Many areas of our lives are being revolutionized by technology. Those changing the fastest are the ones subject primarily to market forces. Those changing the least are the ones controlled primarily by government.

How many of us communicate with others at a distance today the same way that we did twenty years ago? In 1992 we all had telephones at home, but very few of us had mobile or cell phones. In 1992 a few of us had personal computers, but very few communicated through email, and the first public web browser was still a year or so away.

The cell phone and personal computer revolutions came very fast, propelled by advancing technology and a capitalist market that promised great wealth to those who successfully met our seemingly unlimited consumer demand for such offerings. No one was forced to pay for any of this; no one was exploited by any of it, either. We gladly paid hundreds of dollars for the communications tools of the future. The collective value we gained likely outweighed the billions of dollars that entrepreneurs like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs earned for themselves.

Now, how many of our children still get their formal education the same way they did in 1992? Virtually all of them. The public school system is owned and run by governments and paid for by tax dollars. The adults who receive those tax dollars have a huge financial interest in making sure that competition and innovation are kept to a minimum. The revolution in personal communications that has taken place over the last twenty years is barely a blip on the K-12 education scene―so far.

One man who foresaw an online education revolution was Lewis J. Perelman. In his 1992 book, School’s Out, he predicted that our brick school buildings eventually would be replaced by what he called “hyperlearning.” Remember, this was written before most of us had even seen the World Wide Web. One aspect of “hyperlearning” is today’s online charter schools―you know, the ones the teachers’ unions are so desperate to shut down.

Another aspect of “hyperleaning” is the recent advent of the non-profit Khan Academy, which now features literally thousands of online lessons about everything from basic math to physics to economics and government. All at no cost to the learners. Online. 24/7. From any computer or smart phone, anywhere in the world. Classroom teachers who aren’t fearful of such progress are embracing this new tool to help their students. But if it rises to the level of actually competing with, rather than complimenting, traditional classrooms, look for politically powerful teachers’ unions to do what they do best: act as the status quo lobby to restrict or even outlaw such competition with their dues-paying members.

Exploited by Apple?

One secret weapon in the online education revolution may be the kids themselves. Thanks to compulsory attendance laws, most of them must attend the brick school buildings closest to their homes. Last month I was invited to talk with a class of public high school juniors about the relationship between politics and economics. After laying out my case for capitalism, including how it can enhance learning through online schools, the teacher explained that he believed more in democracy and government than in the power of the marketplace. One example he used was his feeling of being exploited by Apple because until recently it only allowed him to place proprietary applications on his iPhone, thus increasing Apple’s profits. I pointed out that he was not forced to buy anything from Apple, even its phone, if he didn’t want to. There were, and are, plenty of competitors.

I explained that in a free market, when someone sells a product and another voluntarily buys it, both sides gain value. In the Apple case, for example, if he paid $200 for his iPhone, then he wanted it more than he wanted to keep his $200. Apple, on the other hand, would rather earn his $200 than keep that phone on its shelves. Both sides won. I told the students that when Steve Jobs died last year, he was worth some $7 billion, but he didn’t exploit any of his customers to earn that money. They freely bought what he had to sell.

I then asked the 30 or so students how many of them owned any Apple products, from iPods, to iPads, to iPhones. About 25 raised their hands. I asked how many of them felt exploited by Apple. Not one hand went up, and they laughed when the teacher again said that he felt exploited. That teacher has a monopoly on those students’ time every school day this year. But in an hour and a half, I was able to give them a lesson that hopefully will stay with them when they think about the benefits of capitalism versus government control of our economy―and of our education system.

Perhaps I should have suggested the students read Capitalism and Freedom, Milton Friedman’s classic book in which he argued that economic freedom is a necessary condition for political freedom. If I am invited back I will make that suggestion, but if not, my real-world example of how they have personally benefited from capitalism may be enough to start them thinking about what is wrong with their teacher’s pro-government view, and what is right with the free market.

 

47 Responses to “Do You Feel Exploited by Apple? ― Why Freedom Shouldn’t Stop at the Classroom Door”

  1. John Meaney April 13, 2012 at 1:48 pm #

    Excellent article! Perfect example of what’s wrong with our society today. It should be shocking that a teacher doesn’t understand free market dynamics, but unfortunately, many don’t. You know what is said frequently: “Those who know, do. Those who don’t, teach.”

