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h o w   w e   t a k e   b a c k   o u r   c h i l d r e n ' s    e d u c a t i o n  --
o n e   p e r s o n ,   o n e   q u e s t i o n ,   o n e   s c h o o l   a t   a   t i m e .        
  Copyright 1999-2006 Peyton Wolcott
Modern Minutemen:
Jim Fedako
Former professional cyclist and Peace Corps volunteer,
prolific writer--and school board member

Blog:  
http://antipositivist.blogspot.com
Samples of recent articles
Jim Fedako  
Quality is a Market
Notion
by Jim Fedako
[Posted on Friday, April 07, 2006]

For generations, products have
advertised themselves as "new and
improved." We are too quick to
dismiss this phrase as a
promotional boilerplate. The market
really does generate unrelenting
improvements in our living
standards. Meanwhile, the public
sector is forever promising to
improve its services and products
but every attempt creates only
conflict and eventual stalemate.

For example: the proposed solution
to the ills of public education is for
government to raise the quality of
teachers by increasing salaries
and certification requirements. The
belief is that a better workforce will
lead to better educational
outcomes and an improved
economy.

Of course the adjective better has
no agreed upon definition. Every
pressure group and political faction
has its own definition of better.
Mostly these disparate definitions
contradict each other. Regardless,
the call for better continues to grow
louder each election cycle.

There are perceived ills in the free
market too — not ills in the same
sense as discussed above, but ills
in that all consumers have wants
that are unmet. The argument for
better can be applied to any sector
of the economy. Better factors of
production are always sought since
acting man desires improvements
in consumer goods; improvements
that are reflected in increased
selection and quality, as well as
lower price.

In this case, the adjectives better,
improved, and increased can go
undefined since they are subjective
value judgments of each individual
consumer. No one needs to define
them in literal terms; the actions of
consumers define those terms as
ends that are either satisfied or
unsatisfied. More importantly,
acting man does not need
government bureaucrats or
commissions to codify such terms
for quality. The entrepreneur knows
he matched the market definitions
of better, improved, and increased
simply by looking at his profit-and-
loss statement at the end of each
accounting cycle.

That better factors are not simply
added to each and every recipe —
the directions for producing desired
goods — is explained in one
simple word: scarcity. Scarce
factors have to be correctly
employed in the production of the
most sought-after ends. Any other
application leads to accounting
losses and financial ruin for the
entrepreneur.

Entrepreneurs have more solutions
to the unmet wants of man than
capital goods. Capital goods are
required in the creations of factors
of production, which are
themselves required in the
production of consumer goods.
Using resources to produce goods
other than those most wanted
leads to economic losses, as does
using goods inefficiently to produce
most-wanted goods. Consumers
buying and abstaining from buying
along with double entry
bookkeeping provide guidance for
the allocation of factors of
production.

The socialist utopian belief that the
burden of scarcity can be lifted with
the correct utilization of current
capital and factors of production is
still prevalent. The line of thought
goes that once the altruistic and
omniscient bureaucrat grabs the
reigns of the economy and guides
the factors to their correct
application, scarcity will fade away
and the Land of Cockaigne will
appear on the horizon.

But this is not reality. Scarcity will
always be with us as long as man's
desires exceed his ability to satisfy
them. Of course, once scarcity is
lifted, once all desires are met,
society will meet the same fate as
the ants in an Uncle Milton's Ant
Farm: it will quickly die off.

At any given point in time, each
factor is limited. Successful
entrepreneurs recognize this and
direct scarce resources to the most
pressing needs. Government, on
the other hand, recognizes no
concept of scarcity. It only sees one
side of the equation, or only one
result of its actions. Government
functions counter to Hazlitt's
admonition to see the unseen; to
look for secondary effects of any
proposed action.

It's important to employ resources
and factors where they will have the
greatest effect. The successful
entrepreneur would not use a high-
quality diamond in a simple
industrial process when a low-
quality one would work fine. A CEO
would not place his or her CFO in
the company cafeteria to run the
register simply because a $10
cash-versus-sales shortfall was
being reported on a daily basis. To
employ a highly skilled and hence
scarce resource to chase the odd
$10 would be wasteful and
inefficient.

