A few things that interest me here.
1. I feel like your original critique of School choice and Freddie DeBoer's are very similar. Public and private schools are too similar to expect too different outcomes, so who cares. Although I do think that this is an incentives problem, as the end of the day governments and colleges require the same tests of both, so how different could their curriculum or methods be? Mostly, private schools sell segregation, not racial, but class, this is popular because people inherently understand that learning is inversely proportionate to disruption. Disruption can be measured by the quality of parents. Schools have limited ability to deal with disruptive students, the best school stat to look at isn't test scores, its students living with both biological parents. Everything else is downstream of that.
2. Schools closing during covid, was much a function of parent preference. See (https://twitter.com/mattyglesias/status/1540317446934085632) The difference between public and private opening rates were in the wishes of the segregated parent groups. If all schools were private and reflected the choices of parents, the rates for the system as a whole may not have been too different from the public rates.
3. The reason we heard so much about school closures is elite parents often sent their kids to public schools in which they depended on real-estate prices to segregate their kids, but they were still a minority in districts like DC or NY. If we get school choice it's because these elite parents now understand that the Union's and other classes of parents do not share their preferences.
Yes, freedom to choose is important even if educational outcomes are about the same because you model autonomy and critical self responsibility both essential for engaging the world effectively.
How people responded to COVID, especially as it related to children, basically defined my stance on their value as human beings.
What the left did was a crime against humanity. They are no longer human to me.
What libertarians did ranged from collaborator (Cowen) to complain on the internet but do basically nothing else (Bryan). So somewhere between evil and useless.
The christian daycare we got our kids into defied all of the public health authorities threats, sanctions, and punishments in order to remain open and give our kids a normal childhood. The only people I saw make real personal sacrifices during COVID for the sake of the children were devoted christians. It showed me who will really have your back when push comes to shove.
School choice tying itself to academic outcomes has always been a bad bet. There are a lot of benefits to school choice, but higher test scores ain't one of them.
In fairness to the school choice movement, public school in like the 1990s wasn't as ridiculous as it is today. It wasn't as dysfunctional or ideological. It wasn't even as expensive either (K-12 spending has ballooned way faster then inflation). Today its obvious to parents how terrible schools are even if it didn't effect test scores at all, but it wasn't obvious when I was growing up.
Ironically, one of the big selling points of the school we are sending our oldest to next year is that it mostly does things the way they were done when I was in public school back then. Before "education reform".
Anyway, every single decision related to schools always happens on a party line vote. I got to see that up close recently. If you want school choice, you need to elect overwhelming margins of Republicans at all levels and put their feet to the fire to do it.
> School choice gives parents insurance against further official hypochondria… as well as protection from further expansion of woke brainwashing.
The reason I support school choice / education vouchers is because it give parents The Right To Walk Away (https://pontifex.substack.com/p/the-right-to-walk-away) -- something which makes it harder to oppress people in a whole variety of situations.
"Normal life plus COVID is better than lockdown life without COVID."
This is geniusly put.
Richard Mitchell noted that the problem with private schools is that their teachers are usually trained in the same moronic colleges of education as public school teachers. Nobody captured the essence of American education mire incisively or elegantly than did Mitchell. The Underground Grammarian.
It's also worth stating that private schools have insane amounts of extracurricular provision. One headteacher I knew used to say, "if children don't have free time, they don't have the time to be lazy or mean". His philosophy was to make sure that almost every hour of their day was accounted for by a combination of sports and academic clubs. They would have a few hours in the evening and were utterly exhausted, but their did seem to be a certain logic to the idea. Not to mention the fact that there were very few obese or mentally ill children in the school. That's what parents pay the big bucks for.
"But since most adults retain almost no academic knowledge..."
Where is the link supporting this statement?
California was so afraid of the privates gaining market share, that the rules for school closures were the same for both publics and privates. Cal even barred online private charters--built from day one to be online schools--from enrolling any new students.
An aside from Bryan's case here...
Seeing that half of government schools were open by 2021 would surprise those of us who only paid attention to main stream media — the Evening News created the impression that not a single school anywhere was meeting in-person.
I had to chuckle at this particular line: "since most adults retain almost no academic knowledge," Thanks for reaffirming my 12 years of education was a waste of time and that most of what I know is from being self taught. Not to mention the boatload of money I saved dropping out of college.
Most pundits never change their minds and would never admit it if they did. Bravo.
Apology accepted (if I can be presumptuous). Powerful argument for a market in education is that it shifts responsibility back to parents. You don't like X, Y, or Z, vote with your feet and stop kvetching.
Yes, with power (empowering parents) comes responsibility. Teachers / schools also empowered - go elsewhere if you don't like it. Everyone's happier.
The parochial system of my youth - pastor as relatively disinterested school board and one nun running the school - had much to recommend it. Parental input? No, we don't need that. If you don't like it, leave. For most part, was a good model.
During COVID-19 school closures, I remember seeing this as a good opportunity to test the signaling theory of education. Some students totally missed some portion of schooling. Some students partially missed some schooling. Some learned from home. Some missed nothing. However, for almost everyone the signal is the same. Missing some school should have a small effect, but maybe you could detect it with a large enough data set. Will these students have worse life outcomes? I'm very skeptical. Students will retain less in the short term, but in the long term it all goes to nearly zero.