September 15, 2004
"Our children's education is too important to try experiments to see what works best"

Yes, that's what they say.

I try not to go on about America all the time, but this was too juicey a quote to ignore. Thank you Google for picking out that sentence.

Here's the paragraph it comes in:

And, while charter-school supporters point to other studies and anecdotal information to show that charter schools can work, vying studies don't demonstrate who is right and who is wrong. They simply demonstrate that the possibility for success of children in charter schools is an unknown. Our children's education is too important to try experiments to see what works best.

But if people are dissatisfied with what they are getting now, and if nobody is actually going to die or even suffer acute pain during these experiments, and might actually be a lot happier and learn more, then what's wrong with parents who want to giving them a go.

After all, there are a lot of public sector schools where parents would love it if the outcome was an "unknown", instead of the all-too-known that they are instead stuck with.

I think I know what these authors were trying to say with this amazing sentence, but the words they actually used show, I think, how out of touch they must surely be with lots of parents. They've said things like this to their friends and co-educrats so often, to such warm applause, that they truly didn't realise what they'd put. When they talk or write about "experiments", they, and their usual audiences and readerships, see evil right wing monsters inflicting cruel tortures on furry white animals and chucking defenceless kids off an experimental cliff. But lots of others will simply see them turning their backs on the obvious way (experiments) to make progress and to add to the store of human knowledge, in this case to the knowledge of how best to impart knowledge to the next generation.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 02:49 PM
Category: Free market reforms