1. No Inequality-Based Mortality Gap — it’s already closed.
Currie and Schwandt 16 — Janet Currie, Henry Putnam Professor of Economics and Public Affairs and Director of the Center for Health and Well Being at Princeton University, Director of the Program on Children at the National Bureau of Economic Research, holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Princeton University, and Hannes Schwandt, Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Zurich, holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Universitat Pompeu Fabra (Spain), 2016 (“Falling inequality in mortality in the US,” VoxEU.org—the Centre for Economic Policy Research’s policy portal, July 2nd, Available Online at http://voxeu.org/article/mortality-inequality-good-news-county-level-approach, Accessed 06-19-2017)
Overall, our results show that the health of the next generation in the poorest areas of the US has improved tremendously and that the race gap has largely closed. It is surprising how little attention has been paid to this health success story in either the academic or the public discussion.
Likely drivers for the strong decline in mortality inequality are social policies that helped the most disadvantaged families. One of the most important may be expansions of public health insurance to poor pregnant women and children that took place in the late 1980s and 1990s. Other important factors include reductions in smoking prevalence, expansions of food and nutrition programs, and reductions in pollution. Overall, these findings show that even in times of great economic inequality, inequality in health outcomes is not inevitable but is strongly mediated by policy.
2. Long Timeframe — it takes decades for ed reform to reduce inequality because mobility isn’t affected until children grow up.
3. No Inequality D-Rule — it’s not a moral obligation.
Frankfurt 15 — Harry G. Frankfurt, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Princeton University, Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Johns Hopkins University, 2015 (“Let's Get This Straight: Income Inequality And Poverty Aren't The Same Thing,” Forbes, August 24th, Available Online at https://www.forbes.com/sites/realspin/2015/08/24/lets-get-this-straight-income-inequality-and-poverty-arent-the-same-thing/#6fd78168273a, Accessed 06-19-2017)
There is very considerable discussion nowadays about the increasingly conspicuous discrepancy between the incomes of wealthier Americans and the incomes of those Americans who are less wealthy. President Barack Obama has declared that income inequality is the greatest political challenge of our time. But just what is so awful about economic inequality? Why should we have this great concern, urged upon us by so many politicians and public figures, about the growing gap between the incomes of the richest people in our country and the incomes of those who are less affluent?
The first thing to notice is that economic inequality, however undesirable it may be for various reasons, is not inherently a bad thing. Think about it: We could arrange for the members of a society to be economically equal by ensuring that the economic resources available to each member of the society put everyone equally below the poverty line. To make everyone equally poor is, obviously, not a very intelligent social ambition.
Insofar as people aim for equality (i.e., having the same as others), they are distracted from measuring the specific economic needs that are implied by their own particular interests, ambitions and capacities. The trouble with adopting equality as a social goal, then, is that it is alienating. It diverts people from being guided, in assessing their personal economic circumstances, by the most pertinent features of their own lives; and it leads them instead to measure their economic needs according to the significantly less pertinent circumstances of others.
It isn’t especially desirable that each have the same as others. What is bad is not inequality; it is poverty. We should want each person to have enough—that is, enough to support the pursuit of a life in which his or her own reasonable ambitions and needs may be comfortably satisfied. This individually measured sufficiency, which by definition precludes the burdens and deprivations of poverty, is clearly a more sensible goal than the achievement of an impersonally calibrated equality.
There is, of course, an evil other than poverty which it is important to avoid. The social undesirability of wide economic inequality does not lie only in a concurrent incidence of poverty. It lies also in the superior political influence, and other competitive advantages, enjoyed by those who are especially well-off. These advantages, when they are deliberately exploited, tend to undermine a fundamental requirement of our constitutionally mandated social order. Accordingly, such anti-democratic misuses of the competitive advantages provided by exceptional wealth must be discouraged by suitable legislative, regulatory and judicial oversight.
It is not inequality itself that is to be decried; nor is it equality itself that is to be applauded. We must try to eliminate poverty, not because the poor have less than others but because being poor is full of hardship and suffering. We must control inequality, not because the rich have much more than the poor but because of the tendency of inequality to generate unacceptable discrepancies in social and political influence. Inequality is not in itself objectionable—and neither is equality in itself a morally required ideal.
