That’s right! What the state delivers is most certainly exclusive education. Mind you, we don’t mean that it is “exclusive” in the sense that it is an “elite” type of education, but in the sense that it “excludes” most children. How does it exclude them? By not providing the most appropriate education level according to their capacities.
THE STATE IN CHARGE
The newspaper La Tercera – Chile lets its readers know about the brainy and social (i.e. politically correct) ideas from their Minister of Education, Mr. Eyzaguirre. According with this national hero of social education “Our education is one of the most segregated [exclusive] of the OECD and this should shame us”. But not to worry, the state is sorry… sort of. For that, Chile is getting its very own Educational Reform which will tackle, among other things, the discrimination and the segregation that it produces.
According to the ministry, the country has made “enormous strides” with the Scholar Integration Program whereby about 200.000 children with Special Educational Needs (SEN) are attending regular schools. There are currently about 100.000 children with SEN attending “special schools” but the need is far larger. According to this illustrious educator about 1 in 5 children (500.000) is in need of a SEN program. Alas, these children should not be “excluded” from regular schools; they should be included in them.
Does this make any sense whatsoever?
Of course not.
In order to understand what’s going on, we need to analyze the problem from a numerical point of view. To begin with, we need to understand what is the distribution of intelligence among students. This is, take a bunch of students, measure their intelligence (using your preferred psycho-metric method) and plot their numbers. What you get is the standard "Bell" (or Gaussian) distribution which can be seen in the picture below:
This picture is typical and demonstrates that intelligence in nature is not given in levels but it is distributed in a continuous fashion. There is no such thing as a High or Low intelligence levels, the only thing we can measure is the Average level (a pretty much useless measure - the center of the distribution curve).
Originally, politicians did not care and so everybody got the same amount of education. If you were more capable and wanted more, though luck! If you were less capable and needed more attention but less contents, tough luck too! After all, we absolutely, positively, definitively need to have egalitarian schooling! There you go:
However, the manner in which this distribution is now seen by the government (any government) is as follows:
As you can see, it is the same distribution but now two extra levels have magically appeared: High and Low intelligence levels. Where did these levels came from? Not a clue. The only thing we know for sure is that they are utterly arbitrary. There is no reason whatsoever to label a student "slow" if its intelligence measurement is below, say 51 versus 50.743. These levels are selected by bureaucrats based on such idiotic concepts as budget or gut feeling. This is entirely correct. If you don't believe use (and please don't) go to your un-friendly bureaucrat and demand to see the rationale for such determinations. If you push hard you will notice that in the end such decisions are utterly arbitrary.
What this arbitrary determination of limits allows governments to do, is to determine the cut-off points for "Special Needs" education. We can see this in the picture below:
This was supposed to be some sort of progressive stance (by comparison to the old model one-size-fits-all) and a very convenient vote buying point. In this new-and-improved model, the amount of delivered education was supposed to be more-or-less commensurate with the capabilities of three arbitrary groups.
As this bureaucratic idiocy was unleashed over unsuspected schools (with fixed and tight budgets) the schools did what any person with common sense would do: they consolidated students with Low and High Intelligence levels in "specialty" schools. This move in and by itself is not so bad. Why inflict an un-manageable amount of curriculum variation on teachers if they could specialize. This is nothing more than the division of labor at work. People are much more efficient if they specialize in niches. As such, some teachers specialized in children with Low intelligence, some with Average intelligence and some with High intelligence. Made sense.
Ahhh… but this state of affairs could not stand. You see dear reader, in this process children at both extremes of the scale were being "discriminated" against. They were not able to have a "normal" childhood since they were "excluded" from "normal" (i.e. average) classes. And so, by political determination "Special Education Needs" curriculums were introduced.
These SEN's forced the dismantling of the division of labor through specializing schools and back into the inefficient and ineffective widespread efforts of teachers, who were now forced to deal with a wide variety of intelligence levels in the same classroom. The intended result was entirely predictable:
The consequences? Well, as any project manager will tell you, if you increase the workload but retain the same amount of tasks, things simply won't be done. What this means in practice is that the teacher has neither the time nor the energy to teach properly to either group. For this reason, each group is far worse off. What politicians achieved is represented in the following dismal picture:
The educational levels delivered across all groups dropped because a large amount of the time necessary to deliver such education was now being spent in customizing levels.
Again, there is no free lunch. If idiotic bureaucrats and politicians tamper with economic rules (namely the division of labor) inefficiencies will ensue.
THE FREE MARKET SOLUTION
And so, what is the best solution? The free market approach. The free market will take the division of labor to its logical conclusion and will provide a large number of schools catering to all manners of intelligence levels. What we get is the following graph:
In this graph each child will be able to attend to a school that will cater to its own intelligence level. In this manner they will receive the best possible education without the need to destroy the efficiency of the division of labor. Furthermore, parents or guardians will be fully responsible to determine which school will be the most appropriate one for their children.
This solution is simply unthinkable by aparatchniks and politicians because it would entail a complete release from all educational controls (i.e. government ownership of schools), and this threatens their job security. This would also entail their disconnection from all manners of curriculum control (to allow for customization to intelligence levels) which is again an intolerable threat to their paychecks. Never going to happen.
Just with anything else that they touch, politicians managed to transform education into a hyper-expensive calamity. But not to worry, it's only your taxes that pay this mess and if this is not consolation enough, take heed that their jobs are secure. Your children? Well, they don't count, of course. Or to be more precise, they do count but only in a statistical sense, only in the sense of continuing to justify and maintain politicians' job security. When the time comes to make a choice, remember this: they treated your children as numbers. Where you go from there is up to you.
Note: please see the Glossary if you are unfamiliar with certain words.