Saturday, January 22, 2011

Mitch Daniels Fails to Acknowledge the Complete Truth about School Choice

COLUMN NOTES: After you read this column, let's have some fun and post a comment on what you think would happen if we had compulsory tire rotation laws.

HARBESON: Daniels’ education talk is tiring

> SOUTHERN INDIANA — During his State of the State address, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels was bemoaning the lack of school choice and made an unusual comparison.

He pointed out to the audience that our government does not tell families where to get their tires rotated, but we do tell families which school their children must attend.

Although this is accurate as far as it goes, Daniels failed to continue traveling along this road to tell the audience the complete truth. Instead, he took a sharp turn to the right.

If Daniels had continued traveling down the road he created with his analogy, he would have also pointed out that the reason government does not mandate and assign tire rotation sites is because government does not forcibly take everyone’s money for tire rotation purposes.

This is why there are no huge government tire rotation buildings, filled with lots of useless atrium space. This is why there are no powerful and controlling tire rotation employee unions who dictate the color of their lunch lounge. This is why there are no unending conflicts, disagreements and battles about the best way to go about rotating everyone’s tires. This is why we don’t have to endure politicians telling us about their latest ideas in how to reform our failing tire rotation services or how the tire rotation service providers could do better if only the car owners were more involved.

This is what our tires would look like if we had compulsory tire rotation laws:

Daniels said his proposed reforms of our education system are a matter of justice, but this statement is as devoid of truth as bald tires are of tread.

If he believed in justice, he could never accept and support the idea of a government compelling educational funding and attendance. Justice automatically excludes aggression against peaceful people.

Daniels is only promoting his version of government control over education. He and his carload of supporters are no different than teachers unions and other government school proponents in this regard.

Both believe in educational compulsion. Both ultimately believe that education of the individual must be controlled by government. Their battle is merely over how best to centrally plan the details of this compulsion.

For example, Daniels’ favored reform for this year, vouchers, does not solve the root causes of our problems in education. The compulsion does not disappear; the coerced funding only moves from one school to another.

Ignoring the problem of compulsory funding will never create a healthy environment for learning.

As a matter of fact, not only do voucher programs continue to rely on the false notion that coercion is necessary for education, they even continue to spread many other myths out there concerning education and learning.

Vouchers support the myth that there must be specific physical locations called “schools” for education to occur. Vouchers support the myth that there is such a thing as an ideal communal curriculum that takes precedence over individualized learning and that this curriculum can reliably be tested.

Vouchers support the myth that it takes a lot of money to learn how to read, write and manipulate numbers, when in reality it takes a lot of money to maintain a system built on a foundation of compulsory funding.

If Daniels really wanted to speak the truth to his audience about government education, he would not be making speeches extolling the benefits of his particular government reforms. He would be pointing out that compulsory funding and compulsory attendance laws are the root causes of our problems in education.

Instead, Daniels — like everyone else who benefits when people believe that government compulsion is necessary for education — just continues to steer around the truth.

— Sellersburg resident Debbie Harbeson believes if government interfered in the tire rotation business, everyone would end up driving in reverse every 6,000 miles.

Photo Courtesy Wikimedia.


  1. One thing that would happen if there were compulsory, government-enforced tire rotations is that I would suddenly question whether rotating tires is really a good thing, or if it might actually be harmful. After all, if you have to force people, at the barrel of a gun, to do something, maybe they really know better than you do. If it were good they would do it without coercion, right?

  2. I guess humans were born too stupid to make their own wise choices, yet somehow maintain the uncanny ability to choose wise central planners to make wise choices for them. I'm sure somehow it will all work out.

  3. Someone has to pay for it and if there aren't laws forcing kids to go to school, slackjawed parents would allow them to stay home. If anything, people without kids shouldn't have to pay for school for kids - pass it on to the parents - same as single guys shouldn't pay less for health insurance because they'll never get pregnant.

    Aside from that, you don't seem to provide any solution to the education issue. It's extremely important as educated kids don't usually turn out to be scumsucking losers and criminals - at least they have a CHANCE to do well in life. And I really don't mind paying taxes for education as long as it's not wasted - kind of like insurance for the good of the nation (so kids can get a job and not turn into punks who might rip off my car tires...).

  4. Chris, you say the kids might be allowed to stay home like that's a bad thing. Why? How did people get educated before government established the indoctrination camps that most people call schools? Schools turn out an awful lot of "scumsucking losers and criminals"; many of them seek jobs with government while some go freelance.

    The truth is, if you treat kids like herd animals and expect nothing but compliance from them, you will end up with punks who rip off your tires, especially if you criminalize defense of property so that the risk of that career choice is artificially low. Once again The State is masquerading as the solution to the problems it causes.

  5. Well said Kent. :) OH and Chris I thought I did provide the solution: end compulsory attendance and compulsory funding.