Human qualities are indeed scarce
resources. No one would suggest
that Joe Paterno would be most
efficiently employed as a high
school junior varsity coach. Would
Joe Pa be effective? Of course he
would. Would it be the best use of
such a quality resource? Of course
not. Many less experienced
coaches could achieve the same
result, though those same coaches
could not generate Joe Pa's lifetime
college win record.

The same goes with other scarce
resources. Would Mises have
generated the greatest bang for the
buck teaching eighth grade
economics? Would the resource
known as Bill Gates be most
efficiently employed as a ninth
grade business teacher? How
about Einstein as an AP physics
instructor? It depends on who you
ask.

The socialist utopians truly believe
that a Mises, a Gates, or an
Einstein would be most efficiently
employed in the classroom. They
have no concept of scarcity of
human qualities and have adopted
Trotsky's vision of all men rising to
the height of Goethe and beyond. A
utopian's fantasies do not allow
him to see the world as it is. His
epistemology is invalid so his
beliefs and conclusions are errant.

Mises said that only a handful of
any generation has the abilities to
advance economic knowledge, and
indeed he was correct. But to
coerce the best and brightest to
become primary and secondary
teachers is to rob future
generations of essential
knowledge. The same can be said
of the use of tax dollars to guide
such geniuses into the primary and
secondary classrooms by raising
the incomes of teachers above their
marginal product.

The unhampered free market
correctly allocates resources to
their best use. Interventionism
changes the allocation so that
resources are applied to uses that
are not beneficial to a society.
Government loves to create
roadblocks to entry into fields of
choice.


Human energy unleashed: $25
Raising teacher certification
standards above that required by
the desires of man simply creates
shortages where none should
exist. Attracting the best and
brightest with too-high salaries —
salaries above their marginal
product — or by creating shortages
(real or perceived) succeeds only in
raising the cost of education; it
does nothing to solve the ills of a
government-run education system.
Because of this, education is best
left in the hands of the free market.
Under a free market, the allocation
of scarce human qualities and
knowledge will be matched to the
desires and wants of man. Public
school math teachers, gym
teachers, librarians, etc., would be
paid exactly what they produce; no
more, no less.

Should the desire for knowledge
garnered in a ninth grade business
class exceed that of the desire for
faster and cheaper personal
computers, Gates would find his
most remunerative employment in
the classroom. Otherwise, keep the
Miseses, Gateses, and Einsteins of
the world out of primary and
secondary classrooms, and keep
government out of education. We
will all be better off.
Believe in Government,
Believe in Me
by Jim Fedako
www.lewrockwell.com/orig7/fedako1.html     

If you believe that Government provides the
solutions, then you have to believe in me. As
a member of an elected board of education I
have been granted the power to mandate
solutions to local education and health
issues, real or perceived. My qualifications: I
was elected to my position by receiving
sufficient votes to beat enough of the other
candidates. I was not elected by a majority,
more like a plurality of the 25% or so
residents who chose to vote in that election.
Not much of a mandate, but I will take what I
can get.

You see, once ensconced on the board, the
fact that close to 85% of the residents in my
district of voting age either voted against me,
or decided my election was not worth their
time, carries no weight. The power vested in
my position, and now in me, by Ohio state
law does not depend on unanimity of
support. It does not even depend on majority
support. All I needed was to be the marginal
vote-getter in an off-year election and the
board seat was mine.

Interestingly, the same folks who would
never accept my omniscience as a friend,
neighbor, or community member, accept my
omniscience as an elected official. Of course
these folks don't consciously acknowledge
my omniscience, but they do subscribe to the
omniscience of the governmental body, the
school board in this instance. It is as if the
board as a whole attains a higher plane of
reason where the whole is multiples of the
sum of the parts. In reality, most board
members are simply parents trying to make
the best decisions for their own children.
Certainly they pray that they are right, but they
do not subscribe to their omniscience at
home, just in the board room.

Based on lots of research and agonizing
internal reasoning, or simply the result of my
then-current whim and fancy, I get to make
decisions that affect the lives and future of
other’s children. All it takes is for an article in
an education periodical or posting on a web
site to catch my attention and I could be
advocating the next nuttiness in your life.
Should someone suggest that children today
are overfed and under-exercised, I could be
writing the new policies, procedures, and
guidelines that mandate each child eat
nothing but organic carrots at lunch and
perform sets of jumping-jacks at their desks
on the hour, every hour.