    • Steven April 25, 2012 at 4:17 pm #

      Its shocking that you are so quick to speak when you do not even know what you are talking about. The teacher in question provided Steve with the video of the class discussion but, unlike other videos that he shares where he picks out the less informed people and destroys their arguments because of their unawareness, this debate was not so clear. When discussing, there was no clear “winner” even though it was a group of high school juniors debating someone who has devoted his whole life to economy and politics.

      And here is a message to Steve, unless for some reason you were not able to receive the video, and in that case I am sure the teacher in question would love to re-provide it to you, I am very disappointed in this style of article craftsmanship.

      -So everyone knows, I am the student who invited Steve to join our classroom and felt it to be a very informative and successful discussion until I read this misrepresentation of the event.

      • Steve Buckstein April 26, 2012 at 2:12 am #

        Steven,

        I understand from your teacher that the school did not allow students to appear in a video without their or their parents’ permission. I was provided with the audio of our discussion by your teacher but chose not to attach it here because it does identify him, and I didn’t want this to be about a particular teacher or school, but about concepts that were discussed.

      • Hyung Nam April 26, 2012 at 2:47 pm #

        Talk and discussion with Steve Buckstein from libertarian think tank, Cascade Policy Institute on March 23 2012, in Mr. Nam’s Political Economy class. After his presentation, students asked critical questions. Pt. 1 http://soundcloud.com/mr-nam/cascade-policy-institute

        Part 2 After presentation, students asked critical questions. Mr. Nam begins response at about 25 min. into this segment but was interrupted by a fire drill. http://soundcloud.com/mr-nam/cascade-policy-institute-1

        Part 3 Continued discussion outside during the fire drill.
        http://soundcloud.com/mr-nam/cascade-policy-institute-2

        • Steve Buckstein April 26, 2012 at 4:08 pm #

          Thank you for agreeing to post this audio. The relevant discussion I mention in this commentary about Apple begins with Mr. Nam’s comments around 25 minutes into what he lists above as Part 2.

  2. Richard B April 13, 2012 at 4:35 pm #

    Yes I feel exploited by Apple proprietary technology, but unlike the proprietary Government rand compulsive attended and funded education system, I have choice and freedom to use competitor products. I hope Microsoft will come out with a pad or smart phone using windows so I can downland Microsoft’s freed visual development tools and develop any app I want, counter to those who claim Microsoft is a monopoly.

    Back to the original point you miss an opportunity to point out the reason the Teacher thinks he is being exploited is how government ran schools and the unions can dictate what technology, books and methodology, and policy the teach must use.

    Another book (design for students) you can suggest is
    The Morality of Capitalism, What Your Professors Won’t Tell You
    http://studentsforliberty.org/college/the-morality-of-capitalism/
    they can download it for free.

    • Steve Buckstein April 13, 2012 at 5:04 pm #

      Richard, unfortunately I believe this particular teacher likes the fact that government and unions dictate so much in our education system. To him, the fact that these are “democratic” institutions seems to trump the coercive impact on students and teachers.

      And, yes, I often do recommend The Morality of Capitalism. Cascade had the editor, Tom Palmer, speak about it here in Portland last November.

      • Steven April 25, 2012 at 10:05 pm #

        I am truly disappointed. I viewed you as a reliable source that I would go to for an informed look at views I tend to disagree with. However, reading this article and your comments I feel that I lost a valuable source of information, or now what i fear to be lack of.
        First off, the class in question is a class students opt into opposed to the standard neo-libreal textbook based advanced placement or regular placement economy and government classes. No one forced them to be with this teacher, and in fact our school has a good record for allowing people to change classes to ones that they would like more, especially government-econ classes.
        Also, the comment that this teacher wants to oppress our educational system is just a un-factually based claim that is truly offensive. He actually fought to get this class included in the system, writing an informative curriculum and creating a politically relevant class room environment. He is not ever as outspoken or forceful with his views in a normal classroom setting as he was during this discussion because, after you spoke and other me and my peers spoke, he then put in his views.
        You make it sound like he was extremely uniformed with his views, sampling by providing one rather paraphrased account of his time talking, which was really only an extreme example of what he meant by us not having a totally free market, with defined built in monopolies like Apple’s cornering of the App market.
        And lastly, it isn’t even true that no students didn’t agree that Apple was being unfair and using their power of monopoly over the App industry. At least two students had something different to say. If you want to make claims like this why not include the audio of the discussion on your website? Do the right thing and clear up this utter exploration of facts you are using just for scare tactics, trying to make this teacher, and by default all teacher, uniformed and manipulative.

