What’s Wrong With Obama’s Views on Reforming the Public Schools?

Hint: It’s the same thing that’s wrong with his views on reforming health care. Answer below the fold.

As regular readers of this blog know, we view health care and education as being similarly dysfunctional. In both fields, the beneficiary of the service is separate from the entity that pays the bills and the entity that receives the payment. In both fields, we have systematically suppressed normal market forces, insuring that the producers do not compete for customers on price or quality. In both fields, we have islands of excellence, punctuating a sea of mediocrity. In both fields, excellence is penalized and mediocrity rewarded under the conventional payment system.

In both fields, President Obama and his administration propose to ignore what is working and start all over again. In particular, the President proposes “experiments” (pilot projects) to determine what works and what can therefore be copied by everyone else. This assumes that:

  1. What works can be copied.
  2. That what works in one place will work in another.
  3. That producers will want to copy what works in the absence of normal market incentives.

All three assumptions are likely to be wrong.

Comments (6)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Ken says:

    You are right on. Same mistake squared.

  2. Vicki says:

    Very good observation. This is probably the only blog site in the country where I can read something like this.


  3. Virginia says:

    So, is NCPA sponsoring a viewing party for the new “Waiting for Superman” movie that’s coming out soon? Apparently it’s a pretty cutting look at the US public education system.

    I’ll bring the popcorn!

  4. Devon Herrick says:

    Proponents of European-type socialized health care systems often point to education (and police, fire protection) as examples where government provides services for all. Yet, these also serve as examples of what can happen. The education unions have captured the education industry and the U.S. has too many high-priced schools that are failing their students. Medicine is so much more complex than education and would like suffer some of the same problems.

  5. Tom H. says:

    I like your anaylsis. Ever since Nation at Risk, people have approached the problem the way Obama is approaching it. And you are absoluetly right, we have made no progress trying “to find out what works and then copying it.”

  6. John R. Graham says:

    There’s another similarity: He (and millions of others) mistakenly thinks the Constitution gives the federal government the power to control education and health care.