4. K-12 Not Key — preschool and college access also needed. Plan can’t solve without extra-topical reform.
5. “Right To Education” Fails — many other policies also key.
Darby and Levy 11 — Derrick Darby, Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Kansas, holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Pittsburgh, and Richard E. Levy, J.B. Smith Distinguished Professor of Constitutional Law at the University of Kansas School of Law, holds a J.D. from the University of Chicago School of Law, 2011 (“Slaying The Inequality Villain In School Finance: Is The Right To Education The Silver Bullet?,” Kansas Journal of Law & Public Policy (20 Kan. J.L. & Pub. Pol'y 351), Summer, Available Online to Subscribing Institutions via Lexis-Nexis)
Whether school finance litigation relies on adequacy or equity and whether one chooses to understand the philosophical demands of a right to education in terms of adequacy or equality, attending to the empirical evidence suggests that it will take much more than improved resources to address the complex problem of educational inequality. Indeed, once we expand our horizons to consider the full and complex array of factors that affect educational achievement, it is clear that the right to an education cannot alone bear the burden of alleviating educational inequality, especially if the right is understood in terms of educational funding. To illustrate, assuming that adequacy theorists are correct about the negative impact of segregation on unequal group-based educational outcomes, societal efforts may have to reach well beyond schools, perhaps to mandate greater integration in places where people live, work, worship, and play. It is unlikely that simply bringing young and middle school age children together in school for a few hours a day, five days a week, will be enough to overcome many of the negative effects of voluntary segregation in other parts of society. Of course, such a proposal would be met with serious resistance and criticism. Still, it may be difficult for proponents of greater integration to avoid moving in this direction.
If we consider additional factors, such as the health and cognitive effects of poverty, teacher perceptions of student ability, or teacher expectations or student expectations of discrimination in the labor market as factors shaping educational outcomes, then it is also clear that merely recognizing a right to education will not suffice. We would have to combine this right with a larger effort to reduce poverty, greater enforcement of existing anti-discrimination laws, or the development of new approaches to targeting subtle and not so subtle forms of discrimination throughout society. Hence, a serious appreciation of the complexity of the empirical debate regarding the factors that shape educational outcomes seems to demand a more cautious assessment about the prospect of recognizing a right to education as the silver bullet to slay the educational inequality villain.
Although we may someday have a better empirical understanding of the factors affecting educational success, it is clear that scholars have yet to settle this matter. For practical purposes, then, what matters most is that we are more circumspect when we draw conclusions about weighty matters pertaining to the demands of equality and justice. In the present case, the variety of competing explanations of unequal educational outcomes forces us to curb our enthusiasm for the prospects that recognizing a right to education will suffice to eradicate educational inequalities. Many factors affect educational outcomes - some related to resources, others related to the educational system and the manner in which education is delivered, and many that are unrelated to the educational system. Pending a final settlement of these matters, which is highly improbable, it will be all the more difficult for courts, lawyers, and [*377] policymakers to sort out the problem of educational inequality. n121
6. Funding Not Key — empirically proven.
Hanushek 15 — Eric A. Hanushek, Paul and Jean Hanna Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, Chairman of the Executive Board of the Texas Schools Project and Senior Research Fellow at the University of Texas at Dallas, Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, former Commissioner of the Equity and Excellence Commission at the U.S. Department of Education, former Professor of Economics and Political Science at the University of Rochester, holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2015 (“Not Enough Value to Justify More of the Same,” Room for Debate—a New York Times scholarly blog, March 26th, Available Online at https://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2015/03/26/is-improving-schools-all-about-money/not-enough-value-to-justify-more-of-the-same, Accessed 06-07-2017)
It is hard getting around the historic facts. Real per pupil spending has more than doubled in the past 40 years, but the mathematics and reading scores of 17-year-olds have barely budged.
We must recognize that more of the same is unlikely to yield better results – and by implication reform through spending is not the way to improvement.
Advocates of more spending frequently attempt to trivialize the position of critics by twisting it into “money does not matter.” That statement is, of course, silly, because schools must pay salaries, buy equipment and run a variety of programs that do indeed require money.