        • Steve Buckstein April 26, 2012 at 2:23 am #

          Steven, I’m glad to know that students are not required to be in that particular class.

          I accept your statement that at least two students had something different to say about the Apple issue, but neither me nor my associate who accompanied me to the class heard any such statements. I rechecked the audio provided by your teacher and didn’t hear any such statements either. As I mentioned in an earlier comment here, I chose not to post the audio because it identifies your teacher and I didn’t want to make this a criticism of any particular teacher or school, but to discuss broader concepts.

  3. Sal DiGrande April 13, 2012 at 11:34 pm #

    Kudos for the students. They saw the folly of their teacher’s insistance that he was exploited, no…forced!… to buy Apple’s product. Perhaps there’s hope in our next generation. The sad part of this story is that a teacher with such views, shall I say he leans toward marxism, is in a position to education our youth.

    • Steve Buckstein April 13, 2012 at 11:58 pm #

      Yes, Sal. If those kids weren’t virtually forced to attend that school it wouldn’t bother me so much that this teacher held these views. All the more reason to promote true school choice.

  4. Fred Yates April 13, 2012 at 11:44 pm #

    Steve, Great article, very accurate, true and informative.

    My only disagreement with the article is that the unions run the school system through the back door, not the government. Why ? The unions manipulate the government with the money they take from the teachers.

    Remember National Education Association’s retiring top lawyer, Bob Chanin in July 2009 told his audience:

    “Despite what some among us would like to believe it is not because of our creative ideas. It is not because of the merit of our positions. It is not because we care about children and it is not because we have a vision of a great public school for every child. NEA and its affiliates are effective advocates because we have power.”

    i.e. It’s Not About Kids, It’s About Power; and they have it at our expense. (all puns intended).

    • Steve Buckstein April 13, 2012 at 11:59 pm #

      Thanks for sharing that statement by the union lawyer, Fred. Sad, but true.

  5. Carlton Tilley April 15, 2012 at 5:01 am #

    I like your insight on this small area of a larger problem.

    There is nothing shocking about the way the teachers union denies the use of technology. There method is like any other union (Look to Detroit). Delay as much new technology as possible to keep as many union members on pay roll. If you look into further, what you will probably find is that their contract has some sort of agreement that will allow only so much new technology to be allowed in incremental phases.

    There is no question the public school system is screwed up. The “teacher” any more is nothing more than a quasi bureaucrat with a cultural and political agenda set down by the union.

    The real question we should be asking our selves: Should the people of a free society have to accept that their children be educated by people involved in a socialist organization that is spreading indoctrination that is academically and culturally corrupt?

    • Steve Buckstein April 16, 2012 at 5:56 pm #

      Carlton, thanks for your insights. Yes, unions have tried to stop technology for a long time. I have no problem with unions as long as workers are not forced to join or lose their jobs. See my commentary on why Oregonians deserve the Right to Work, based on our recent research study:
      http://cascadepolicy.org/links/4d

      The “real question” you mention is terribly important. Union or not, technology or not, a free society should not force parents and/or students to accept any one form of education or school system. A free society means just that – free to chose how to live our lives and how to prepare our children for adulthood.

    • Steven April 25, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

      If he really had an agenda other then teaching the students, why would he allow Steve Buckstein, someone who he personally disagrees with, to come educate his classroom on the ideas that he is apparently trying to quash? Do you fully believe that just by reading this article you can pass your judgment on this teacher, and then the rest of teachers?
      And what could possibly constitute being culturally corrupt? He isn’t in the classroom everyday preaching the wonders of rape. He is teaching historical facts about the United States economy, along with many other countries, neo-libreal and socialistic alike.
      The amount of misinformed judgments made on these comments truly are disappointing. In fact, as a student of his, I suspect he would gladly have a discussion with you about his views and then and only then may you say he is academically and culturally corrupt.

