Saturday, 2 February 2008

The Visible Foot of the State on NZ's Youth

In accordance with NZ's problem's with youth violence, ghastly schools and drug abuse, PM Helen Clark and National Party Leader John Key have both proposed solutions to these problems which include compulsory education until 18, boot camps for young offenders and pouring NZ$150 million into our education system. But will it work to improve our already failed PC public education system? Phil Howison, Libertarianz party spokesman, thinks not.

"Forcing students to stay at school until they are 18 will cause unruly classrooms, bored students, stressed teachers and an increased burden for taxpayers" says Libertarianz education spokesman Phil Howison. "It is essentially an admission of defeat for state education. If eleven years in state schools leaves most students unemployable, what difference can adding two years make?" Howison asks."

An interesting observation, at the high school I attend, is that most senior students (especially in Year 13) have already left school -and fair enough. In spite of the effects of collectivism and altruism in our education system, as I've already explained, it also provides no incentive for students who want to pursue careers in the trades -builders, plumbers, electricians, etc- to stay in school, as other institutions, such as apprenticeships, polytechs, and specialized colleges offer better courses in those careers. Many students also go into the workforce in those later years, providing more time for the less academically-inclined students to pursue their careers than they otherwise would have attending schools.

These students, who don't want to be at school for rational reasons, would put a strain in school resources, especially as students who do want to stay at school need them more. Because of the compulsion to stay at school, these students would also have an incentive to misbehave, and to simply skip school as goes on every day. Which leads to another point Phil makes:

"Forget about Key's boot camps - schools these days seem to be just as rife with violence, bullying and substance abuse as the prisons. But all teenagers, not just youth offenders, are forced to attend! Clark's scheme [to spend an extra $150 million to "clean up" public schools] will take many young people out of the workforce where they are learning to be self-sufficient and productive, leaving them with no choice but to accept government handouts."

Which is the flip side of the government's "schooling=productivity" argument. Schooling can only result in future productivity as long as the student wants to learn. For any student who doesn't want to learn, and to instead do other things with their life, education becomes a useless investment. As the returns on that investment lower, students are more likely to leave school. As public school is fundamentally an academic institution, the more hands-on students are likely to leave school earlier than the academically-inclined students.

National Leader John Key's plan, says Howison, is little better. John Key proposes army-style "boot-camp" courses for young offenders, with government pouring millions of dollars into these courses to straighten out young offenders. While I don't disagree with an army-style boot-camp solution -omitting the government-funding- for reducing the repeat offending rate, it will only lower the crime rate superficially. The real solutions lies in getting rid of the rampant NZ underclass culture of entitlement to the money of the truly productive, which destroys self-esteem and promotes youth violence, and destroys and sense of responsibility. As I said before:

"How can a man with no respect for himself and his achievements possibly have respect for others and their achievements?"

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