But in simple terms, how money is spent is much more important than how much is spent. The problem has been that schools have not systematically used additional funds in ways that lead to improvements in student outcomes — and there is no reason to expect better choices in the future.
Supporters of added funding — as opposed to more fundamental reform in how money is used — frequently argue that it is other forces that prevent schools from doing better: Their students are more disadvantaged or there is more need for special education, etc. Even generous allowances for spending associated with educational mandates do not explain or justify the more than doubled spending over the past four decades, without any gains in achievement.
To an economist, a central issue is incentives for school personnel. There are no extra rewards for teaching well or consequences for teaching badly. If we simply raise all salaries for school personnel — for both effective and ineffective educators — we should not be surprised when student achievement does not change. If we further reduce teacher-pupil ratios, even after the disappointing results of the past two decades, we should not be surprised that spending rises with no gain in achievement.
Given decades of unproductive spending increases, it is a mistake to lead with greater spending and hope for the best.
7. Solvency Empirically Denied — courts backed down in the face of local backlash after Brown v. Board. History will repeat. Aff can’t fiat follow-through, only the initial mandate.
8. Schools Not Key To Inequality — Finland proves.
Bruenig 14 — Matt Bruenig, Freelance Writer specializing in Poverty and Political Theory, has written for The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, The Atlantic, The New Republic, The American Prospect, In These Times, Jacobin, and Dissent, 2014 (“America’s dangerous education myth: Why it isn’t the best anti-poverty program,” Salon, May 12th, Available Online at http://www.salon.com/2014/05/12/americas_dangerous_education_myth_no_it_isnt_the_best_anti_poverty_program/, Accessed 06-19-2017)
If you’ve followed the education reform debate in this country, the Finland story should be familiar by now. Almost as if engaged in an elaborate troll, Finland has apparently organized its educational system in exactly the opposite way as the reform movement here claims is necessary. The reformers say we need longer school days, but the Finns have short ones. The reformers say we need extensive standardized testing, but the Finns have almost none. The reformers say we need to keep a close leash on teachers, but the Finns give their teachers considerable freedom. Despite all of these pedagogical mistakes, the Finns consistently find themselves at the top of the international education scoreboard.
Normally, the suggested lesson of the Finland story is that the education reformers’ proposals are at minimum unnecessary and perhaps even counterproductive. Whether this lesson actually falls out of the Finland story is the subject of hotly contested arguments that are insufferably boring. However, flying under the radar of these Finland debates is a much less contestable and interesting lesson: Education cannot deliver economic equality.
If ever there was an opportunity to show that education can fix inequality and poverty, Finland is it. The children come into its education system with the lowest poverty rates in the world. In addition to its overall excellence, Finland’s education system is also extremely egalitarian in the way that it instructs its pupils. There are almost no private schools, college is free, and an ethos of total inclusion seems to reign. It is the closest thing to the liberal education utopia as you will probably ever find.
Despite all of this, Finnish economic inequality and poverty is still quite high, at least when you look at the market distribution of income. In 2010, Finland’s market poverty rate (defined as those with incomes below 50 percent of the median income) was 32.2 percent. By comparison, the United States’ market poverty was actually lower at 28.4 percent. When it comes to overall inequality, Finland’s Gini coefficient in 2010 was 0.479. This was only slightly lower than the U.S.’ Gini coefficient, which stood at 0.499.
Education boosters bizarrely think that providing everyone a high-quality education will somehow magically result in them all having good-paying jobs. But, as Finland shows, this turns out not to be true. Apparently, it’s not possible for everyone to simultaneously hold jobs as well-paid upper-class professionals because at least some people have to actually do real work. A modern economy requires a whole army of lesser-skilled jobs that just don’t pay that well and the necessity of those jobs doesn’t go away simply because people are well-educated.
The reason Finland’s ultimate distribution of income is so equal is not because its great education system has made everyone receive high paychecks (an impossible task), but because Finland has put in place distributive policies that make sure its national income is shared broadly. In 2010, Finland’s tax level was 42.5 percent of its GDP, which was nearly double the tax level of the U.S. By strategically spreading that tax money around through a host of cash transfer and benefit programs, Finland’s high market poverty rate of 32.2 percent fell to just 7.3 percent. Its child poverty rate, which Finland focuses extra attention on, fell down to 3.9 percent. Overall economic inequality took a similar dive.
