Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You: The Lottery


(Guest Post by Matthew Ladner)

We’ve discussed John Rawls and the veil of ignorance a few times here on JPGB. What if you lost the cosmic lottery and were born a poor inner city child? What would you want the school system to work? If you said “anything other than a zip code based system which pervasively matches the most disadvantaged students with the least effective teachers” give yourself a gold star.

In any case, the Rawls lottery is only a thought exercise, but back here in reality, there are real lotteries held every year with thousands of children attempting to escape the system described above by applying for a charter school. There are winners and losers, families who celebrate in joy and families who weep bitterly. 

Someone made a movie about it. Check out the preview– I’m looking forward to it.

Question for Leo: have you figured out why you lost Barack Obama on charter schools yet? Buy a ticket and some popcorn and you may figure it out.

3 Responses to Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You: The Lottery

  1. Patrick says:

    My biggest problem with Rawl’s veil of ignorance is that he also assumes people (like him) must also be economically ignorant as well.

    His theory assumes, behind the scenes, that the welfare state is the best possible outcome for poor people. Never does it cross is mind that building more wealth is a way in which the poor can have their lives improved.

  2. matthewladner says:

    You are making the case of the Rawlsatarians:

  3. Patrick says:

    Well then I’d agree with them. Rawls never did prove that equally partitioning goods and property would lead to a better result for the least advantaged.

    Imagine if we had tried out his theory 200 years ago.

    I don’t think we’d be having this conversation, on the internet, in air conditioned offices, with computers, some 300 miles apart.

    We’d probably be hunting wabbits with a blunderbuss.

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