Hey kid, eat your rutabagas!

 

rutabagas

After years of languishing under the Gold Dome, school choice is gaining some real momentum in this legislative session. Perhaps it’s finally dawned on lawmakers that parents accustomed to making decisions about the other important aspects of their lives will greatly support more flexibility in how their children are educated.

With that momentum, though, comes renewed resistance from the status quoists of the educational establishment.

In a hearing this past week on Education Savings Accounts (the subject of a recent column), one member of the establishment offered an instructive analogy — although I suspect it’s illuminating in a different way than he intended.

“I have no objection to individuals attending private school,” Jimmy Stokes, head of the Georgia Association of Educational Leaders, told members of the House education committee Wednesday. “They certainly are free to have that choice. If you don’t like the taste of rutabagas, you don’t have to eat them. But at the same time, you can’t make the grocer pay you not to eat them. And that’s basically what is transpiring with this bill.”

The oddity of comparing public schools to a vegetable many people would never eat is not what I find most revealing. At the risk of dwelling on what may have been an off-the-cuff remark, I think it’s quite indicative of how the establishment — not just Stokes — thinks about the issue.

In this view of the world, there are rutabaga farmers out there producing all the rutabagas our kids could ever eat. Don’t ask if what kids really need are nutrients, or if rutabagas are nutritious enough. All kids everywhere will be fine if they just eat their rutabagas. Trust us.

If a kid wants something besides rutabagas, he must be a picky eater. It can’t be that he has a vitamin D deficiency the rutabagas don’t help with, or that rutabagas give him indigestion, or that the rutabagas on his plate are usually rotten. It can’t be that his parents think he’d be healthier with a diet of fruits or grains.

When it comes to kids’ health, the most important thing of all is to make sure all the grocery money goes to rutabaga farmers. If there are any problems, it’s probably because the price of rutabagas isn’t high enough.

That’s the way they see it. Here’s another way to look at it.

People pay nutrition taxes, often very high nutrition taxes, but their kids are only offered rutabagas. If they have a lot of money left over after paying taxes, they can buy other foods. In the end, though, most people choose to give their kids rutabagas, and they always will.

But some people’s kids need something else. Besides vitamin D deficiencies and all the other reasons for wanting something else to eat, the rutabagas are better in some stores than others. Some parents want to know why their nutrition taxes can’t pay for spinach, or bread, or fish. They aren’t asking the grocer to pay them a dime. They just want to be able to use nutrition tax revenues to buy something other than rutabagas.

Those of us who support school choice have often pointed out how ridiculous it would be to apply the way public education works to, say, the way we buy groceries. How wonderful to have occasion to make that point once more.

Reader Comments 0

59 comments
Robtown
Robtown

I get it. I like the concept of school choice. Lord only knows how much I spent putting my kids through private school grades k-6.

But what happens when all the parents choose the same school? (You know that's gonna happen, right?)

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@Robtown "All" the parents choose the same school? No, I don't expect that to happen, actually.

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@Jefferson1776 Lotteries are a feature of a system in which supply doesn't meet demand. If there were a reason for educators to believe those demanding alternatives could actually afford them -- through the availability of an ESA, for example -- we should expect more supply to be forthcoming. And at prices nearer to the amount of money most parents would be able to spend; the high prices for private school tuition reflect the low supply vs. the high demand.

Lee_CPA2
Lee_CPA2

"Jimmy Stokes, head of the Georgia Association of Educational Leaders,...."

Another "education advocate" protecting his place at the hog trough.  Dwight Eisenhower once warned us of the military/industrial complex.  They have nothing on the education/industrial complex.

Here's an idea.  I send my child to private school and the state and locals save thousands of dollar that would have been spent to educate my child.  How about a tax credit for the state portion?

honested
honested

Yes, we can still deal with this bogus rutabega bill, or we could raise the appropriate revenue to put back the 12 billion that has been stolen over the years since 2002.


Education is expensive, but the planters don't want to pay.


