Duneland School Corporation

Consequences of Government-Controlled Education?

2014-04-03T00:00:00Z Consequences of Government-Controlled Education?Michael Okeley, assistant principal of Chesterton Middle School nwitimes.com

I admit that the argument of this piece has been all but settled by the actions of state and federal politicians, and by a lack of awareness by the public of the results that follow, but if others are inspired to think about the topic, then writing this serves its purpose. Regardless, is it not the purpose of a teacher to inspire others to think critically?

Milton Friedman argued that choices can be lumped into one of four decision-making classes based on two factors—whose money is being spent and on whom it is spent. To be brief, I will write of only two classes. In one case, humans are free to spend their money on themselves. As it applies to education, people would seek the greatest educational benefits at the lowest cost.

Parents would be free to choose what their children learn based on choosing where to live. If this were so, parents within Duneland and elsewhere would influence what their student learned by the threat of moving, and the tax dollars the school would lose as a result. This was closest to existence when schools were mostly funded by local property taxes. As politicians continue to take control over education, decisions about student learning become entirely in the hands of faceless officials who make decisions within Freidman’s fourth category—spending other people’s money on other people. In this case, elected officials—who have not met your child—cannot possibly decide what benefits your child best, nor will they wisely consider the final bill for it is not theirs to pay.

The tax collectors take your money without your consent and without limit, and spend it on educational goals and services without knowing your child’s needs. As a result, several Indiana communities were forced to raise their local property taxes to fund money shortages created from such hopeless seize and divert programs. Meanwhile, schools that received funds taken from successful schools have been taken over by the State due to their dreadful student performance.

The lawmakers’ actions are likely well-meaning; however, before government-controlled education existed we were taught that a certain path exists that is paved with good intentions. Still, I advise the reader to think about the possible unplanned consequences the continual shift in education may have on their most prized possession—their children. I regularly challenged students to think about an observation humans have made from many countries and for a very long time; “when the central planners’ plans fail, the central planners plan more.” A recent article that argued learning begins at the dinner table was half correct; it is best served there.

This column solely represents the writer's opinion.

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