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6 yrs ago


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<Snipped quote by mdk>
You could try addressing the points without being snarky.

I wanna be the guy that does that. I can be that guy on the weekend (you left me a lot of "go find X and read it again" type homework); during the week I don't have time to be that guy. I'll get to you sooner if you can repackage your concept into quickly-respond-able formatting (again, I know, I'm the one that broke that up with snarking, sorry). Example:

I think we should get the federal government as much "out" of education as possible. Treating it like a public good is mostly detrimental (with exceptions that are worth thinking about more than I have). I'm reluctant to take any action which has a centralizing effect on the education industry, because distinctions between independent schools have proven important to students, parents, graduates, employers, and schools themselves.
I'm also curious as to why you ducked out of addressing the other points.

Because I started this whole snarking thing, and it's my fault for doing so, but the other points are largely just snark and I'd rather not spiral further out of control on that.

edit: that sounded judgy. It's not judgy. I was an asshole for comedy points, I got mine, you got yours, figured let's stop now.
Now imagine I didn't ask all that, and just stared at you like some uneducated internetizen that didn't know the first thing about politics or economics, because I couldn't fiscally or temporally afford postsecondary education. Would you be able to rephrase your answer in a way I could actually understand?


"You don't need college right now. Here's a list of people hiring in your area."
We could say the same about many parties, states, and programs, particularly those that are opaque, committee/executive overseen, funded through force, affiliated with older systems, and/or only integrated with affiliated older systems. Corruption has a habit of being unoriginal, due to its propagation vectors. I am not saying public or private education is inherently better or worse, I am proposing that new options be provided to maximize productivity in many ways for both economic domains, and suggesting that both domains can easily afford to fully implement them and continue to prosper.

There's just enough corporate-speak in these responses that I'm having a hard time following. 'Funded through force?' 'Integrated with affiliated older systems?' This language seems rather 'opaque.'

Novelty isn't inherently better. A novel system that simply makes it easier for enrolled, prospective, or self educating students to complete courses with high marks, and acquire certificates with that institution's name on it, is much better for everyone than what currently exists, especially if it's all funded through voluntary transactions or donations.

The bolded section is what kills this. The institution must have agency (actionable free will) to determine who gets their certification. We don't get to decide what's best for Harvard. Harvard decides what's best for Harvard, you decide what's best for you. I know half a dozen people who've taken online courses in the last year, which means I've taken half a dozen online courses in the last year as they ask me for help with their homework. Maybe the degree those online students are earning shouldn't have the same value as the one I earned. Maybe it's not as good. Maybe the university should be allowed to make its own valuation of all possible avenues of education (including which to offer and from which to abstain), and the free market should be allowed to make its valuation of each university's reputation. Maybe none of this is broken except the cost.

Not really. As far as I know, private nonprofits and tax subsidized private educators are just creating highly focused in-house systems, not a multimedia, multisector, multidisciplinary platform. Also, I have yet to see anyone offer course completion exams set up by appointment, let alone exams for a very wide range of course, let alone across an entire country.

So.... is this an example of people doing the thing you want, or an example of people not doing the thing you want? This was your example. Help me out.

Right, as some people simply won't adopt a new system for one or more mutable reasons, such as incompatibility with their own system. But I urge you to find a school that has voluntarily refrained from adopting computer technology, then compare their quality and profitability with the rest of the market.

"Computers are good, do what I say!" Apples to oranges. I can play -- find me a school that has voluntarily started breathing oxygen substitute and compare their quality with the rest of the market. See? The old stuff is better!

Productivity is maximized by selection factors, of which the invisible hand is but one. I don't advocate for price ceilings or committee/executive interference, but I do think it's worth ensuring this system: keeps prices below market averages to grow demand so supply growth accelerates due to lower distribution costs, and letting citizens directly provide free feedback and oversight for this system.

You don't advocate for price ceilings but we need to make sure the price stays below market?

I don't believe that all forms of a nation's education industry market growth are good for that nation's economic health, but some forms are more cost effective and less detrimental than other forms in certain conditions.

