not be broken).

12 Throughout the years lonely lights of the classical school were kept burning by brave and heroic men, such as Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973), Nobel Prize winner, Friedrich A. Hayek (1900-92), and Milton Friedman (1912- ). See for example Hayek's splendid book, The Fatal Conceit (University of Chicago Press, or Routledge): "But because of the delusion that macro-economics is both viable and useful (a delusion encouraged by its extensive use of mathematics, which must always impress politicians lacking any mathematical education, and which is really the nearest thing to the practice of magic that occurs among professional economists) many opinions ruling contemporary government and politics are still based on naive explanations of such economic phenomena as value and prices, explanations that vainly endeavour to account for them as "objective" occurrences independent of human knowledge and aims. Such explanations cannot interpret the function or appreciate the indispensability of trading and markets for coordinating the productive efforts of large numbers of people." (p. 98-99.)

13 Most anybody in Halifax would agree that a very fine education can be had for your daughter at the Scared Heart School, a private school. This school's tuition fees ranged (1992-1993 school term) from $2,999 for primary through to $4,108 for grade Twelve.

14 From an 1992 address made to a group in Philadelphia by Joseph F. Alibrandi, who heads up, in addition to being a CEO of a major US corporation, a California-based educational reform group; as quoted by Overview a publication (Nov. '92) of the National Citizens' Coalition.

15 The Economic Council's Statement, previously cited, does set forth at p. 14 a table "Choosing the School of One's Preference." In this half page table, the Council briefly sets out "the advantages," "disadvantages" and "problems." The Economic Council was not addressing a true "voucher system" but rather addressing the difficulty within the "government system" of giving parents full choice. It seems to this writer that a certain number of the "disadvantages" and "problems" would be resolved by a true "voucher system." Also, I think that the Economic Council did not consider the power of the market, given a chance, to supply the right product in the right place and in sufficient quantities. Certainly there will be disparities, but one can see great disparities in the existing government system, and I think that the performance averages (37% illiteracy in the population, for example) have no where to go, but up; and the costs (our government treasuries are now drained) have no where to go, but down.

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Peter Landry

2011 (2019)