Wikipedia: Elīna Garanča (born 16 September 1976) is a Latvian mezzo-soprano


A Comment on Nicole Asbury, "This school board can’t stop fighting. A Maryland bill aims to fix it", _Washington Post_(ymd = 2022-04-8)

The _Post_ article describes a contest to alter the governance structure of Prince George's County (MD) Public Schools. 

Prince George's County is an interesting county. PGCPS is an interesting district. The US DOE NCES  reports the following:

Maryland 2018-19 K-12 enrollment:  896,827

Maryland 2018 K-12 regular school districts: 24

Prince George's County (MD) Public Schools 2020 enrollment = 131,646

PGCPS 2018-19 revenue per pupil = $18,169

The County is 13% White, 62% Black, 18% Hispanic, and 4% Asian, with a median household income of $84,920

The school district enrollment is 4% white, 57% Black, 34.3% Hispanic, and 2,8% Asian

The _Post_ reporter relates political moves to change the Board from a hybrid elected/appointed Board to an elected Board. Nicole Asbury does not devote many words to the performance issues that motivate parents' or voters' attention. 

My recommendation: change nothing except ...                                                                              Mandate that all schools in PGCPS must hire parents on personal service contracts to provide for their children's education if (a) the parents apply for the contract and (b) the child is at or above age-level expectations on standardized tests of Reading (any language) and Math on or before the start of the contract year (i.e., the school year). Make the contract value equal some fraction 2/3 < a/b < 9/10 of PGCPS $18169 per pupil budget. Make payment contingent on performance at or above age-level expectations on standardized tests of Reading (any language) and Math on or before the end of the contract year.

One contract per child per year.
One contract per parent or parent's designated agent per year.
Parents could then homeschool, hire tutors, extend daycare to age 18, or supplement the contract amount and pay tuition to an independent or parochial school.
If your child's school offers a poor fit for your child's interests and abilities, homeschool. If you cannot homeschool, encourage your child to drop out in school. Tell teachers and administrators that your child has your permission to ignore, politely, all school instructions and to study her own material. Go ahead and accumulate a 0.5 GPA, take the GED and SAT at 16, and attend a community college.
Good luck to the parents of PGCPS.

[Readers of this blog (anyone out there?) may recognize the proposal, Parent Performance Contracting, that I outlined in 2005] 

Another _Post_ reader responded:                                                                                                    "Why?"

My answer: ...   
                                                                                                                                                                  For every locality A the term "the government of A" names the largest dealer in interpersonal violence in that locality (definition, after Weber). You can, without introducing significant error, model government as a territorially defined extortion racket or as a giant shopping mall operator with its own armed internal security force.
Organized interpersonal violence (i.e., government) makes no positive contribution to the education industry beyond what it contributes to the kitchen utensil industry or to the lawn maintenance industry, an original assignment of title and a stable system of contract law.

Gandhi wrote that parents are the natural teachers of their own children.
Abundant evidence from several lines of investigation supports the following generalizations:
1. As institutions take from individual parents the power to determine for their own children the choice of curriculum and the pace and method of instruction, overall system performance falls and
2. Political control of school harms most the children of the least politically-adept parents ("Well, duh!", as my students would say).

People explain social pathologies of urban Black culture as a "legacy of slavery' and in a sense that's true. The NEA/AFT/AFSCME cartel's facilities (which facilities many speakers of American English call "public schools") give to many normal children no reason to do what schools require. There's a reason that "academic" has become a synonym for "irrelevant". Training an artistically inclined child or a mechanically-inclined child for an academic career using the transcript as like incentive is like teaching a cat to swim using carrots as the reward.
Compulsory unpaid labor is slavery. Slavery is evil.
Twelve years of subordination harms all who endure it.


The Socialist Phenomenon

 The Socialist Phenomenon  by Igor Shafarevich considers the origins of the deeply seated and popular desire for authoritarian government. This post not a review of Shafarevich's book. 

US taxpayers poured over $734 billion into the US K-12 credential industry in 2017-18, according to the US DOE NCES Digest of Education Statistics

The $734 billion per year budget makes the US K-12 credential industry the second-largest (after China) command economy left on Earth. The $734 billion per year figure grossly understates the cost of the US State-monopoly credential industry. Costs of this system include:

1. The opportunity cost to students of the time that they spend in school.

2. The opportunity cost to society, in the form of lost production from student non-participation in the labor force.

3. The opportunity cost to society in the lost innovation in curricula and methods of instruction that a competitive market in education services would generate.