When did I suggest the federal government proclaim that certain institutions be shut down and converted? I believe I actually said: "Who cares if they don't play along? They can just get their subsidies cut, if they want to continue stalling economic growth by draining capital for their short sighted benefit."

Here's my crux of the issue. You're collectivizing the education industry because prices are high. Prices are high -- but private schools perform much better than public schools. So rather than trying to make the public schools function more like private (by decentralizing, offering states and municipalities more agency, taking federal subsidies out), you're trying to make the private schools act more public (by putting all products into the same basket, intentionally undercutting its value, and coercing participation with selective subsidy). It's backwards. Mind you -- there's a great kernel of truth in there! But this version of the future education market you're picturing isn't just corrupted, it's corruption period. I imagine implementing as described (or at least, as understood -- feel free to clarify), we'd do for education in America what Venezuela did for its agriculture.

What is best now in a given worldview is not the best that a given worldview can quickly and reasonably attain for a low cost. It's also not necessarily what will be best in the near or far future, as quality can shift at any given time with the right conditions. To given it due credit, the current paradigm has a self improving flavor, thanks to its recursive self modification and selection. By creating an expanding frontier that can increase mobility in every sector of the economy, you unleash the informatic equivalent of the Industrial/Electric/Digital Revolution.

Which is a great idea. Um.... what revolution was ever begun by a federal government (I'm sure there is one, but, just saying...) Okay the American Revolution was started by the Continental Congress, but... okay so that sounded better in my head, sheez, cut me some slack here. My point being -- Henry Ford does this, Eli Whitney does this, Al Gore pretends to have done this. Steve Jobs does this. Mitch McConnel doesn't do this.

As for salaries, I think there should be a way to ethically tip teachers (most likely without the teacher knowing their benefactors), don't you? If so, it seems quite easy for the system I'm talking about to facilitate that, if the institution employing them doesn't want to give them a raise despite high amounts of positive public feedback.

That doesn't seem practical. If the tip is going to be good enough that it'll attract the same level of professional talent as private schools do now, then it could hardly be cheaper. Or wouldn't the good ones just pitch to the wealthiest students, and the same inequalities persist? Or why wouldn't everybody freeload? The best content on the internet is behind a paywall. There's probably a reason for that.

>Citizen monitored
You mean committee/executive monitored, because I doubt most citizens can see just how badly those teachers are doing their jobs while they're on shift, as if they were students.

Every citizen was a student, nearly every one can vote and/or serve on the school board. We have this level of control already and we can't teach kids how to read. Turning the local school board into the comments section of YouTube doesn't seem likely to improve the situation.

>Willingly funded
Taxes are not voluntary.

Again I'm confused here. Willingly funded is your description. You're talking about subsidies and price controls (and tips I guess all of a sudden?)....

How better to make it elastic than to offer frugal customers a cheaper but high quality product?

Again, you're talking about setting a price below market value. That by definition is inelastic. "How better?" Do the same thing you're talking about, in the free market. Be that hero. Be the University of Phoenix.

Yes, cut loans, stop subsidies, and encourage competition. But don't do it until you provide a much more practical alternative method to ensure productivity during and after the state steps back, or else your economy will stall like someone trying to replace their only gas tank while driving next to a tanker that's filling said tank with fuel. You get more homelessness due to less skilled laborers and employers, more low wage jobs due to multinationals or other countries benefiting from the weaker domestic output and brain drain, and more corruption due to initially higher scarcity encouraging price gouging.

Pah. If we announced today that federal subsidies for secondary and post-secondary education were being slashed 90% by 2025, the world would not explode into homelessness like a trucker.

What solutions could your paradigm offer to the country in such an unpleasant time, when the average person has no idea what you're even talking about, and has made up erroneous conclusions about economics that are perpetually reinforced by confirmation bias and subverted authorities that spread propaganda?