Sound far-fetched? Well, it’s not. Every crazy
idea has both advocates and enablers. The
advocates push the issue while the enablers
nod their collective heads in approval. It really
does not matter if the enablers truly agree
with the advocates since the enablers will
never call the advocates into question. The
lovers of Liberty try to make a stand but find
their voices lost in the sea of feel-good,
collective consensus-building. The crazy idea
then ends up before the board and I get to
decide. Will whim and fancy, or research and
reason, be my guide? You never can really
tell.

So I get to decide on the issue while you get
to fear the results as the occasional band of
roaming morons spray paint SUVs, demand
that KFC play Mozart in their slaughterhouses
– yes, the chicken we eat must be
slaughtered somewhere, and protest
McDonalds and Wal-Mart as evil incarnate.
These are products of a system that I get to
run based on my world-view, or the world-
view that piques my interest at any given time.

And I get to change with the winds, not so
much based on political pressures, but
based on the ideas or ideals that I believe
today that all children must believe tomorrow.
As my views flutter in the wind, new
advocates arrive on the scene and the
increase of crazy ideas reaches hurricane
speeds while the enablers bob their heads
in accelerating unison.

The problem is that local government is
simply comprised of friends, neighbors,
community members, who you generally
appreciate but whose views on very personal
matters, such as parenting, are not always
the same as yours; just as you do not always
agree with the parental decisions of those
closest to you – your parents and siblings. In
fact, one of the easiest ways to end a family
reunion in anger is to begin telling siblings
how to raise their children.

In addition, even if I possessed the latest
research on education and had advanced
reasoning skills, as an elected official, a
member of government, the best I can offer is
my opinions and beliefs, and I am wrong
more often than right. Education research is
based on standards that can never match
consumer desires, and all opinions and
beliefs of that research are nothing more
than an individual’s bias. Without a free
market and real consumers driving the
education system, expect waste and
inefficiencies; failures. But give us, your
school boards, power and we will decide; we
will indoctrinate as we see fit, based on our
own biases or those biases fed to us by
educationist organizations.

But society must allow parents to raise and
indoctrinate their children as they see fit, not
as the unionized wing of government sees fit.
Thomas Jefferson believed that it was far
better to suffer the occasional fool than to
create a school system that offends fathers,
and mothers. I assume that the majority of
parents would opt for their own decision-
making skills if pushed to decide, but I may
be wrong.

Why do so many people have such little faith
in their own parenting, and their neighbors'
parenting, that they truly believe that without a
unionized labor force inculcating children,
nothing of value will ever be learned? Are we
really at the point where the future of
civilization is in the hands of the public
school education monopoly? Maybe
preschool should start right after birth so that
parents have no adverse influence on their
children. And, why do residents feel that I can
make the decisions for their children that they
would not allow to be made by members of
their own family?

The answer is that they have accepted
collectivism in the form of government as the
solution. Whereas our forebears rebelled
against such paternalism – or do-gooder
nanny-ism – the current generations have
come to accept government in all facets of
their lives. We allow the schools to dictate
our children’s future and simply assume that
the schools are always rights. We allow the
local health department and schools to
decide what goes in our children’s lunch
boxes and accept that mandate as correct.

How in the world did my election to the board
cloak me in the cape of omniscience and
allow me to be more enlightened than
regular folks? Karl Marx and the other
socialists and communists saw little need
for the family and other institutions; they
believed that they knew better. Gramsci, the
Italian socialist, believed that socialism
would win in the end if it based its means on
a strategy of long-term goals; a Fabian
approach. Why fight in the streets when the
damage can be done by destroying families
and institutions?

In many ways, we have allowed socialist
collectivism to be the main outcome of public
education. The schools create the
environment that nurtures the advocate and
encourages the complacency of the enabler.
It is really no wonder that the collective body,
the school board, is assumed to be
omniscient while the individual board
member, in his non-board role, is simply
considered one in the crowd.

