Eduwonk: Vouchers Boring, Bus Service Consolidation Fascinating

(Guest post by Greg Forster)

One of Eduwonk’s most important contributions to the education blogosphere is the snarky comment. Snark is frowned upon in these parts (don’t leave a snarky comment on this post, or you’ll be violating site policy). But if I may register a minority report on behalf of the loyal opposition, I think snarky comments do for the marketplace of ideas what short sellers and speculators do for the stock market: they’re not classy or respectable, but they perform an indispensable price-discovery function. (Another similarity is that the people who do them make tons of money – right, Andy? Andy?)

Of course, not all brokerage houses are interested in having their services used by short sellers, and there may be some sense in declaring some education blogs as snark-free zones. The short sellers can always take their business to other brokers – just like I post all my snarky comments on Pajamas Media.

But if Eduwonk is going to dish out snark, he’d better be able to take it. So check out what I found while scrolling through Eduwonk this morning.

In response to John McCain’s big education speech at the NAACP:

If this campaign turns into a debate about vouchers please just shoot me now. I’d prefer a debate that ignores education than that tired fight again.

Two days earlier:

Shouldn’t we be . . . trying to get school districts out of the busing business altogether? Big school districts like to boast about how they bus more passengers each day than Greyhound. That’s true, but also sort of insane if you think about it and consider that their primary mission is teaching and learning. Besides, today’s buses are horrendous polluters even when greener technology is available, control over transportation means control over parental decision-making, and school districts often aren’t even very good at designing efficient transportation schemes or adapting to changing circumstances like $4 gas, which was not exactly an unforeseen issue in the transportation world…Student safety means that, especially for younger students you want to be careful about how you merge transportation schemes, but having local or regional agencies that handle transportation would pay a lot of dividends if was approached with the dual principles of being greener and more parent- and civic-friendly at the front-end.

Got that? A debate about the policy that represents the most fundamental break from the existing system, is most consistently supported by empirical evidence, and is currently the most politically successful movement in the education world is boring enough to induce suicide. But the prospect of transferring control of bus services from school districts to local or regional transportation agencies is fascinating.

Supply your own snarky comment; I’m not allowed.

But before leaving the subject, I will note that if you’ve seen the new Batman movie, you already know whom to call for all your school bus operation needs:

You know how I got these scars? I was in an accident caused by an incompetent school bus driver, because educational transportation is controlled by school districts whose core mission is teaching and learning rather than by local or regional transportation agencies!

One Response to Eduwonk: Vouchers Boring, Bus Service Consolidation Fascinating

  1. […] Per last week’s item on big bus, now there are propane buses rolling off the assembly lines….Meanwhile, Greg Forster wants more snark, more vouchers, less bus. […]

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