The real lesson that the Finland story teaches us is not the one about pedagogical techniques that draws so much fierce debate. Rather, it’s a lesson about what very successful pedagogy and excellent education can actually do for a society. Good education can make your society well-educated and more productive, but it cannot generate a labor market in which everyone works a high-paying job. It cannot ensure that market income is distributed evenly or adequately. It cannot even come remotely close to doing those things.
The upshot of this lesson is that the fixation on education as a solution to poverty, inequality or any other distributional problem is totally wrongheaded. Good and equitable education is a huge plus for all sorts of things, but it doesn’t create an egalitarian society. Those who say it will – a group that includes reformers and their opponents – have no idea what they are talking about and, through their ignorant distractions, help sow the seeds of never-ending stratification and low-end material insecurity.
9. Status Quo Solves — ESSA promotes equity.
Cook-Harvey et al. 16 — Channa M. Cook-Harvey, Senior Researcher at the Learning Policy Institute, former Research and Practice Associate at the School of Education at Stanford University, holds a Ph.D. in Race, Inequality, and Language in Education from Stanford University, et al., with Linda Darling-Hammond, President of the Learning Policy Institute, Charles E. Ducommun Professor of Education and Faculty Director of the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education at Stanford University, former President of the American Educational Research Association, former Senior Social Scientist and Director of the RAND Education and Human Resources Program at the RAND Corporation, holds an Ed.D. in Urban Education from Temple University, Livia Lam, Senior Policy Advisor at the Learning Policy Institute, Charmaine Mercer, Director of the DC office and Senior Researcher at the Learning Policy Institute, and Martens Roc, Policy and Outreach Advisor at the Learning Policy Institute, 2016 (Equity and ESSA: Leveraging Educational Opportunity Through the Every Student Succeeds Act, Published by the Learning Policy Institute, Available Online at https://learningpolicyinstitute.org/sites/default/files/product-files/Equity_ESSA_REPORT.pdf, Accessed 06-18-2017, p. 2)
ESSA and Its Implications for Educational Equity
A critical role for the federal government is to promote equity for underserved children and youth, and the nation’s most prominent education laws have long had equal educational opportunity as a central mission. However, equity is still far from accomplished in the United States.4 Fortunately, there is greater attention to these issues than has been true for many years.
The recent passage of ESSA is intended to address many of the shortcomings of NCLB. ESSA explicitly calls for the teaching of higher-order thinking skills, and allows states to replace the sanctions that narrowed the curriculum and caused good teachers to flee from low-performing schools with strategies for continuous improvement.5 However, its emphasis on state control of accountability systems to achieve these goals has raised concerns among advocates that states may overlook the needs of low-performing schools or fail to address the achievement gap between traditionally underserved students and their peers. This has led some advocates to question if equity has been lost under ESSA.
These concerns are legitimate given the long history of unequal educational opportunity in the United States, from the time of slavery— when it was a crime to teach an enslaved person to read—through segregated systems offering dramatically different resources for learning. At the same time, it is clear that a new strategy is needed to ensure a high-quality education for all. In fact, a close examination of ESSA shows that, in many respects, it provides more leverage for equity than NCLB. For example, it is more insistent that states illuminate and address inequalities in resources, students’ access to a full and rich curriculum, and the distribution of effective, properly assigned, and experienced teachers. In addition, the law offers broader opportunities for states to consider what schools and educators need to inspire the kinds of student learning outcomes that our nation’s most privileged children enjoy.
10. No “Structural Violence” Solvency — aff doesn’t expand access to health care, safe housing, child care, or nutritious food. Many people will still suffer and die because of these factors after the plan.
11. Distribution Outweighs Education — there aren’t enough good jobs to solve poverty and inequality even if all students receive excellent educations.