      • Steve Buckstein April 26, 2012 at 4:32 pm #

        Steven, I can’t speak for the person who posted the comment you are responding to here, but I will say that I did not mean to imply that your teacher is trying to quash ideas he disagrees with. I appreciate that he did invite me to speak to his class. A free exchange of ideas should always be welcome in a free society.

  6. Hyung Nam April 26, 2012 at 2:49 pm #

    Their restrictive contracts with service providers also rips people off and limits competition and innovation. http://www.alternet.org/economy/154962/corruption_is_responsible_for_80_of_your_cell_phone_bill

    Last year, a new company called Lightsquared promised an innovative business model that would dramatically lower cell phone costs and improve the quality of service, threatening the incumbent phone operators like AT&T and Verizon. Lightsquared used a new technology involving satellites and spectrum, and was a textbook example of how markets can benefit the public through competition. The phone industry swung into motion, not by offering better products and services, but by going to Washington to ensure that its new competitor could be killed by its political friends. And sure enough, through three Congressmen that AT&T and Verizon had funded (Fred Upton (R-MI), Greg Walden (R-OR), and Cliff Stearns (R-FL)), Congress began demanding an investigation into this new company. Pretty soon, the Federal Communications Commission got into the game, revoking a critical waiver that had allowed it to proceed with its business plan.

    And so Americans continue to have a small number of expensive, poor quality cell phone providers. And how much does this cost you? Take your phone bill, and cut it by 80%. That’s how much you should be paying. You see, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, people in Sweden, the Netherlands, and Finland pay on average less than $130 a year for cell phone service. Americans pay $635.85 a year. That $500 a year difference, from most consumers with a cell phone, goes straight to AT&T and Verizon (and to a much lesser extent Sprint and T-Mobile). It’s the cost of corruption. It’s also, from the perspective of these companies, the return on their campaign contributions and lobbying expenditures. Every penny they spend in DC and in state capitols ensures that you pay high bills, to them.

    This isn’t obvious, because much of how they do this has to do with the structure of the industry. Telecommunications isn’t like selling apples, where you have a lot of buyers and sellers. In a business like buying or selling apples, all you need is an apple tree to get into the business. Cell phones aren’t like that. It’s a business where you sell services on top of a network of cell phone towers that can transmit phone calls and data, and these networks cost tens of billions of dollars to build. But even if you have the money to build one, you still might not be able to, as the Lightsquared example shows. These networks all use public airwaves, or “spectrum”, and you need government permission to use it. Remember the electromagnetic spectrum you learned about in school? The government literally leases that out to companies, and they make radios, microphones, wifi routers, and cell phones that use it.

    This has implications for your cell phone bill. Once AT&T or Verizon has paid for its network and licensed spectrum from the government, the cost of adding an additional customer is very low. That means that the biggest providers with bigger networks and more licensed spectrum make more money. It’s not only that their costs are lower, but also because they can keep other players out through control of the political system. That is, they can move towards monopoly in the industry. And monopoly means higher prices for you, and more profits for them. Here’s the data.

    • Steve Buckstein April 26, 2012 at 4:24 pm #

      Thank you for providing this perspective. You and I did discuss in your class the limited choices you have for phone and television service, and I noted that there are barriers to entry put up by local government, in your case Multnomah County. I was not aware of the specific situation on the federal level that this article presents.

      We seem to agree that competition can benefit consumers. To the extent government limits that competition, often encouraged by the very companies that want to keep their competitors out of the market, consumers are harmed and government is acting against the best interests of its citizens.

      • hyung nam April 29, 2012 at 1:30 am #

        Thank you crony profiteers for killing innovation and competition to fleece the public. http://www.savetheinternet.com/blog/12/04/20/alec-wants-you-pay-750-percent-more-high-speed-internet

        ALEC Wants You To Pay 750 Percent More For High-Speed Internet

        By Zaid Jilani, April 20, 2012

        The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is the most powerful corporate front group you’ve never heard of. Drawing the vast majority of its financing from big corporations, the group allows these firms to help write bills that it then secretly passes off to state legislators to get turned into laws.

