We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Now David Brooks is a bright guy, so I wonder how he can blame the free market for failing in this way (that is, with education). He continues, "Despite all the incentives, 30 percent of kids drop out of high school and the college graduation rate has been flat for a generation."
Excuse me, but why is that the market's fault? Government dominates education in America. K-12 education is a coercive, often rigidly unionized government virtual monopoly that fights every attempt to experiment with free-market competition.
Silly, the free market is supposed to create the jobs that government schools are preparing kids for. And pay them in moonbeams.
Yes, that is a bit sneering, but I think it goes to the heart of the problem. If there are not the right jobs when kids finish school, the educational departments conclude that it is society that is going awry. This is because the education departments train teachers to teach the Right Values For a Better World.
Fortunately, a lot of those teachers have children of their own, or experiences outside the classroom, and resist becoming one with the indoctrinators.
Assistant Village Idiot
Way back when I put together a post on education reform ( http://ajacksonian.blogspot.com/2006/01/modest-proposal-on-education-reform.html ).
In 1958 poor Johnny had problems reading! No, really!
People hemmed and hawed and fretted and put more money into education... and more money... and then, President Carter in his grand ability to expand government, decided it was a National problem and needed an executive level Department to address it! Luckily, President Reagan came into office with his vaunted chain saw.... oh... wait... he left that at home and brought the wheel barrow and lots of fertilizer.... and expanded that Department.
Now, after the lovely Administrations in between we are left with a HUGE bureaucracy... a Mighty Department! Yes, tens of billions spent on education!
And Johnny's kids?
Still reading at the exact same rate as Johnny's generation did.
Big Government: ensuring that a problem gets its own lobbyist class so that the problem will never be fixed as it now employs more people as a problem.