Bruenig 12 — Matt Bruenig, Freelance Writer specializing in Poverty and Political Theory, has written for The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, The Atlantic, The New Republic, The American Prospect, In These Times, Jacobin, and Dissent, 2012 (“Education reform will not fix poverty or inequality,” Matt Bruenig’s blog, March 12th, Available Online at http://mattbruenig.com/2012/03/12/education-reform-will-not-fix-poverty-or-inequality/, Accessed 07-04-2017)
As regular readers know by now, I am fairly skeptical of the Education Reform Movement. I am not convinced that the reforms advocated by this well-funded movement will actually work because I suspect that the real problem is economic inequality, not bad schoolsor bad teachers. But even if one believed that the policies pushed by the reformers would be successful, a question then arises: successful at what?
Education reformers observe that a large achievement gap exists between poor and wealthy students, and try to find ways to eliminate that gap through reforms. But why? What is the point of eliminating the achievement gap? Reformers give many reasons, some of which are undeniably legitimate. Quality education is a freestanding good, and our present economic and educational system denies that good to multitudes of students. Eliminating ignorance is an intrinsic good worth striving for even if nothing else results from it.
However, education reformers do not view reducing the achievement gap as good simply because knowledge and learning are good; they also view it as a way of reducing poverty and economic inequality. It is not just the education reformers who think this either. Almost every milquetoast liberal effort to reduce poverty centers around trying to funnel more poor people into college. The reasoning for this proceeds as follows: people with college degrees make significantly more money; therefore if everyone had a college degree, everyone would make significantly more money.
This analysis does not actually make sense. It is true that if you take any given poor person and push them through college, that specific poor person will probably escape poverty as a result. However, taking all poor people and putting them all through college will not result in all of them escaping poverty. Anyone can escape poverty, but not everyone can.
The reason you cannot scale up college as a poverty-reducer is that high-paying jobs are scarce, positional goods. In the present economy, only so many people can capture good jobs, not because only so many people have the credentials to do so, but because only so many good jobs exist. The number and quality of jobs are decided by market forces, not the number of college graduates. You could educate every single person in the United States to the point where they held a joint PhD-JD-MD-MBA, but that does not mean we would suddenly become a society of doctors, lawyers, managers, and professors. The market defines how many people can hold those positions: we cannot keep adding management jobs and law jobs if there is not market demand for more.
Ultimately, someone has to clean toilets, prepare food, and build infrastructure. In fact, as Doug Henwood pointed out in the latest LBO newsletter, only 5 of the top 20 growing professions even require a college degree. Putting more people through college wont change that, and will thus have little impact on the total amount of inequality or poverty in the United States. Although better educating the population wont create high-paying jobs out of thin air, it may marginally increase the productivity of workers in general. But as we have seen over the past 4 decades, increased productivity does not necessarily translate into more income for working people.
In many ways, capturing high-paying jobs is a lot like capturing one of the tickets to a very popular concert. If you camp out for five days, you will capture one of the tickets. But if everyone camps out for five days, that does not mean they will all get tickets. There are only so many tickets to be captured and there are only so many high-paying jobs to be captured.
So closing the achievement gap will not reduce poverty or economic inequality; it will merely change the distribution of it. Once the achievement gap is closed and we enter into the utopian world of genuine equal opportunity, poor and rich kids will have an equal chance at winding up in miserable poverty. As I have written before, providing kids an equal opportunity to compete for the scarce, non-poverty jobs is not really an improvement, and it certainly does not make an economy just. Education Reformers who think that they can take a bite out of inequality and poverty through closing the achievement gap misunderstand how the economy — and the labor market in particular — works.
Paige 15 — Mark Paige, Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth, holds a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis and a J.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2015 (“Realizing Educational Rights,” Journal of Law and Education, Volume 44, Issue 2, Spring, Available Online to Subscribing Institutions via ProQuest)
Finally, the book omits an essential reference regarding the influence of money on the democratic process. An educated, engaged citizenry are necessary to a vibrant democracy. However, because of the disproportionate influence of money on the political system, it is insufficient.9 Those who have more money have more influence, notwithstanding their individual education. Thus, an adequate or equal education may be a hollow victory, unless larger political reform occurs.
