• A modest, free-market American proposal

    by David Weinshilboum

    The United States of America is facing an education crisis. The average American high school graduate is only expected to read and write at the junior high level, and higher education is rapidly becoming inaccessible to more and more U.S. teens due to rapidly increasing costs. All this while funding for education disappears amid state and federal belt-tightening.

    As a parent of two boys, ages 10 and 2, I am extremely invested in our country’s educational system. What, you might ask, am I doing to support my children’s academics?

    I am buying shit.

    Specifically, I am buying stuff that, indirectly, funds education. Throughout the years I’ve purchased books, plants, baked goods… You name it and I’ve probably purchased it, all because some portion of the proceeds goes toward my son’s school. Fruit chews? Yup, been there, done that. See, those pieces of fake fruit shaped like Scooby-Doo have a “box top” attached, a piece of paper that, if redeemed properly, translates to 10 cents toward my son’s school.

    I came, I saw, I bought.

    That’s how my son’s school district generates revenue. They can’t be bothered by state funding — goodness no! That goes against the American way circa 2012. Nowadays we must rely on the purity of the market. No need to tax people. We must accept that, if the market wants an educated America, the laws of supply and demand will create a place for education. In this purely capitalist system, schools either survive or die based on the market. In essence, our electorate wants us to go back to the days when only rich people could pay for their children’s education.

    Thank goodness we’ve outgrown our communistic, Keynesian economic past.

    In the ’80s, when I was a student in grade school, America was just a bunch of pinkos who didn’t believe in a pure market system. We were led by the biggest commie of them all — Ronald Reagan. He insisted on raising taxes to fund stuff like education. Dude was nuts, and by nuts, I mean RED colored pistachio nuts!

    Back then taxes helped to fund stuff like science, music and art education. Mind you, there were still fundraisers, but the money usually went toward extracurricular school activities—sports, band or various clubs.

    Luckily we’ve wised up and decided that science, arts and literature are ancillary to K-12 education. Sorry, Shakespeare, the market says you’re “not to be.” DNA? SOL.

    Apparently, getting parents and students to seek out donations is all part of the free market economy. One of the popular fundraising activities that my school district employs is getting students and parents to sell things to their neighbors. Last year, I received a catalog chock full of overpriced stuff like magazine subscriptions, wrapping paper and candies.

    But how does the school district expect me — a parent of two — to approach my neighbor who has three kids and urge him to buy a subscription to the Wall Street Journal?

    Hypothetical pitch: “Hey, how’s the furlough going? Oh, while I’ve got your ear, wanna buy a rag that thinks your union should be disbanded and your job eliminated?”

    Keep in mind, I live in Davis, California, the last bastion of the communist ’80s. People here still think that taxes should go toward schools. In fact, the city has repeatedly voted to tax itself to fund education. (If George W. were still in office, the entire city would be housed in Guantanamo!) Still, funding for education remains so inadequate that parents and kids are still going door-to-door.

    But here’s our real problem: schools aren’t selling the right products. Chocolates? Who needs ’em? Magazines? Uh, there’s this thing called the Internet! School districts across America need to start selling things that people want, tap a market that, up until now, has been limited to mostly rednecks and Charlton Heston.

    Kids should sell guns.

    Semiautomatics. Glocks. Uzis. Forget about a $1 mark up per chocolate bar. We’re talking a $300 net per gun! Twenty-five guns in a year, and that’s more than the state of California funds annually!

    For you bed-wetting liberals out there who are pitching a fit, please calm down. It ain’t as if I want to eat your kids. I just want ’em to earn a dime, contribute to their education the American way and help us adjust to the FREE MARKET. I am thinking about their future, you know.

    Every school district will want a piece of the action. In Davis, we can go to the biggest houses and offer the “home protector” double-barrel shotgun. If they say no, we can teach kids the hard sell, maybe hint that the very same gun could be sold in a West Sacramento hood as a rebranded “home destroyer,” and the aforementioned Davis address could be included as part of the deal.

    Even better, foundering school districts like Oakland would have the best markets.

    Sure, kids might be at risk in certain neighborhoods, but you can’t let the children stay in the nest forever. Besides, in our current form, we’re just delaying risk. A crap, underfunded education isn’t a risk; it’s a certainty.

    Granted, we’ll be dealing with a few injuries, perhaps a few deaths. But you know the old saying, “Better dead than red.”

    David Weinshilboum, who is really just a moderate trapped in an era of political extremes, can be reached at weinshd@crc.losrios.edu

    • I have bought all that crap from the neighbors and friend’s kids and now my grandkids. I also have bought tickets to Jimmy Kimmel for hundreds and plays and auctions and Halloween Hoots and then to the adjunct parents (raise a shit load of money fund). So sad that education is not valued like it was in my day. Property taxes got the job done and well now the parents and grandparents need to get on board if they can and make all their crap and sell it at every fundraiser at the public school. Guns no, marshmallow treats with chocolate ghosts on them, definitely yes. And also donate your time at your kid’s school or in their library or in their classrooms. There are many free things as well that can be done.

    • EXCELLENT writing… love the irony! I have been toying with the idea of writing a column about how we should ALL be armed. All the time. Carrying pistols like the wild west. Some will take it literally. The smart ones will get the irony.

      • Jesse

      • February 12, 2012 at 11:19 am
      • Reply

      Funny Stuff David!
      I am waiting for the invention of double decker desks to house 80 kids per class instead of 40.

      • Carolyn Wyler

      • February 12, 2012 at 2:12 pm
      • Reply

      Yeah great idea David to have kids sell guns! I’m amazed someone don’t come up with the idea a long time ago. Lmao

      • Jeff Aberbach

      • February 14, 2012 at 6:13 pm
      • Reply

      Did I teach you to write like that?

        • David Weinshilboum

        • February 18, 2012 at 12:07 am
        • Reply

        Jeff, yes, you *did*! Alas, I was unable to include a pun to brighten your day 🙂

    • An intriguing idea, but one past its prime. This isn’t the Wild West. Weren’t you paying attention? Main Street lost. It’s all about Wall Street now. Education shoukd be completely privatized and kids should raise their own funding!

      Imagine a world were kids seek a round of funding every few years from angel, VC, & other sources. They’d learn how to present themselves, negotiate with investors, think strategically, and develop long-term plans. It would bring a much needed redefinition of self-worth! Further, with kids and their investors tied directly into the kid’s education and performance, we could see a substantial reformation of educational practices–something desperately needed if the US is to compete in the coming decades.

      PS. Am I joking, serious, or both?

      • My apologies for the typo in the last sentence of the first paragraph. “Education shoukd…” is supposed to be “Education should….” 🙂

        • David Weinshilboum

        • February 18, 2012 at 12:09 am
        • Reply

        Hey now, MY proposal is completely serious, so while your idea has merits, I’m just going to have to, ahem, shoot it down 🙂

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