4. Losses due to crime and the cost of prison for the poor kids whose lives we trash. The "school-to-prison pipeline". 

5. Life-long psychological damage: the legacy of K-12 slavery. 

For every locality A the term "the government of A" names the largest dealer in interpersonal violence in that locality (definition, after Max Weber). 

A law is a threat by a government to kidnap (i.e., arrest), assault (i.e., subdue), and forcibly infect with HIV (i.e., imprison) someone, under some specified circumstance. 

An individual B has a right to engage in activity X within locality A if the government of A has promised not to interfere with B when B engages in activity X and, further, has promised to interfere with individuals C, D, etc. if they interfere with B when B engages in activity X.

An individual B has title to a resource Y within locality A if the government of A recognizes a right of B to control the resource Y which (right) includes the authority to transfer control to individuals C, D, etc on terms mutually acceptable to B, C, D, etc. (i.e., to sell the resource and transfer title).

A legal environment is called "market-oriented" to the degree that resources move between individuals through the system of title and contract law. 

Federalism (subsidiarity, many local policy regimes) and competitive markets in goods and services institutionalize humility on the part of State (i.e., government, generally) actors. If a policy dispute turns on a matter of taste, federalism and competitive markets in goods and services leave room for the expression of varied tastes, while the contest for control over a State-monopoly provider must inevitably create unhappy losers (who may comprise the vast majority; imagine the outcome of a County-wide vote on the one size and style of shoes we all must wear. If a policy dispute turns on a matter of fact, where "What works?" is an empirical question, federalism and competitive markets in goods and services will provide more information than will a State-monopoly enterprise. A State-monopoly enterprise is an experiment with one treatment and no control group, a foolish experimental design.  

After the fall of the Soviet State the British poet and historian of that State, Robert Conquest wrote that people in the West had incompletely learned two important lessons: (a) the limits to the amount of good that organized interpersonal violence (i.e., government) can accomplish and (b) the stultifying effect of bureaucracy, public or private.  

 Between "forbidden" and "compulsory" there's room for "we don't recommend it, but we won't stop you", "who cares?", and "we recommend it, but we won't make you".  

Why is the State (i.e., government, generally) in the education business at all? This "Why?" question has three interpretations (answers below):

1. The historical "Why?" What motivated Massachusetts politicians in 1647 to introduce compulsory attendance laws? What motivated politicians of New England and Pennsylvania in the early decades of the 19th century put compulsory attendance laws on the books and to restrict parents' options for the use of the taxpayers' sub-adult education subsidy to schools operated by government employees?

2. The welfare-economic "Why?" What do children, parents, prospective suppliers of education services, or taxpayers get from a State role in the education industry that they would not get from a voucher-subsidized competitive market in education services or from an unsubsidized, minimally-regulated competitive market in education services?   

3. The political science "Why?" What motivates politicians today to sustain the current US State-monopoly school system? 

I have been participating in discussions of education policy in the comments section of _Washington Post_ Education articles since the nomination of Elisabeth DeVos as Secretary of Education. The challenge of the discussion has prompted me to seek more information and to simplify, as much as possible, my arguments. 

One recent comment added a consideration to my understanding of the socialist phenomenon. 

Hannah Natanson, "Va. parents file lawsuit, schools vow resistance against Youngkin’s order making masks optional", _Washington Post_ (ymd = 2022-01-18)

Comment thread ... 

(Malcolm Kirkpatrick): " The CDC reported 444 deaths "with" the novel coronavirus between 2020-01-01 and 2022-01-01 to people in the age 5 to 17.99 cohort. The commute to school poses a greater threat to people in this age cohort.

The number 444 Covid deaths in two years exaggerates the threat to people in this age cohort, since if a Covid+ person broke up with is girl and shot himself in the head, the CDC would count that death as a Covid death."
(anon): "Wrong. Cause of death is exactly what it sounds like, what event caused the death. If a terminal cancer patient dies in an auto accident, that's the cause of death not the cancer."

My critic erred. CDC counted as Covid co-morbidities deaths by suicide (firearm). Why did s/he/it so confidently assert: "wrong"?