Otherwise, why would we be faced with this 'no choice' nonsense?

honested
honested

@Kyle_Wingfield @honested 

Kyle, I speak to you as if you were intelligent.....

The money DIVERTED and deleted from the budget  (to prevent the horrors of adequate taxation) have been STOLEN!!!!

I don't want to mince words because it is just that simple.

Here, let me make it easier. 

When sonny was governor and decided to build 'go fish' what if the Ginralsimbly had approved the project in it's entirety, but then cut the budget by 30% halfway into construction.

Same thing with education but hey, it's just children they are stealing from!!

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@honested No, really. You're saying money not taken from Peter has been stolen from Paul. 

LilBarryBailout
LilBarryBailout

@honested

Adjusting spending to match revenues is what responsible adults do.

If you want higher taxes, you're going to have to win some elections.

WilJohnson
WilJohnson

As always Mr. Wingfield continues choice/voucher/tax credit mantra without understanding that there is little indication that these "choices" lead to significantly better educational outcomes anywhere. They further nibble away at the already reduced funding Georgia has allocated to public education over the last decade.

Georgia always ranks near 40th in state educational outcome rankings. Georgia's best results come from ourexpensive private schools. Our next best results come from public schools in wealthy communities with great property tax bases. The vast majority of our schools do have that luxury.

75% or so of choice schools perform no better or worse than our  public schools.25% do.  But so do 25% of our public schools and that is many more than Georgia's "choice" overachievers.

Georgia has demonstrated that it is a state unwilling and unable to create an education system for all Georgia students and Mr. Wingfield's politicized "choice" and rutabaga conversations just add to the noise.

 

honested
honested

@WilJohnson 

Hey but they are cheaper.......

And they give the 'no tax posse' something to hide behind (while they continue to welch on their dues to Civilization).

What a sad bunch of punks.

MHSmith
MHSmith

Remind me the next time when you write another column on this subject not to mention amending the State's constitution - again - to permit the use of public funds for non-public alternative educational choices, Kyle. 

Meanwhile, I'm waving a flag on this silliness that changes nothing. You and I differ on Charter schools being a step forward for school choice, they are only a step sideways to avoid going forward with funding real school choice.   


We on the conservative side and the "libertarian/liberal" side of this school choice issue need to vote people into office that will put this school choice funding issues on the ballot as a referendum to amend the State's constitution that presently prohibits the use of public education funding for non-public school choice.



notagain
notagain

I like the old purple top turnip and the greens.Never peel the turnip,,just wash scrape to clean.Slice,dice coat with butter,be sure to leave part of the peeling on each piece,boil until tender with a pinch of sugar in the boiling water.

Individual desire to learn,create this and schools will be fine if public,private or charter.

The Bob
The Bob

Liberal do-gooders will always support solutions that profit labor unions. In this case the children "be damned", because black Democrat politicians are not going to turn over control of all this money.

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

For those unfamiliar with rutabagas, it's important to note.....they repeat.

Jefferson1776
Jefferson1776

You can choose your school, just like you can choose your job.  You have to weigh your options, this aint' Disney so quit whining.

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

and therefore the state should provide a quality service to all. 


And when they don't >>>>>>>>>>>>>>> and haven't for 50 years................ we should continue to wait?


The solution to a failure of that is not to give a fraction of the children assistance to go outside of the system. 


So, it is to keep them all trapped in a failing system?


Seems we need to try something different and try and give them ALL a chance to go outside the system.  Once the system learns that it is endangered, maybe there will be some in house inducement to implement changes, from those now so heavy invested in preserving the status quo.

MarkVV
MarkVV

@RafeHollister 

To go outside the system anytime the quality is not what it should be leads to anarchy. The system is there for a good reason.

LilBarryBailout
LilBarryBailout

Notice that any time government Democrats get their grubby paws on something, choice and freedom are diminished (education, health care, nutrition, retirement planning).  Unless it's part of their constant effort at defining deviancy down, that is, then anything goes.