13. No Democracy Impact — data disproves and education isn’t key.
York 17 — John York, Research Assistant at the Center for Principles and Politics at The Heritage Foundation, Director of Public Relations at the Program for Constitutional Democracy and Adjunct Faculty at the University of Virginia, holds a Ph.D. in American Government and Politics from the University of Virginia, 2017 (“Does Rising Income Inequality Threaten Democracy?,” The Heritage Foundation, June 30th, Available Online at http://www.heritage.org/poverty-and-inequality/report/does-rising-income-inequality-threaten-democracy, Accessed 07-10-2017)
The argument that rising inequality threatens democracy hinges on three interlocking claims:
* The upper, middle, and lower classes have divergent policy priorities. While the rich seek to cut social welfare programs and lower taxes, the middle class and poor seek to buttress the social safety net while shifting more of the tax burden to the upper class.
* Those in the upper class (i.e., the rich) have outsized influence in Washington, primarily with Congress but also in the White House.
* As economic inequality has grown in recent decades, the political influence of the rich has grown along with it.
For the most part, as plausible as these claims may appear to be, they are not supported by the data. Political scientists who have looked into these claims have concluded that the empirical evidence supporting them suffers from four major shortcomings:
* There are very few data about what the richest 1 percent—the group whose soaring incomes have been principally responsible for rising inequality since the late 1970s—want from government. There are almost no data on the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans because polls typically ask respondents about their income and not their net worth. Most studies instead investigate the policy preferences of the affluent: the top 10 percent or 20 percent of income earners.
* Studies reveal that it is unusual for a policy to attract strong support among people from one income bracket only. More commonly, policies that are unpopular with the affluent are unpopular with both the middle and lower classes. This pattern has held over time: There is no evidence that the policy preferences of the affluent are becoming more disconnected from those of the average voter as income inequality grows.
* Recent research shows that the top decile of income earners and the middle class have largely equivalent influence in Washington with respect to major pieces of legislation and prominent executive actions (the two policy outcomes studied in the literature).5
* There is no evidence that the influence of the affluent on major policy outcomes has increased as income inequality has grown. Contrary to what one would expect from reading the studies on inequality and democracy, spending on welfare programs benefitting the poor has gone up dramatically and the tax burden on the wealthy has increased in recent decades.
Ultimately, the focus in the literature on income inequality and its impact on major federal policies like the income tax rate, welfare, and public education funding distracts attention from the real problems facing our democracy. While there is not much evidence that the affluent have more influence than the average citizen on the highly salient, broadly consequential policy matters upon which survey questions are based, this does not mean that every voice is heard equally in the halls of power.
14. Trump Thumps — his policies and character are expanding corporate influence and destroying democracy. Plan can’t undo his election.
15. Status Quo Solves Democratic Influence — their authors are too pessimistic.
Stimson 14 — James Stimson, Raymond Dawson Bicentennial Distinguished Professor of Political Science at the University of North Carolina, Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of North Carolina, 2014 (“Don’t Underestimate the Power of Public Opinion,” Room for Debate—a New York Times expert blog, April 22nd, Available Online at http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2014/04/21/do-the-rich-call-the-shots-13/dont-underestimate-the-power-of-public-opinion, Accessed 08-12-2015)
“Government doesn’t care about the views of people like me,” people often say in surveys. And undoubtedly they believe it to be true.
But that pessimistic view is wrong. The systematic evidence of broad opinion movements and government policy-making shows a strong connection between them. When public opinion changes, demanding for example more or less government, government responds in the demanded direction. And it does so quickly.
Such evidence is broadly consistent with the ideas that professionals in politics are ambitious to be re-elected and that they are astute observers of public opinion movements. We have a constitutional structure that makes them attuned to the important subgroup of Americans who turn out at the polls. (Among nonvoters the “government doesn’t care” claim is probably closer to the truth.)
And we don’t need sophisticated statistical analyses to see such a pattern. Observe a 2008 election in which a more left-leaning than usual public elected Barack Obama and produced a jobs-producing stimulus and healthcare reform, followed by a Tea Party election result in 2010 which shifted the public debate to budget cuts and deficit reduction, coming close to repeal of the Affordable Care Act. This sort of evidence tells us that the public as a whole gets what it wants.