        The organization has come under fire recently for backing “Stand Your Ground” laws and voter-suppression efforts, leading to an exodus of some of its strongest corporate funders. But the group’s policy agenda stretches far beyond these areas, and impacts just about every area of American life.

        Take public high-speed broadband Internet. A few years ago, the city of Wilson, N.C., decided that it would create its own broadband system, which it called Greenlight. The service offered speeds twice as fast as those of private competitors in the area for a similar price. Soon, the success of the service spread, and a number of other cities began offering municipal broadband systems that were cheaper and/or faster than private competitors’.

        But state legislators — who received $600,000 in contributions from the telecom industry in the previous election cycle — reacted to the spread of these successful services by undercutting them with a bill that made it very difficult for cities to operate their own broadband systems. One provision in the bill made it illegal for cities to offer broadband services that are priced below their costs. “This bill will make it practically impossible for cities to provide a fundamental service. Where’s the bill to govern [cable provider] Time Warner? Let’s be clear about whose bill this is. This is Time Warner’s bill. You need to know who you’re doing this for!” thundered Rep. Bill Faison at the time. The bill was unfortunately passed into law.

  7. Hyung Nam April 26, 2012 at 2:58 pm #

    I am the teacher you are all talking about. I posted the audio. Listen for yourselves. I let Buckstein speak and did not challenge numerous assertions he made, so that he could have a chance to make his claims. I did not get to challenge even a fraction of what i would have critiqued because of time and the fire drill.

    I also wanted to know what Buckstein gets paid. Who the major funders of CPI are? I’M ASKING NOW. I followed up with email on another issue, i wanted to pursue (strange response, considering all the references CPI makes to ALEC):

    Steve Buckstein [steven@cascadepolicy.org]
    [Reply] [Reply All] [Forward]
    Our stance on ALEC is probably similar to your stance on Occupy Portland. We have no formal connection to the group, but appreciate some of the work they do.

    Steve
    Sent ItemsThursday, April 19, 2012 2:50 PMHyung Nam
    [Reply] [Reply All] [Forward]
    Actions
    To:
    steven@cascadepolicy.org
    BTW, i’m curious about CPI stance on ALEC.

    • Steve Buckstein April 26, 2012 at 4:11 pm #

      My response to your question about ALEC stemmed from your statement to me in front of your students that you are supportive of Occupy Portland.

    • Hyung Nam April 26, 2012 at 5:58 pm #

      And who are the major funders of CPI? Are they the same corporations that fund ALEC?

      • Steve Buckstein April 26, 2012 at 10:58 pm #

        I don’t know who the major funders of ALEC are. Cascade receives very little support from major corporations; in the range of one to four percent of our annual budget. Our support comes mainly from individuals, small privately held corporations and foundations. As a 501(c)(3) non-profit, we do not disclose our funders unless they agree to do so. I believe public corporations and public foundations do disclose the donations they make, so that information is public record.

