9 thoughts on “Teachers going out of their way for their students

  1. It worked, right? The test scores were higher. 🙂

    That is to say it worked exactly the same way that the USSR’s “scoring” system worked for grain production. Everyone claimed to make exactly the required amount of grain… except nobody ACTUALLY made the required amount of grain, which made it difficult to feed everyone.

    As long as we’re talking about mandating scores, can we talk about the dysfunction of mandating criminal sentences and handcuffing judge’s discretion?

      • My point was that I feel that mandated sentences are ineffective in solving the problem of crime. I figured it was a fair comparison to make if the point of the link you posted was that mandated testing is ineffective in solving the problem of a functional education system.

        Or my sarcastic reply: “Sure, there’s an easy way to avoid mandated public education… move to Sudan, or Chad, or any war torn 3rd world country.”

    • I think the phrase in Russia was “we pretend to work and the government pretends to pay us.” Updated for US public education: “we pretend to teach and the students pretend to learn.”

      • “we pretend to teach and the students pretend to learn”

        I think that would be an improvement if that were true, in some cases. I’d say in failing school districts they aren’t even trying to pretend.


    Like Wally stated – “It worked.” The schools were given an incentive to attain higher test scores and that’s what they did. As usual, the government screwed up. Their first mistake was in thinking that they had the answer and could anticipate the unforeseen consequences. As we all know, the real goal should be to add something of value to the student whether that is making him more productive, or giving him a better understanding of American values, etc. Instead, the government chose to reward higher test scores. It’s a typical leftist example of feeling good instead of actually doing good.

    Here’s another example (from Econ Library):

    “In the developed world, we like to think of slavery as a bad memory. But slavery persists to this day, particularly in some parts of Africa, most notably the Sudan. Raiding parties steal children from their home villages and transport them for sale in slave markets many miles away. In the 1990s, when news of this ongoing tragedy came to the developed world, well-intentioned people formed charitable foundations that raised money for slave redemption—that is, buying people out of slavery.

    Did these charitable efforts do any good? Certainly, some people are free now who might otherwise of have lived their whole lives in slavery. But there is strong evidence to suggest that slave redemption made the overall situation worse. As journalist Richard Miniter reported in a 1999 article in the Atlantic Monthly, the high prices offered by relatively rich Americans increased the demand for slaves, turned the slave trade into an even more lucrative business, and thereby gave raiders an incentive to conduct even more slave raids. If not for the activities of Western charitable organizations, many of the redeemed slaves might never have been enslaved in the first place!…”

    Incentives matter! However, when they reward the wrong result, we get that wrong result. If students and their parents had an incentive – that is a reward – for actually being more productive (not just learning as learning without application is not producing) at the end of their schooling, we would get productive citizens. A society that provides punishes productivity with higher taxes and rewards sloth with subsidies and various forms of welfare payments gets more sloth and less productivity. Duh! We can reward the schools ’til the cows come home. That might affect what schools do, but it won’t put the incentive where it needs to be – on the kids and their parents – and we’ll continue to produce lazy idiots (actually, many of them aren’t really lazy, but simply acting rationally in accordance with bad incentives).

    The bigger question is why do we keep electing these idiots who repeat the same mistakes? I think it’s related to the reason that most people pay too much for investment advice – they think that there exists some guru (or set of gurus) whose wisdom is so great that he can produce much better results. In the case of the government, too many people think that we can elect politicians who are so clever that they can outperform a free market in terms of advancing our society and making us all better off.

    Most politicians are idiots at best:

    and he got re-elected:

    Or this (sorry it’s long, but does she ever provide any concrete answers – it’s all BS rhetoric)

    To reiterate, why do we keep electing these idiots?

  3. “why do we keep electing these idiots?”

    Markets in everything.

    The political contract is: Politician A tells a story of tragedy and hardship and promises to do something about it in exchange for votes. If the story is compelling enough or includes the right mix of sub-plots to attract a majority, they win. That pretty much ends the contract. The return policy is tilted against the voter. There is no requirement nor incentives to keep the promises. The incentive then becomes, what must the politician do to support the next election. Any expectation that they will do anything other than what is in their own self-interest is delusional.

    To paraphrase Nancy, we got to elect them to see what they’ll do. Of course, by then it’s too late.

    • The entire process reminds me of Charlie Brown and Lucy with the football. Do “we” keep re-electing these idiots because too many of us are idiots or because to many of us are greedy/envious and want the free goodies they promise – after all, if you’re in a bracket that pays zero income tax, what’s the downside of bumping up the rates for the other brackets in hopes that maybe you’ll get more freebies?


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