Dave Killion — August 5, 2011

Reason .TV went to the Save Our Schools rally outside the US White House on July 30, and made a video –

This has gotten a lot of attention on the web, chiefly because of the Matt Damon portion (:38 – 1:40), and I’ve seen a lot of comments applauding Damon’s perceived speaking of truth to power. Me? Not so impressed. Let us accept, for the sake of argument, that Damon diets, exercises, works long & hard days, and tolerates the paparazzi not because he knows there are literally thousands of handsome and talented young men just waiting for him to slip up, but because he loves acting. Let us accept that teachers, too, are driven by the same motive, and that unlikely as it seems, job insecurity is not needed to motivate a single one of them to strive for excellence. That’s still only speaks to half the problem.

The other half is that no matter what motivates teachers (or actors), some of them are going to be unsatisfactory. And those people shouldn’t be protected from job loss. So, job insecurity is a must.

One other point – at around the 5:10 mark one of the demonstrators talks about how students shouldn’t be made into winners and losers. But students and their families are consumers, and no one’s talking about busting up any consumer monopolies. We’re talking about busting up a providers monopoly. Specifically, the government education monopoly. Which ultimately makes winners out of students.

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