Monday, February 21, 2011

A Rationale for Defending Public Education in Ohio

I agree that we need to make cuts in response to the economic challenges. I think benefits and compensation has been reduced in response to changes in market conditions. I have perceived a growing negative attitude toward public schools—probably enhanced by “Waiting for Superman” and the Oprah effect that publicized it. Certainly, there are inequities and abuses. I won’t defend those. I do feel an obligation, however, to counter that message by advocating for the public teaching profession and the many successes that occur every day. I don’t hear as much from this perspective right now and I feel a need to try to balance it from my perspective. When you look at the Ohio state budget simulator created by the Columbus Dispatch there are no easy answers. Certainly, I believe that the public sector should be constrained as much as possible to promote as many resources as possible to the private sector. The private sector is always more efficient and leads to more economic growth than the public sector. However, I do believe that there are some public goods that need to be provided by the public sector. I believe that national defense, police, fire fighting and for the most part education fall in that category. I also feel that there are some market failures that need to be regulated by the government to prevent negative externalities. I believe we need some oversight of markets to ensure effective and efficient competition. I don’t want the public to have such a negative view of public education that they drastically cut resources to it and feel that private schools are going to effectively pick up all of the slack. I think that could have many long-term negative consequences for the economic growth and security of our state.