LilBarryBailout
LilBarryBailout

@HeadleyLamar @LilBarryBailout

I think things are going to get better when we turn the choice of schools over to parents, which will then force schools to care about education again.

Democrats mostly care about making sure teachers, administrators, and unions continue to profit handsomely even though they're failing.

GaBlue
GaBlue

@LilBarryBailout

So, you're solidly pro-choice, then? You write to your Republican legislators and tell them to get their busybody noses out of a woman's reproductive choices (unless they legally wed her first, in order to secure the privilege of going there, out of a strong sense of personal responsibility)? Good to know!

LilBarryBailout
LilBarryBailout

@GaBlue @LilBarryBailout

You either missed or ignored this part of my comment above:  "Unless it's part of their constant effort at defining deviancy down, that is, then anything goes."

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@LilBarryBailout Actually we believe strongly in Public Education.


If you think things are going to get better turning it over to for profit schools you are mistaken. 


Welcome to 11th English and Composition brought to you by Applebees  !!!!

MarkVV
MarkVV

A better analogy would be with regard to some service, funded by taxpayers, but not billed separately from taxes. Let’s say sweeping of streets by a service (whether the city department or a contractor) paid by the town or city as an important  community service. Then, if people on one street or in one neighborhood would be dissatisfied and wanted to pay extra for, say, extra sweeping of their streets, they certainly should have the choice to do that, but they would not be able to ask the town or city to get some of the taxes back to pay for that.

LilBarryBailout
LilBarryBailout

@MarkVV

What if they weren't getting competent sweeping of the streets?  I guess they should just accept lousy performance and accept that that's the government way.

MarkVV
MarkVV

The lack of logic involved in both Mr. Stoke’s and Kyle’s treatment of the comparison of a choice in food and choice in education is that the main issue of the problem of children’s education is not a choice of the subjects (vis-à-vis rutabagas vs. other edibles), but of the quality of teaching the subjects.When schools fail, which is what Kyle keeps reminding us in happening too often, the issue is not the subjects taught; in traditional public schools and any “choice’ schools they do not teach different mathematics, different spelling, different geography, etc. The failing schools just do not teach those same subjects as well as the well performing school, for various reasons.


If one wanted to make a valid comparison between a food-related subject and education, it would be about a group of cooks preparing essentially the same basic dishes, using essentially the same ingredients, but with different helpers, somewhat different tools, etc. But that still would avoid the main issue of the dispute, which is that education is considered so important to the society, that it is financed by all taxpayers, and therefore the state should provide a quality service to all. The solution to a failure of that is not to give a fraction of the children assistance to go outside of the system.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@MarkVV It cannot be stated that one school is not teaching the subject as well as the other.  BUT, one group of students isn't LEARNING the subject as well as the other.

RichardKPE
RichardKPE

Kyle, you're inspiring me to cook rutabagas for the wife tonight.  We're also going to try out our kid on solids for the first time so rutabagas might be her first vegetable.

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

Headley, we're not going to go through this again: You cherry-pick quotes from an outdated study; I show you the newer, more favorable (to charters) results of the latest study by the same group; you ignore them and keep bleating your same line.

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@HeadleyLamar Your first and biggest mistake was not bothering to learn what a charter school is before you began bashing them. You conflate every aspect of every school that isn't a traditional public school with every other one, sprinkle in some cherry-picked data, and declare these "charter schools" bad.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@Kyle_Wingfield Exactly


For every study you can show me that they outperform TPS I can show you one that says they don't


And 2009 isn't ancient history.


. Even the 2013 study which you like to cite while suppressing the other one could hardly be taken as a ringing endorsement. 


Given the pitfalls we know exist concerning Charter Schools ( Loos of control of curriculum, McSchools etc ) it hardly seems worth it.  Of course we are assured that would never happen here in Georgia. 


No way they would teach creationism etc..Not a chance.



Finn-McCool
Finn-McCool

Rutabagas get no love. Cut into cubes, rub with olive oil, and broil them till tender. Also, try parsnips this way.