"Anon's" apparent trust in government employees has added something to my understanding of the socialist impulse.
1. Mises (_Socialism_) suggests that socialism originates in a primitive revenge fantasy.
2. Envy is a sin for a reason. Morality evolves. Given the prevalence of envy, envy, like gluttony, expresses an evolved appetite that must have contributed to reproductive success during the millions of years that proto-humans lived in 30-person extended-family bands of hunter-gatherers. If the best hunter in the group looks like Tom Sellek and sings like Sam Cook, the only way I get my chromosomes into the next generation is to arrange a little accident. Once humans started living in communities of a few thousand mostly distantly-related individuals, the primitive hunter-gatherer strategy became mal-adaptive. If twenty weavers or potters do better work than I, I will get caught and killed before the strategy that envy inspires makes a big enough dent in my competition to enhance my chances of reproductive success.
3. In The Road to Wigan Pier, Orwell suggests that socialism originates in a hypertrophied sense of order, what today we would call OCD, like the people who rearrange the socks in the underwear drawer twenty times a day.
4. Elsewhere (e.g., "Raffles and Mrs. Blandish", "Inside the Whale"), Orwell suggests that a predilection for authoritarian politics originates in vicarious sadism.
5. My critic's comment caused me to add Stockholm Syndrome. Once you have handed control over your life to the goons with the guns (the government), the idea that they don't and won't care for you is too horrible to contemplate, so reason just shuts down.

1. Search "That old deluder, Satan". Search "Bible riots". The US State monopoly school system originated in theocratic imperatives in the religious colonies of British North America and, later, anti-Catholic bigorty.    
2. Nothing. This is my basic text:
Eduardo Zambrano
Formal Models of Authority: Introduction and Political Economy Applications
Rationality and Society, May 1999

"Aside from the important issue of how it is that a ruler may economize on communication, contracting and coercion costs, this leads to an interpretation of the state that cannot be contractarian in nature: citizens would not empower a ruler to solve collective action problems in any of the models discussed, for the ruler would always be redundant and costly. The results support a view of the state that is eminently predatory, (the ? MK.) case in which whether the collective actions problems are solved by the state or not depends on upon whether this is consistent with the objectives and opportunities of those with the (natural) monopoly of violence in society. This conclusion is also reached in a model of a predatory state by Moselle and Polak (1997). How the theory of economic policy changes in light of this interpretation is an important question left for further work."
3. Strident lobbying by dues-paying members of the NEA/AFT/AFSCME cartel. 


Selection Bias

 Neo ponders: "Why didn't more professors oppose the Gramscian march or at least stick up for free speech?"

One participant to the discussion mentions academic hiring practices in the 1960s. I would add that patriots served in Vietnam and wound up four years behind the NLF  sympathizers who hid out in college.  


Last.fm/music: "Jeannie Kendall was born November 13, 1954 in St. Louis, MO."  
Still kicking and, thanks to modern technology, immortal. 
Some other sources give a different birthday. 


Alma Deutscher, Homeschooled

Homeschooled? How would it work otherwise?

Scott Pelly, "Alma Deutscher, The Prodigy Whose First Language is Mozart", _60 Minutes_, 2019-Aug.-11

"Even the real world is magical. The Deutschers moved to the English countryside to be near a famous school of music. Alma is privately tutored and homeschooled alongside her sister Helen who also knows her way around the piano and the tree house."


World Champion, Homeschooler

Shanna McCarriston, "U.S. Women's Gymnastics Wins Record-tying fifth Consecutive World Championship as Simone Biles Makes More History" CBS Sports, (2019-10-09)
"The team was led by the now most-decorated female gymnast Simone Biles, who has 15 world championship gold medals with 21 medals total. The Olympian also now has two new moves named after her, one on floor and one on beam, which will be called the "Biles II" and "Biles" respectively, after being the first to ever execute them on an international stage." 

(Wikipedia): "In 2012, Biles switched from public school to home schooling and the change allowed her to increase her training from approximately 20 hours a week to 32, which led to her improved success during the 2012 season. Biles spent all her secondary education as a homeschooler and graduated in the summer of 2015. Biles verbally committed to UCLA on August 4, 2014, announcing her decision on Twitter.[18] She planned to defer enrollment until after the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. In November 2014, Biles signed her National Letter of Intent with UCLA.[19] However, on July 29, 2015, she announced that she would turn professional, forfeiting her NCAA eligibility to compete for UCLA.[20] In January 2018, it was announced that Biles had enrolled at the University of the People to study business administration and become the university's brand ambassador."