Holding Back the Future

Betsy remarks on the state of public education in North Carolina:

What is striking to me is that the Durham Public Schools, instead of being happy to have an exciting public school opportunity offered for their students, all they can do is complain and try to block the reform. They could embrace the new school and try to work with it. They could encourage their middle school students to apply. Then they see about adopting successful methods. But they’d rather keep the status quo than try to see how experimental reform could offer new opportunities for their area’s students.

This thinking is hardly restricted to education. VDH explains this same idea in a broader sphere:

The more [Barack Obama’s] administration castigates insurers, businesses, and doctors; raises taxes on the upper income brackets; and imposes additional regulations, the more those who create wealth are deciding to sit out, neither hiring nor lending. The result is that traditional self-interested profit-makers are locking up trillions of dollars in unspent cash rather than using it to take risks, since they will likely either lose money due to new red tape or see much of their profit confiscated through higher taxes.

No wonder that in such a climate of fear and suspicion, unemployment remains near 10 percent. Deficits chronically exceed $1 trillion per annum. And now the poverty rate has hit a historic high. We are all getting poorer in hopes that a few won’t get richer.

If some students are able to benefit more than their peers by reason of a charter school, this is a good thing. They are not taking educational achievement away from any others.

If some people, through dint of their own efforts or inheritance or any other reason, are unable to securely work with the wealth they have, the poorer people are not elevated as a result. In fact, they may well be depressed.

We must get away from the upside-down thinking that if we cripple one group of people, we will allow others to be more successful. I cannot see how doing so is practically different from breaking the legs of the participants of the 400-meter relay to ensure that those in the stands will be able to run in their stead.