VOTE FREEMAN on March 12th
Interview on WKBK’s “Talkback” (2013)
Response to Sentinel Questionnaire (2013)
Full Name: Ian B Freeman
Education: AA in Radio/TV Broadcasting
Occupation: Radio Personality, “Free Talk Live”; Program Director, LRN.FM
Local group memberships and positions held: Cheshire TV board, 2006-2011
Experience with public education issues: Went to government school. Knowledgeable about monopolies and unintended consequences of force, when applied to education.
1. Why are you running for the Keene Board of Education?
I am running for the board to give voters and parents a principled voice in favor of educational freedom. Young people deserve better than government monopoly education.
2. What are the two biggest issues facing Keene schools and what should the board do about them?
The biggest issue is that people are forced, at the threat of the taking of a family’s home, to pay for a government school system with which they may not agree.
The next biggest issue is the monopoly system in which people are pitted against one another in an endless struggle over the educational curriculum, among other things, including minutia like whether or not an electronic sign should be in front of the middle school.
3. How can board members balance the educational needs of the district with the need to keep taxes down? (please be specific)
The only thing the board can do to satisfy the educational needs of the young people of Keene is to get out of the way, turn the operation and ownership of the schools over to the school staff, and allow them to run their schools as independent, non-government entities that are subject to competition in the market and can no longer depend on coerced, tax funding.
4. School districts will likely be developing teacher evaluations, which could include termination for teachers rated ineffective. Is this a good idea? Why or why not?
It’s always a good idea to re-evaluate your staff. However, centralized bureaucracy will never do an effective job at it, because they are guaranteed tax dollars regardless of their performance. People are afraid to do more than gripe about poor service, because they know if they stop paying the tax, the government people will steal their home.
5. Keene school officials have been studying ways to keep costs down at elementary schools, including a recent plan to close Jonathan Daniels School that ultimately was postponed. What do you think is the best way to make the elementary school system more cost-efficient?
As I stated earlier, set the schools free. Give each school over to the staff and let them decide how to run it. Their operation must be funded by consent, just like any other business or charity. Then you will see innovation in education as well as cost efficiency because the school will immediately become more responsive to parents’ needs, since their customers would no longer be under threat of force to do business with the school and could take their business to another school, or start their own.
(Bonus question that appeared in the 2012 Sentinel survey). Are there any areas where you think the district is overspending, or is not spending enough for education?
Overspending is part and parcel of being a government-run, monopolistic system. Despite the best intentions of the school board and district staff, costs continue to rise. Compare this to market-based industries, like the computer business. There, costs continue to drop, year after year. Not surprisingly, as that market is open to competition. No one is forced to buy a Macintosh, Android, Windows, or Linux – they get to choose. Not so with the government schools. Everyone is forced to pay and since the school district knows they are guaranteed the funds, they have nothing to stop them from overspending besides their good intentions. Intentions are very different from incentives. Government incentives are backwards from the market. In the market, some of the incentives to keep costs down include the fact that there is or can be competition in the market and that customers can choose to take their business to a competitor or even start their own competing operation.
A Message to Parents:
As a parent you naturally want the best for your family. Try as they might, the government is not providing the best education. That is because they get paid no matter how good a job they do. Frustrated, many parents around New Hampshire are voicing their individual grievances with the public schools in their towns. However, there is very little control you have over the unwieldy, expensive government school system – it gets more expensive every year despite not delivering better service.
It’s true that the school system, including the board, is staffed with plenty of employees who care about young people and want what’s best for them. However, increases in school funding and programs allegedly designed to help with problems in public education have not resulted in reversing the trend of declining literacy rates and test scores. Why doesn’t giving the schools more money work? Much has been written on the subject, and some will be linked to at the end of this document.
The government school system is a coercive monopoly. That’s why it has and will continue to get more expensive over time and not improve their results. Most people will agree that a quality education is very important to one’s future. Why in the world would you want the government to handle it?
Useful links to learn more:
The Underground History of American Education, by New York state teacher-of-the-year, John Taylor Gatto: http://johntaylorgatto.com/chapters/index.htm
Separation of School and State – SchoolandState.org
Unschooling – Wikipedia.org/wiki/Unschooling
Sudbury School – Wikipedia.org/wiki/Sudbury_school