16. No “Right To Vote” Solvency — plan doesn’t stop voter suppression and gerrymandering.
17. Data Disproves “Funding Key” — comprehensive study.
Coulson 14 — Andrew J. Coulson, Director of the Center for Educational Freedom at the Cato Institute, former Senior Fellow in Education Policy at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, 2014 (“State Education Trends: Academic Performance and Spending over the Past 40 Years,” Cato Institute Policy Analysis Number 746, March 18th, Available Online at https://object.cato.org/sites/cato.org/files/pubs/pdf/pa746.pdf, Accessed 07-06-2017, p. 57)
Academic performance and preparation for college success are widely shared goals, and so it is useful for the public and policymakers to know how they have varied over time at the state level. The present paper estimates these trends by adjusting state average SAT scores for variation in student participation rates and demographic factors known to be associated with those scores.
In general, the findings are not encouraging. Adjusted state SAT scores have declined by an average of 3 percent. This echoes the picture of stagnating achievement among American 17-year-olds painted by the Long Term Trends portion of the National Assessment of Educational Progress, a series of tests administered to a nationally representative sample of students since 1970. That disappointing record comes despite a more-than-doubling in inflation-adjusted per pupil public-school spending over the same period (the average state spending increase was 120 percent). Consistent with those patterns, there has beenessentially no correlation between what states have spent on education and their measured academic outcomes. In other words, America’s educational productivity appears to have collapsed, at least as measured by the NAEP and the SAT.
That is remarkably unusual. In virtually every other field, productivity has risen over this period thanks to the adoption of countless technological advances—advances that, in many cases, would seem ideally suited to facilitating learning. And yet, surrounded by this torrent of progress, education has remained anchored to the riverbed, watching the rest of the world rush past it.
Not only have dramatic spending increases been unaccompanied by improvements in performance, the same is true of the occasional spending declines experienced by some states. At one time or another over the past four decades, Alaska, California, Florida, and New York all experienced multi-year periods over which real spending fell substantially (20 percent or more of their 1972 expenditure levels). And yet, none of these states experienced noticeable declines in adjusted SAT scores—either contemporaneously or lagged by a few years. Indeed, their score trends seem entirely disconnected from their rising and falling levels of spending.
Two generations seems a long time for a field to stand outside of history, particularly when those generations have witnessed so many reforms aimed at improving education. Perhaps it’s time to ask if there are inherent features in our approach to schooling that prevent it from enjoying the progress typical in other fields.
18. Weigh Consequences — deontology is irresponsible in the policy sphere.
Goodin 95 — Robert E. Goodin, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and Social & Political Theory in the Research School of Social Sciences at the Australian National University, holds a D.Phil. in Politics from Oxford University, 1995 (“Utilitarianism as a public philosophy,” Utilitarianism as a Public Philosophy, Published by Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0521462630, p. 8-10)
The strength of utilitarianism, the problem to which it is a truly compelling solution, is as a guide to public rather than private conduct. There, virtually all its vices - all the things that make us wince in recommending it as a code of personal morality - loom instead as considerable virtues.
Consider first the raft of criticisms couched in terms of the impersonality of utilitarianism. Like all universalist philosophies, utilitarianism asks us to take "the view from nowhere.”19 There is no obvious place within utilitarian theories for people's idiosyncratic perspectives, histories, attachments, loyalties or personal commitments.
That rings untrue to certain essential qualities of personal life. The essence of the communitarian challenge is that everyone comes from somewhere. There are no free-floating individuals, of the sort with which liberals generally, and utilitarians paradigmatically, populate their moral theories."20 People have, and upon reflection we think they should have, principled commitments and personal attachments of various sorts.21[end page 8]
As an account of the peculiar role responsibilities of public officials (and, by extension, of ordinary individuals in their public capacities as citizens) that vice becomes a virtue, though. Those agents, too, have to come from somewhere, bringing with them a whole raft of baggage of personal attachments, commitments, principles and prejudices. In their public capacities, however, we think it only right and proper that they should stow that baggage as best they can.
Complete neutrality might be an impossible ideal. That is another matter.22 But it seems indisputable that that is an ideal which people in their public capacities should strive to realize as best they are able. That is part (indeed, a central part) of what it is to be a public official at all. It is the essence of public service as such that public servants should serve the public at large. Public servants must not play favorites.
