Saturday, October 21, 2006


I don't believe that it would be fair to say that Dr. Lui Tuitele is an inherently bad person who doesn't care about our children's education. The insufficient disciplinary action of DOE personnel and the lack of resources for our crowded public schools reflect structural problems of the system we use to provide education to our kids.

Unfortunately, it would seem that we will continue to keep our eyes closed, blame everything on the man in charge and keep our fingers crossed that our kids will one day get a proper and safe education.

Education is a service more valuable than fast food in my opinion, but we allow fast food service to be the best it can be by letting fast food restaurants face competition and pursue the profit motive. Not so with education. Instead, we choose to place one of the most important aspects of our lives into the hands of bureaucrats who don't face the same incentives as private businesses.

Where competition and the profit-motive drive the betterment of goods and services in the free market, a web of politics, personalities, bureaucracy, careerists, and Fono allowances (a 100% increase by the way) suck away at our children's chance to better access a world of opportunities.

If we are to improve education for our children then it only makes sense for us to harness some of the forces that continually improve services in the private sector everyday. It will require structural changes to the current system, not just trying to find the mythical "good person" who is pure of heart who can drive the broken car of public education forward. It will require taking the money out of the hands of the bureaucrats and putting that money into the hands of THE PARENTS.

With school vouchers in the hands of PARENTS, our kids will have the money to choose between all public and private schools. PARENTS, not the bureaucrats, will choose where our tax money will go. All schools will then have to compete with each other for the PARENTS and OUR CHILDREN.

School vouchers haven't had much in the way of debate in our territory. A lot of DOE officials' jobs, titles and prestige will hang in the balance if our resources were out of their control and sphere of authority.

But seeing how our resources go to protecting instead disciplining wrongdoing and the teacher-to-student ratio spiraling out of control, I rather place my taxes and my faith in the hands of us PARENTS to better the future of our CHILDREN.


At 7:06 AM , Blogger Stuart K. Hayashi said...

Hey Tallyho!

At your request, I will play the devil's advocate.

You write, "Education is a service more valuable than fast food in my opinion, but we allow fast food service to be the best it can be by letting fast food restaurants face competition and pursue the profit motive. Not so with education."

Exactly. And just about anybody who isn't a libertarian extremist will say, "Yes, it's true that education isn't treated like junk food, and that is precisely the point! Education is essential for children, and fatty junk food is not. Education is too important to be left to the market; junk food is not."

Because fatty junk food is not something that kids need, it can be left up to the vagaries of the market, though there may come a day when American Samoa's politicians wisely follow the example of U.S. mainland politicians and introduce legislation to put a tax on transfatty acids and complex carbohydrates.

People will only understand that something as valuable as education is best provided by the market when they see that essential necessities are best provided by the market.

Instead of comparing free-market mechanisms to lousy, good-for-nothing junk food, we could talk about health food.

Do you realize how much access parents and children would have to carrots and oranges and broccoli and vitamins if these commodities were provided by the government instead of by the market? All of these would be in tremendous shortages.

And what about housing? Everybody needs housing. Even though there is government subsidized housing, most real estate is provided by the market.

If the government treated housing the same way it did education, then the government would provide "free" residential real estate to everybody at taxpayer expense. Shelter is best allocated precisely because the government doesn't provide it that way.

People will see that the market is best handler of education when they see that the market best handles, not useless junk like fast food, but vital necessities like fruits and vegetables and housing.


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