Don't Tread
Don't Tread

Liberals are always screaming and hollering about how unevenly the pie is divided...until they have the majority share that gets redivided to other people.  Then it's a horrible idea.

MANGLER
MANGLER

Still seems like if you take the money already allocated for rutabagas bought from Publix that is in the neighborhood and give it to a parent and let them go shop at another store, say Whole Foods across town, that money won't cover as much as it did.  It's not like private schools cost less than public schools.  Parents weren't shopping at Publix and now they switched to Aldi.  

That's not a problem for those who have more, but for those who have less, it can be. 


But if it could be proven that the student was actually going to attend their local public school and the parents decided to use tax and tuition credits for a private one instead, I guess that would be OK and balanced.  One less student enrolled so the school doesn't get that money.  Only, it's set up that we don't get to ask that kind of question.

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

I think our liberal educrats prefer turnips that fall off the truck. 

schnirt

MarkVV
MarkVV

@FIGMO2 

I think some conservatives prefer making inane remarks to anything to the point.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

Strangely enough, just yesterday I procured, chopped and roasted a rutabaga. (In a pot, with a pork roast and several other root veggies.) I thought it delicious; my kid, not so much.

As to the analogy here, of course his was flawed, and maybe I ought to leave the analogies to the pros.

I'll just say that having the ability to re-direct tax dollars isn't one we typically enable the public to do for other government functions, so I'm not sure why private schools (and home-schoolers) in GA feel they need the heavy hand of government to enable it in this area.

MarkVV
MarkVV

When Mr. Stokes made the comment regarding rutabagas and choice in education, he missed by a mile. Kyle’s response to that misses by two miles.


Mr. Stokes made an inept and illogical comparison of education with eating rutabagas. He missed even worse by comparing the state and taxpayers with the grocer as the source of the disputed money.


But Kyle missed even worse by compounding the lack of logic in Mr. Stokes statement, which he initially calls just an “oddity,” but in the end “ridiculous.” Instead of just pointing out this lack of logic, he expands it by the irrelevant discussion of whether rutabagas are or are not good for health, and then introducing the irrelevant (here) matter of choice.


Kyle ends up claiming that he is pointing out the inappropriateness of comparing public education with buying groceries. But throughout the article, in contrast with Mr. Stokes’ short, ill–conceived remark, which Kyle admits might have been off-the-cuff, instead of pointing out the reasons why the comparison was inappropriate, Kyle has indulged in a silly expansion of the same.

Don't Tread
Don't Tread

@MarkVV Freedom of choice is never irrelevant, except in statist countries.  Liberals are all for statism with themselves in charge, so I suppose freedom of choice (and all other individual freedoms) are irrelevant to you.

MarkVV
MarkVV

@DontTread @MarkVV 

Since you are making assumptions without evidence, and your post does not make any sense anyway, all that you have produced is blather.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

But, Kyle, you can't take OTHER PEOPLE"S MONEY to buy your kid steak or salmon!


I have no idea what you pay in school taxes for a nice home in your area, but I am doubtful it is $18,000-25,000 per year, so that you could afford to send your child to a private school (If there was room).  And as far as a "better" public school, don't you think you'd have a hard time up against those in the very nicest neighborhoods and what THEY can afford to spend so their child can go to those top-notch public schools?


I think many of those making the argument are just laughing at those others who think they should be able to do it "if only" the government were not in the way.

Don't Tread
Don't Tread

@Wascatlady It doesn't matter if you pay $500 or $50,000 in school tax, whatever that amount is should follow the child to the school of their choice.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

And if you take into account "your" money that goes to the state in the form of income taxes, well, relatively little of that goes back as money for education. You see, we have to pay for streets,fire, police, and jails, and other group necessities, something that those who love the dollar for dollar tax tradeoff for "private school scholarships for the poor"seem to be willing to forget.  BUT SOMEONE STILL HAS TO PAY FOR THE PROVISION OF SUCH THINGS!