Apprenticeship programs, trade schools, small business revitalization, loosening of regulation, maybe even a little economic protectionism to protect national industry, immigration reform to help recover wages, federal government restricts its purchasing to national goods and materials, some infrastructure spending.... gosh if we did all that I think we'd see almost 4% growth in GDP quarterly.
This is gonna be more cut/snip/jokey/argumentative than normal, I'm MOSTLY doing that to try and be funny, sorry in advance (I hate when people do this -- it's like interrupting, but digitally). It's gonna sound like I'm laying into you and I don't mean it that way. It's early and I'm snarking, nothing personal.

It appears to me that private education is deemed to have higher quality due to the scarcity and costs, but between the cases of sexual misconduct, exaggerated postgraduation job placement rates, charter school embezzlement, and lack of transparency from tax funded private schools, I'm not so sure about that axiom.

We could say the same things about the Democrat party, and/or any and all socialist governments/programs in the history of the world (though they usually also murder people). *shrug* Call me "unconvinced that making it a public good will help." With ANY of that.

Something entirely new, more efficient, highly transparent, publicly overseen, voluntarily funded, and unaffiliated with but integrated with older systems sounds like a better alternative.

Baby with the bathwater. On what grounds do you argue that 'something entirely new' will be better? How could we possibly have any data whatsoever to back that up, and why on earth would we burn the whole education system down in pursuit of something that's never existed? BEAR IN MIND (I feel like I have to keep saying this), I'm not arguing we don't need education spending reform -- but I'm saying that because my tax dollars are watering campus quads in the desert, not because I'm huffing fairy farts.

Extant institutions will adapt, because many are preparing for this paradigm shift already, as evidenced by Harvard offering free online courses, MIT offering free archived lectures, and OpenStax offering free digital textbooks. you're saying private industry is already making this change on its own, at the intersection of supply and demand, organically and without a jackboot on their throats? GO FIGURE! Gosh it's almost like we don't need a government mandate...

By voluntarily applying the new system universally, disparities can diminish as productivity is maximized across the market.

"Voluntarily" and "Universally" are incompatible words. "Productivity" is maximized by the invisible hand and NOTTTT by price ceilings and government interference. Maybe take a free Harvard economics course online?

If you could turn rocks into gold, and did so considerably or indefinitely, you might cause an economic decline due to systems dependent on the scarcity of gold. But after a while, the market just might grow by exploiting that scarcity reduction, due to the multisector value of gold. Now, if you could teach people how to do that, the growth rate just might rise like a progressively exponential S-curve.

Here's a thing you're doing that I think is confusing the argument -- you're conflating market growth (ie "what's good for the education industry) with overall economic health of the population (ie "what makes a stronger overall economy"). Or maybe I'm just reading it that way elsewhere -- you're making the point more clearly here in this paragraph. It's not a wrong statement. More access to education = better average outcomes -- fact. But let's stick with the gold analogy -- let's say you can turn rocks into a gold-like substance that isn't quite gold, but is still pretty useful (goldium maybe?). Goldium isn't as high quality as bonded, certified Real Gold, but you're pretty sure it's good enough for most things. The correct way to get goldium into the market is to make it, sell it, and compete with gold in relevant markets -- the price of gold comes down because supply is increased in relevant sectors where that's applicable.

What you don't do is issue a federal proclamation that all gold mines must be shut down and converted into goldium-production facilities. You can subsidize it differently (though why would you have to, unless Big Gold isn't playing fair). You just let innovation happen -- because governments don't innovate. They're not equipped to do so. I think what you're talking about here is dairy-free non-soy non-GMO Gold Substitute, and if you're into that, make it, sell it, start a website. Be the University of Phoenix, and if people really believe that's good enough, they'll buy your product. If not, well, you'll be University of Phoenix I guess.

Information is like this on steroids, making education the most crucial industry ever. By reducing barriers and increasing quality in macro/micro-economically sensible ways, you allow all industries to profit significantly enough to make reinvestment feedback loops much easier.

I disagree that you can (effectively) mandate an increase in quality by law. If you could, the VA wouldn't suck.