        • Hyung Nam April 27, 2012 at 9:22 pm #

          Strange how anytime I bring up ALEC, you are reluctant or slow to respond. And Your response has lacked full disclosure. Cascade has many ties to ALEC and ALEC corporations.
          http://www.alecwatch.org/cpabrochure.pdf.pdf
          Todd Wynn from Cascade is at ALEC http://www.exxonsecrets.org/html/personfactsheet.php?id=1344
          It’s hard to believe you wouldn’t know who the ALEC corporations are. http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=ALEC_Corporations
          And what about your ties to CATO and Heritage?Heartland?
          Last year, a new company called Lightsquared promised an innovative business model that would dramatically lower cell phone costs and improve the quality of service, threatening the incumbent phone operators like AT&T and Verizon. Lightsquared used a new technology involving satellites and spectrum, and was a textbook example of how markets can benefit the public through competition. The phone industry swung into motion, not by offering better products and services, but by going to Washington to ensure that its new competitor could be killed by its political friends. And sure enough, through three Congressmen that AT&T and Verizon had funded (Fred Upton (R-MI), Greg Walden (R-OR), and Cliff Stearns (R-FL)), Congress began demanding an investigation into this new company. Pretty soon, the Federal Communications Commission got into the game, revoking a critical waiver that had allowed it to proceed with its business plan.
          And so Americans continue to have a small number of expensive, poor quality cell phone providers. And how much does this cost you? Take your phone bill, and cut it by 80%. That’s how much you should be paying. You see, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, people in Sweden, the Netherlands, and Finland pay on average less than $130 a year for cell phone service. Americans pay $635.85 a year. That $500 a year difference, from most consumers with a cell phone, goes straight to AT&T and Verizon (and to a much lesser extent Sprint and T-Mobile). It’s the cost of corruption. It’s also, from the perspective of these companies, the return on their campaign contributions and lobbying expenditures. Every penny they spend in DC and in state capitols ensures that you pay high bills, to them.
          This isn’t obvious, because much of how they do this has to do with the structure of the industry. Telecommunications isn’t like selling apples, where you have a lot of buyers and sellers. In a business like buying or selling apples, all you need is an apple tree to get into the business. Cell phones aren’t like that. It’s a business where you sell services on top of a network of cell phone towers that can transmit phone calls and data, and these networks cost tens of billions of dollars to build. But even if you have the money to build one, you still might not be able to, as the Lightsquared example shows. These networks all use public airwaves, or “spectrum”, and you need government permission to use it. Remember the electromagnetic spectrum you learned about in school? The government literally leases that out to companies, and they make radios, microphones, wifi routers, and cell phones that use it.
          This has implications for your cell phone bill. Once AT&T or Verizon has paid for its network and licensed spectrum from the government, the cost of adding an additional customer is very low. That means that the biggest providers with bigger networks and more licensed spectrum make more money. It’s not only that their costs are lower, but also because they can keep other players out through control of the political system. That is, they can move towards monopoly in the industry. And monopoly means higher prices for you, and more profits for them. Here’s the data.

        • hyung April 28, 2012 at 6:19 am #

          Why wouldn’t you and they want to disclose their contribution to a group promoting freedom and the wonders of capitalism? Wouldn’t they and you be proud? What are you hiding? Conflicts of interests? Cronyism? How much of the money is from out of state? They get tax breaks for their contribution right?

          Might they be the for profit Connections Academy (ALEC member) that promotes online charter schools and privatization? Mat Wand to supports that gets paid by Connections to support it. Isn’t that cronyism and big govt. for privatized profits? http://ouroregon.org/sockeye/blog/whos-promoting-alec-oregon

          • hyung April 28, 2012 at 6:23 am #

            Actually that was Matt Wingard, not Mat Wand. Both are ALEC members.

  8. Kyle Cooke April 26, 2012 at 9:20 pm #

    I also am curious about the funders of CPI. List please.

    This teacher just seems so out there. I mean jeez, letting someone with completely different views than his come into his classroom to share their views. That’s just crazy. This is why public education is the best. You’re not going to get something like this in a charter school. You’re going to get only the right wing agenda of the Cascade Policy Institute, or of Cato, or of Heritage, or the Gates Foundation, etc. You’re not going to get any other views. Public educators know that it’s important for students to get all sides of the issue (not both, but all).

    As for technology, we use plenty of technology in the classroom, but are we going to let random unlicensed online people educate our kids on a regular basis? No. We went through a lot of work to get our licenses. Believe it or not, teaching is not something that everyone can do. http://www.musingsonlifeandlove.com/2010/09/13/the-hardest-job-everyone-thinks-they-can-do/

    I’ve tried to have my students use the Khan academy. It was over their heads. Well, if it’s over their heads, how is Khan going to adapt his instruction to meet my students where they’re at? He can’t, because it’s just a video. Teaching is more than just creating a video. Sure this works on YouTube, but try to do it in a classroom with 6 TAG kids and 8 special ed. kids. Online videos are not the way.