Or consider, again, criticisms revolving around the theme that utilitarianism is a coldly calculating doctrine.23 In personal affairs that is an unattractive feature. There, we would like to suppose that certain sorts of actions proceed immediately from the heart, without much reflection much less any real calculation of consequences. Among intimates it would be extremely hurtful to think of every kind gesture as being contrived to produce some particular effect.
The case of public officials is, once again, precisely the opposite. There, it is the height of irresponsibility to proceed careless of the consequences. Public officials are, above all else, obliged to take care: not to go off half cocked, not to let their hearts rule their heads. In Hare's telling example, the very worst thing that might be said of the Suez misadventure was not that the British and French did some perfectly awful things (which is true, too) but that they did so utterly unthinkingly.
Related to the critique of utilitarianism as a calculating doctrine is the critique of utilitarianism as a consequentialist doctrine. According to utilitarianism, the effects of an action are everything. There are no actions which are, in and of themselves, morally right or wrong, good or bad. The only things that are good or bad are the effects that actions produce.25
That proposition runs counter to certain ethical intuitions which, at [end page 9] least in certain quarters, are rooted deeply. Those who harbor a Ten Commandments view of the nature of morality see a moral code as being essentially a list of "thou shalts" and "thou shalt nots" - a list of things that are right or wrong in and of themselves, quite regardless of any consequences that might come from doing them.26
That may or may not be a good way to run one's private affairs. 27 Even those who think it is, however, tend to concede that it is no way to run public affairs. It is in the nature of public officials' role responsibilities that they are morally obliged to "dirty their hands" — make hard choices, do things that are wrong (or would ordinarily be wrong, or would be wrong for ordinary private individuals) in the service of some greater public good.28 It would be simply irresponsible of public officials (in any broadly secular society, at least) to adhere mindlessly to moral precepts read off some sacred list, literally "whatever the consequences."29 Doing right though the heavens may fall is not (nowadays, anyway) a particularly attractive posture for public officials to adopt.
19. Plan Violates Rights — Robinson says it forces districts to desegregate. This undermines a parent’s right to choose a school for their kids and state’s rights to manage education policy under the Tenth Amendment.
20. Rights Not Absolute — avoiding catastrophe is a lesser evil.
Nielsen 96 — Kai Nielsen, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Calgary, 1996 (“There Is No Dilemma Of Dirty Hands,” South African Journal of Philosophy, Volume 15, Issue 1, February, Available Online to Subscribing Institutions via Academic Search Elite)
It might be thought that I am begging questions and sweeping things under the rug with my conception of the lesser evil. I am just implicitly assuming, it might be argued, that the lesser evil is what results in the least harm (the fewer deaths, the lesser misery, pain, undermining of self-respect, autonomy, security and the like). But, the objection will continue, the 'lesser evil' may not be that, but the not doing of certain things, for example, not violating someone's rights, not administering unjust laws, not taking (let alone shooting) hostages, not refusing to take prisoners, not lying and the like. The, in short, not doing of these plain moral evils. Where any of the rights violations that go with the doing of these forbidden things occur, we have a greater evil than if they do not. Suffering and misery are bad, but rights violations are even worse.
It seems to me that this is an implausible response. Sometimes violating someone's rights may avert a catastrophe. And then, it seems to me, their rights should be violated. But there are other sorts of examples that drive home my point as well. Even when under the Nazis it became apparent that he would be required to administer abhorrent (and thoroughly abhorrent to him as well) Nazi racial laws, a German judge, appointed during the Weimar republic, might rightly not resign. He does not resign because he realizes that he might very well in the discriminatory way he applied these vile laws be able to save lives that would not have been saved if he had been replaced by a Nazi hack. And, to move to a still different example, shooting some hostage, and threatening to shoot some others, might prevent the sacking and putting to the sword of a whole village or at least give the villagers time to flee. (Remember here, Berthold Brecht, as well as Karl Marx, on the Paris Commune.) It seems to me that there is no serious question where the lesser evil lies in such situations, for example, violating someone's rights to prevent a massacre. The violating of a person's rights is there plainly a lesser evil. It is blindrights worship or rule worship not to see that.