It's not just college education, but all postsecondary education, regardless of its form or public/private/public-private distinction. Like all industries, education should be made affordable for everyone involved, but the current paradigm is showing its lack of fiscal responsibility and desire for self improvement. Unless a more efficient alternative is implemented, funding reductions will just cause more scarcity that can increase cost while quality drops.

The current paradigm has also produced the most dominant economy in the history of civilization, so... again, baby, bathwater, etc. If you want the best minds to be educators, you don't offer a pittance as salary; quality and access are opposed.

No kidding. I want the entire public to do a better job than the federal, state, county, municipal, private, and charter schools, and give them the means to do so by giving them access to archived data from all institutions that either: receive government funds, or are part of a citizen monitored and willingly funded education system.

Remember we started this conversation because the citizen-monitored-and-willingly-funded-education-system can't teach kids how to read.

TL;DR It's been said that school choice is desirable, but the proposed methods to achieve it seem suboptimal given the current possibilities. Maybe rather than school choice, it should be the freedom to choose how to reasonably educate yourself or those under your care. After all, there's evidence that institutions are routinely more self interested and less accountable when they cozy up with the state, due to capitalizing on practically assured private gains and public subsidies, thanks to the supply-demand inelasticity of education.

Maybe we can solve all of this by making it more elastic? If prices are stagnant and too high (gosh I wonder if federally-guaranteed student loans and education subsidies could be inflating the costs at all), perhaps the answer is to unlock those prices through competition? Why is your idea better than a free market? Rational self-interest gave us a website that can deliver fresh vegetables to your door cheaper than the supermarket (caveat: there's no Amazon Fresh in my area, ymmv), or q quarter pound of fresh meat anywhere in the country on the goddamn dollar menu. Private gains are a good thing.
As if tolerating the status quo, or advocating for even higher scarcity while undermining the foundations of the industry's accountability, are better alternatives.

It is the foundation of the industry's accountability. We have a whole federalized system to enforce it (accreditation). "I graduated from Harvard" is a statement that has economic value because it is not easily accessible; it has value because it means something to employers. PhD means something because of the barriers to achieving one. The change you propose (which, again -- I like!) undermines everything about the field of higher education. More power to ya -- but nobody in that industry (or any industry interested in hiring graduates) wants this. This kills them. Again, I'm okay with that, but don't expect cooperation.

The investment will massively pay itself back in countless ways, because the scarcity will decline if actively combatted, and both efficiency and profits in every sector will improve as a result. Growth is assured, because entry barriers will be removed and demand will be increased.

Rule of thumb: when you, or I, or anyone, says the words "growth is assured," that necessarily means we are talking out of our ass. Notably: enforcing a price ceiling has never once in the history of mankind encouraged growth, and never will. If we enforced this change on secondary educators at gunpoint, what we'd wind up with is a pretty good way of teaching everything we know in 2018, and in 2025 it'd be obsolete with no hope of recovery ever, because your incentives are completely out of whack. "The commons" is a tragedy, not a power ballad.

Who cares if they don't play along? They can just get their subsidies cut, if they want to continue stalling economic growth by draining capital for their short sighted benefit.

I read something once about killing the golden goose. I believe the moral was "Don't." If college education really is the driving force behind economic growth (and I don't think it is, but I gather that's part of your argument) -- you should be careful of the ways in which you fuck with it. Chaining the industry to a low-profit public good drum circle seems wildly irresponsible -- can't you just, you know.... go to a trade school, make six figures as a third-year carpenter, and laugh all the way to the bank? The only capital they're draining is what you give them willingly (and what the DoE gives them with your tax bucks, but that's more what I was talking about in my proposal).