    How would you like to come into my classroom of fourth and fifth graders Steve and teach for the week? Not give a speech, but teach for the week. You can use any online resources you want, but you have to teach reading, math, writing, social studies, and science. I’ll just stop there to make it ‘easy’ on you. Oh yeah, you have to deal with behavior problems as well and make lesson plans. You don’t have to adjust your lesson plans if you don’t want to. I’m sure your lessons will work perfectly, you’ll stay right on schedule, and the students will learn everything you want them to learn. Did I mention that you have to teach to the state standards? Oh, by the way, there are adopted district curricula that you are supposed to use, so that kind of hinders your ability to just teach online stuff. And by the way, don’t even think that our union wants these canned curricula. That is all the district and the corporations who write the curricula. Good old free market. I thought the unions controlled all of education… If you think it’s so easy that little online videos can do it, then why don’t you come in and give it a go?

    • Steve Buckstein April 26, 2012 at 11:08 pm #

      Charter schools are public schools; approved and funded by public institutions in Oregon; they simply operated on lower budgets than “regular” public schools.

      I never said that everyone can be a teacher. But government licensing is often a way that professionals use to limit competition in their industries. Bad enough when we are free to choose among the limited selection; but in public education most families have virtually no choices because they cannot afford both the taxes and addition tuition to choose other than their local public schools.

      As to our funders, see my answer to Mr. Nam above.

  9. Kyle Cooke April 27, 2012 at 1:08 am #

    In your article, it was all about technology. I’m talking about why these online schools are not the answer and your rebuttal is charter schools? What happened to online schools? You make it sound like anyone can be a teacher with your argument that any schmoe who can make a youtube video can be a teacher. Therefore I figured you were one of the many people who thinks that they could do the same thing, thereby being a teacher. That’s why I’m suggesting you come teach for a week.

    I find it interesting that in your article you talk about how great Apple is even though there is limited competition with them. Then all of a sudden the limited competition of public schools is not ok. Like you were saying, if you don’t like your option, you don’t have to use it. Go to a private school. Go to a charter school. Go to an online school. Unfortunately for you, you’re not going to be able to find a reputable study that says that these are any better that public schools, and in most cases you will find that they are much worse, sometimes even detrimental to the students going there. I don’t see why there has to be all of this competition going on with students’ education. With competition, there are winners and losers. Which of our children are you ok with losing?

    • Steve Buckstein April 27, 2012 at 1:16 am #

      “I don’t see why there has to be all of this competition going on with students’ education. With competition, there are winners and losers. Which of our children are you ok with losing?”

      You might ask this of Oregon’s public school system, in which about 1/3 of the students do not graduate in four years.* It’s hard to see how more competition could make the situation much worse.

      * source: http://www.oregonlive.com/education/index.ssf/2012/01/unacceptable_only_two_in_three.html

  10. Kyle Cooke April 27, 2012 at 2:15 pm #

    I never said public education was perfect. But this is not the answer. Charter schools have been tried over and over again and they’re not any better, if not worse, than public schools. We need to have better teacher education programs.

    Classroom sizes have to be smaller. 30 kindergartners in a classroom is unacceptable, let alone 30 kids in ANY classroom. This is definitely going towards those high school drop out rates you mentioned. It should be more around 20, but 24 is an ok realistic number. We need to higher more teachers instead of cutting them.

    By the way, your comment about charter schools being public, is that really what you want? I have a feeling your little think tank wants them to be private, am I right? I have a feeling that you would enjoy an article written like this about your precious charter schools:
    http://www.republicreport.org/2012/wash-post-kaplan-alec/

  11. Hyung Nam April 27, 2012 at 4:36 pm #

    If you believe in freedom, why do you censor?

  12. Hyung Nam April 27, 2012 at 9:43 pm #

    Why do you censor anything about the American Legislative Exchange Council? Your response has lacked full disclosure. Cascade has many ties to ALEC and ALEC corporations.
    http://www.alecwatch.org/cpabrochure.pdf.pdf
    Todd Wynn from Cascade is at ALEC http://www.exxonsecrets.org/html/personfactsheet.php?id=1344
    It’s hard to believe you wouldn’t know who the ALEC corporations are. http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=ALEC_Corporations
    And what about your ties to CATO and Heritage?Heartland?

