Got to work this morning after driving in the dark after waking up too biologically early after going to sleep at what felt like the right time. I think I could handle Daylight Savings Time better if the shift were more gradual, say, moving the clocks ahead in 10-minute increments over the course of six days, or 1-minute increments over the course of sixty days.

Anyhow, got to work this morning, checked my mailbox, found a hardcopy of the following article from, the website of the National Education Association:

Ravitch Lashes Teacher Bashers

A former important cheerleader for No Child Left Behind now says that she, and it, were wrong. Diane Ravitch, a leading education historian who was Assistant Secretary of Education under Pres. George H. W. Bush, says the test-driven accountability strategy of the law “has warped U.S. education in the pursuit of higher test scores, but not better education. Kids, especially in poor neighborhoods, are getting schooling that consists of test prep, test prep, and testing.”

The next paragraph, published at the website of a teachers’ union that promotes education, featured the following sentence:

Ravitch traced her turnaround on NCLB to session conservative American Enterprise Institute November, 2006, where after speaker reported that law not improving education.

Law not improving grammar either. In short, Ravitch argues that the federal government doesn’t know how to reform schools, and that it should scale back its involvement in public education.

Fine, but–at risk of starting an argument–why would such staunch opponents of No Child Left Behind (i.e., the National Education Association) favor universal health insurance? After all, if the feds don’t know what they’re doing when it comes to education, why should we expect them to have any idea what they’re doing when it comes to something far more expensive and complicated, such as health care?

Look at Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. They make up a larger and larger piece of the federal spending pie, despite initial promises that they wouldn’t break the bank. And these unfathomably expensive programs are so entrenched that merely talking about reforming them can be political suicide. How many of these massive federal programs have to approach insolvency, increase our unfunded liabilities, and threaten America’s long-term financial stability before we realize that, at least when it comes to social spending, the feds don’t know what they’re doing?

Should we believe that universal health insurance will be the one thing that the federal government finally gets right?

Connecting NCLB and health care may seem a stretch, but Obamacare’s in the news, so I think it’s at least timely to make the connection and ask the question. Furthermore, the NEA does have a position on universal health care, so I think it’s worth pointing out the inconsistent logic behind their positions on health care and NCLB. And yes, I’m sure that if we tweaked just that one little part of NCLB, or that one little part of Social Security, or that one little part of Medicare, everything would be perfectly fine and dandy.

13 thoughts on “Bash.

  1. (I keep forgetting that they’re not “good ol’ boys” when they’re on your side.)

    I hope the health insurance bill in front of the House right now fails. I hope that every single Representative who votes for it is tarred and feathered upon their return to their home district. Then I hope that they are all voted out of office in November. Sadly, none of those three things are likely to happen.

    I look at the bill, I look at history, I look at politics, I look at economics, and I see absolutely no reason to think that this health care bill will (A) improve the general standard of health care in this country or (B) come in anywhere close to the projected costs. You have to ignore an awful lot of reality to believe that this bill will do either (A) or (B).


  2. I’m moderate, and I’m not under the belief that democrats don’t have their fair share of “good ol’ boys” but I think the general connotation of the term is given to Republicans, to whom I was originally referring.

    As for meeting (A) or (B), when is any proposed legislations projected cost ever an accurate figure of what it actually will cost? I don’t think this particular bill is unique in that problem. The question of will it actually improve healthcare in America… That’s entirely different. At the most pessimistic the bill will atleast serve to introduce the idea of universal healthcare, which let’s admit, compared to other successful core nations, America is long overdue for.

    I think it’s also refreshing to see the politicians risk their reputations and careers for this bill, and to actually try to do SOMETHING instead of sit in leather chairs and fall asleep for the remainder of their terms. While you can’t see supporters losing the next elections for yea votes, I think (and likely they too) that that’s a very real possibility.


  3. First, I certainly can see supporters of this bill losing their next election, but I said I want all of them to lose. That’s an unrealistic hope.

    Second, you write, “when is any proposed legislations projected cost ever an accurate figure of what it actually will cost? I don’t think this particular bill is unique in that problem.” That’s part of the point of my original post–the expenditures on these programs always overrun the original estimates (sometimes by more than an order of magnitude), and we know this because we’ve seen it before in NCLB, Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security. “Running hundreds of billions (if not trillions) of dollars over projected costs” is a pretty powerful argument against a program, even if–especially if–there are already several similarly wasteful programs already in place.

    (If you don’t think so, then let me borrow $100, by which I mean let me actually borrow $1,000, and I promise I’ll eventually get around to paying you back maybe.)

    Third, you say, “the bill will atleast serve to introduce the idea of universal healthcare, which let’s admit, compared to other successful core nations, America is long overdue for.” I don’t admit that at all. It’s correct that until last night, we haven’t socialized (and I mean that descriptively, not disparagingly) our health care system as much as other advanced nations have. But you’re begging the question when you say America is “long overdue” for it. I reject the idea that nationalized health care is desirable or that it’s something we should aspire to.

    Incidentally, our government may be on the verge of losing its AAA credit rating.


  4. I think the US government will have to be in hock for $1 quadrillion before T-notes will hit junk status.

    At this rate we will hit it by 2050. If not earlier.

    I am making these numbers up.


  5. I typed up a long detailed reply and my laptop died. So for the sake of being utterly lazy, here’s my alternative reply,

    What sort of healthcare do you think is desirable for the United States? Certainly not what we have now?


  6. So, will the time it takes to do a follow up to this post rival the time it took to do the follow-up to the Dilbert post?


  7. Think of my response time as a metaphor for nationalized health care.

    Actually, I was editing it when I saw the last two comments needed to be approved. It’s like we’re all in sync. “How to Make Everything Perfect Forever, Part Three” will be up this evening.


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