BOILING IT DOWN: I don't believe the feds will ever do a better job of this than University of Phoenix, and everybody sued their pants off for being worthless. I don't think the feds will do a better job of this than YouTube. The private sector is much more capable of doing this job than the government will ever be, and we all already kinda think they suck at it. We're in an exploding-cart-before-the-exploding-horse conversation. I LIKE THE CART! I genuinely do. This is a terrible way of getting it to town.
You're encouraging participation in that sector, but not growth. If no money can be made (and how could it, if every private institution is competing for the same $5 bill), that makes it a poor investment. Exclusivity is the product (that's why we even have a word for "Ivy League"); I don't know that they're gonna play along. I say that while thinking "This is a great idea," just, ya know, there's probably a reason it hasn't happened yet.
1. Say goodbye to your economy, because you just cut off the main source of the GDP: laborers trained in postsecondary fields. Also, the system I've described isn't just for colleges, as it can work for any grade, field, or job.

Well if it's not just for college, fine. I don't think your analysis tying GDP to college graduation is accurate -- millennials have one of the highest rates of graduation in EVER, and perform the worst. Outside factors sure -- but that's a stretch on your part and I'm calling it.

2. Why not K-12, if not K-PhD? Better yet, why not just K-PhD? Actually, why focus on grades, when we can focus on courses and degrees?

*shrug* In the context of the conversation, literacy should probably come before a conversation about degrees and certs. otherwise, sure why not.

3. The DoE needs to be reformed and reduced, but definitely not axed. I can agree that taxes need to go ASAP, because conventional school revenue sources are volatile. However, the idea that the private market will sort the education industry out on its own is laughable without some sort of federal-to-municipal public education system with cheaper but higher quality services than your average private school today.

Well in the first place private education outperforms state education like 9/10 times, so it's certainly not LAUGHABLE. But that's not actually the suggestion -- the suggestion is to axe the federal contribution and oversight entirely (over probably some kind of staged withdrawal period) and give everything to the states. Not to privatize, only to de-federalize. States can do whatever they want (and we're more likely to find a good answer if we try 50 times, than if we try once).

This is bad for everyone, because the economy will contract as the private education industry will exploit the shit out of the even greater scarcity of their services, essentially draining the economy of its seed capital.

Right, and federal bureaucracies NEVER exploit the scarcity of their services. At least with private schools there's a recourse. Incidentally -- your suggestion (now that I think about it) is basically homeschooling on crack (albeit with state support) -- which (besides that state support) is about as private as it gets, so.....
What problems don't vanish in the system I've proposed? You can jack up the economic skill base, because that's literally what the internet has done for most of the world, and we just need to archive the data in user friendly formats to maximize skill acquisition, all while bypassing the imposed need for massive student debts that slow economic growth.

Well asking the government to innovate doesn't typically work out, and the priorities are a little out of whack -- how does this help the kids in Chicago who aren't being taught to read? Here's my version:

1. Government no longer backs or subsidizes ANY aspect of college education. Universities radically reform or starve themselves to death. I suspect that reformation will look a lot like Catchamber's pretty-smart streamlining of college, only privately (which makes them accountable and responsible for the quality, rather than a faceless bureaucrat)

2. All that money (all of it) goes to high school infrastructure. Not to teachers, not to unions; kids get the things they need to learn, period.

3. Once every school (k-12) in America is up to date and current and modern and fully equipped, shut down the DoE entirely. It's up to the states to handle; federal taxes go down and states adjust their rates to locally-desired levels. That way Chicago teachers can focus on what matters for their kids, rather than learning common core or satisfying some asinine quota for No Child Left Behind funding.

If we sever federal money from education in America, we drive down cost and corruption. It's irresponsible to do that before we clean up the mess we already made by throwing big bucks at the issue and pretending it was a solution; we can roll oversight into the DOJ to handle any discriminatory practices, but the intent is to get the feds the hell out of this.

Weaknesses: all this is bad for disabled kids, who rely a LOT on federal assistance to make school happen and work. Haven't thought deeply enough about how to keep their interests covered, let's solve that before we burn DeVos's empire to the ground.
<Snipped quote by Inkarnate>

What is the purpose of school then? Clearly it's not teaching according to the judge.

well it's a good place to score some weed
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