  13. Hyung Nam April 27, 2012 at 9:46 pm #

    Tell me about Todd Wynn

  14. Hyung Nam April 27, 2012 at 9:48 pm #

    But ALEC is not always focused on deregulation or “smaller government.” In fact, many of its clients want new legislation that is designed to protect their position of incumbency or enhance profits. Cable and phone company-written bills that restrict or ban public broadband networks are introduced to lawmakers through ALEC-sponsored events. In several cases, model legislation that was developed by cable and phone companies was used as a template for nearly-identical bills introduced in several states without disclosing who actually authored the original bill. . . The two most pervasive pieces of legislation ALEC’s telecom members (especially AT&T) want as a part of state law are bills to strip local authority over cable systems and hand it to the state government and the elimination or excessive micromanagement of community broadband networks . . . This model bill for increased cable competition strips most of the authority your community has over cable television operations and transfers it to under-funded or less aggressive state bodies. Although the bill claims to protect local oversight and community access stations, the statewide video franchise fee almost always destroys the funding model for public, educational, and government access channels. . . These municipal broadband bills are always written to suggest community and private players must share a “level playing field.” But bills like these always exempt the companies that actually wrote the bill, and micromanage and limit the business operations of the community provider.

  15. Hyung Nam April 27, 2012 at 9:50 pm #

    Since some of my posts are being blocked i’m reconfiguring them as separate comments.
    This shows your ties to that group i’m talking about.
    http://www.alecwatch.org/cpabrochure.pdf.pdf

    • admin April 27, 2012 at 10:13 pm #

      Mr. Nam,

      Your comments were not blocked but listed as spam by our filters. They have been restored.

      Sarah Ross

    • Steve Buckstein April 27, 2012 at 11:52 pm #

      None of your posts are being blocked. You obviously are more interested in our connections to other groups than you are to the substance of the issues we’ve discussed. I could do the same with groups you are associated with, but to what avail? Have a nice weekend.

  16. hyung nam April 29, 2012 at 1:31 am #

    So do you have a response about your connections to ALEC?
    And what is your opinion about what ALEC does?

  17. Hyung Nam April 30, 2012 at 7:58 pm #

    So how about a free exchange of ideas? What are your responses? It’s easy to have a monologue and present spin without informing me or my students that you are misrepresenting us or trying to speak for them, but can you actually respond? I’ve raised several questions about your claims, the premise of your article and about the conflicts of interest with your organization. I have many other points to make, but we can’t move to them until you respond. I can also have my students email you too.

    I wish you and your readers can read my students reflections about your visit and discussion. They were very critical of your ideas.

    • Steve Buckstein April 30, 2012 at 9:08 pm #

      I wasn’t invited to your class to defend my organization, or organizations that I have no control over. I was invited to discuss economic and political ideas. I still appreciate that opportunity, but given your insistence on turning this discussion toward demonizing groups you disagree with, I will move on to more productive activities.

  18. hyung nam April 30, 2012 at 10:02 pm #

    That is such a cop out. You’ve used this opportunity to attack public education, teachers and teachers unions. Your organization gets paid by special interest groups to put information out, without disclosing in whose interest you offer your information. Then you post this behind our backs and your readers attack me and my teaching?

    I appreciate that you came out. It is important for my students to hear many different points of view, however, your group is a special interest group, like many others. I don’t know if you’re readers realize that. Your refusal to disclose or respond speaks for itself.

  19. Rick L May 31, 2012 at 5:08 am #

    Hyung,

    All you seem to care about is where the information comes from. If Exxon or the SEIU tells the truth I will take it. If someone profits from the truth good for them. I agree with you that special interests and cronyism of all kinds hurts the average person. Union members, including ours, benefit at the expense of the “99″ just as much, if not more, that Exxon or any other corporation. I agree with Frederic Bastiat that ““Government is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.”

    The problem is not private individuals trading with each other but the privileges government give people and groups of people.

  20. Mary Starrett June 4, 2012 at 7:36 pm #

    Great piece! Thanks for interjecting common sense into the mix. I can always count on you (and all the Cascadians) to nail it. Keep up the good work. Please!

    I love you guys!

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