Tuesday, August 21, 2012

"Investing" In Public Education is Not Investing

In response to a recent NJ Star-Ledger letter-to-the-editor that ended with this:

We cannot allow policymakers to distract us by scapegoating educators or crying impotence over poverty. We must demand they examine poverty’s effects and invest in the public schools combating them. Our low-income students, almost half of our student population, depend upon it. 

I commented:

I hope you’re not a teacher, Kristina, considering the way you misuse language. If the term “invest” has any meaning, it refers to a private voluntary allocation of one’s savings with the expectation of earning a profit. Taking money by force of taxation to support a government education monopoly certainly doesn’t qualify as an investment. Anyone labeling that “investment” shouldn’t be teaching children. 
Your solution is just doubling down on failure. After half a century and trillions of dollars in wealth redistribution under federal “war on poverty” initiatives—and an ever-growing flood of “investment” in government schools—all we get are more demands for more tax money to fix a “poverty” problem that only grows relentlessly. To the anti-poverty warriors, poverty is an end in itself—a means of perpetuating government programs. That is the meaning of “We must demand they examine poverty’s effects and invest in the public schools combating them.” Such “education” is not the solution. Freedom is. 
I don’t support the current top-down, “teacher-accountability” craze. But bloating the government education monopoly even further is not the answer, either. Empowering parents and education entrepreneurialism by moving towards an education free market is the practical and moral solution (http://www.theobjectivestandard.com/issues/2011-sp... Parents have a fundamental right to direct the course of their children’s education, and are, in fact, the ones best positioned to judge the quality of the teachers, and should be free to vote with their own dollars. Universal education tax credits would set us on a course towards that goal. 
To establishment defenders who find this idea horrifying, I ask: Why do you fear parental freedom and competition in a free market? Don’t you think that parents would voluntarily choose your schools, and voluntarily pay for them? If not, then what moral justification do you offer to support forced government schooling? If so, why do you need it?

Thanks to this comment from:

Zemack, here is the ACTUAL definition of the word invest (not your spin on it):  Invest Verb 1.to put (money) to use, by purchase or expenditure, in something offering potential profitable returns, as interest, income, or appreciation in value. 2.to use (money), as in accumulating something: to invest large sums in books. 3.to use, give, or devote (time, talent, etc.), as for a purpose or to achieve something  No where does it say "private voluntary allocation". So before you go all high and mighty on us, maybe you should pick up a dictionary.

I clarified my point:

nbilfan, My Webster's also includes: 
"To put (money) into business, real estate, stocks, bonds, etc., for the purpose of obtaining an income or profit."  
As I read Kristina's use of the term "invest," she implies this definition, which as it applies to tax money allocated to government schools, is an invalid use of the term. 

To equate money taken by force (government's means) with money obtained through voluntary means such as money earned from productive work, received through inheritance, etc., means every criminal is an investor. Applying the term to government obliterates any objectively usable definition of the term. As Harry Binswanger notes, "investment" is "a term properly applied only to the private sector, not to the government’s expropriation of capital from the private sector to finance boondoggles that men’s free financial decisions would not allow."

Related Articles:

Distorting Words for Political Gain

To Discredit Anti-Capitalists, Pro-Capitalists Need to Learn How to Use Words by Harry Binswanger

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