Don't simply sit back and be a silent enabler,
stand for freedom against the aggressions of
the advocator. And remember, if this is so,
that the schools and all other local
governments are always right, that simply
means that I am always right. And even I do
not agree with that.
Background,
in Jim's own
words
I have been in the
computer field for 15
years, plus one year
public school teaching in
south Texas (Harlingen
CISD) and another year
teaching in Jamaica with
the US Peace Corps, and  
I am a former
professional cyclist.

I am currently serving in
my seventh year on the
Olentangy Local School
Board, Delaware County,
Ohio.  Shelly, my wife of
17 years, and I have four
home-schooled children.

I have always run on the
platform: education,
accountability and
community. I am a strong
proponent of all three.
Lately, the main issue has
been community,
specifically the rights of
parents with regard to
their own children's
education. Parents, and
community in general,
continue to get pushed
out of the educational
process by staff
members. These staff
members believe that they
are more capable in
guiding children than the
children's own parents. I
bristle at that belief.
About Ludwig
von Mises
Von Mises, who died in
1973, was a forceful
proponent of the free
market and Liberty. He
was a product of the
Austrian School of
Economics, a school of
economics founded on the
belief that private property
rights allows individuals to
form a well-ordered
society. Government
should exist for the sole
purpose of protecting
property, and any
governmental intervention
outside of this leads to a
less-ordered society. The
Mises Institute
(www.mises.org) was
created to further the
works of Mises and his
protege, Murray Rothbard.

Mises was a believer in
logic as the basis for
economics. He built his
system of economics on
the foundation of
individuals acting based
on their own subjective
preferences, each human
is an individual that has
wants and desires
different from any other
human. That idea stands
opposite the current
fashion of economics built
on statistical correlations
-- the positivist or
empirical view. Mises
conclusions lead to the
knowledge that inflation is
the result of governments
creating money or
extending credit. The
positivist or empirical view
simply analyzes data and
arrives at incorrect
conclusions. In this case,
the conclusion that
inflation is simply the
result of consumer
demand. The two
conclusions lead to
drastically different
solutions. Mises said
government needs to stay
out of the economy while
the other side said more
interventions are required.
That last 100 years has
shown who is right, and
who is wrong, as each
new government
intervention creates new
and worse problems.
Comments heard along the
way (with responses)
"Lovely Bones is a work of literature." The
supporter of some of the books on Olentangy
Liberty's mandatory reading lists claim that
the books are true works of literature. If those
books are works literature, so is this blog,
along with every keystroke and pencil scratch
that I have every made.

"They are on the New York Times Best-Seller
List!" So what. They are not on any college's
list of expected readings for in-coming
freshmen - at least no list I have every seen.

"It's censorship." No, it's selecting a list of
appropriate books. As the woman in the June
30, 2006 Dispatch article notes, she is
making Lovely Bones available to her family
members. That is still her right and privilege.
You can still borrow the book at district
libraries and all county libraries, and the
book is available at Wal-Mart and Barnes and
Nobles, etc. That's a very strange application
of the concept of government censorship,
and a very weak understanding of the First
Amendment - as written and intended, not as
applied by activist courts.

"A few pushy parents are getting too involved
in the schools." State law in Ohio dictates
that parents are stakeholders and thus equal
partners in the school system, though some
staff see otherwise. Some parents who
complained in the past were harangued and
insulted when they wanted less-offensive
selections added to required reading lists.
Now parents have banded together and are
demanding to be heard; that is their right.

"Stop being such a religious fanatic and get a
life." Not a very nice way to greet your
customers, but it is a very powerful way to get
parents to back-off from demanding to be
involved in their children's education. Keep in
mind that a government-run monopoly will
never accept its community as an equal
partner.

"Our staff knows best." Really, and this is the
reading list they created. Aren't students
supposed to be reading the books that will
prepare them for college? It would appear
from the mandatory list that students are
supposed to be reading the top ten list from
Oprah and NYT. As one commentator noted,
"It is as if some teachers and librarians are
working to ban the classics."

"Kids should read these books as they are
very interesting." Ok, go ahead and borrow or
buy the books and give them to your own
children, just don't force them on other's
children.

Remember, the flip-side of censorship is
indoctrination. The supporters of this list can
have their own children read the books, but
that is never enough. They DEMAND that your
children read them also. In fact, staff has
stated that the reason they don't like parental
permission slips for controversial - vile -
materials and presentations is that "the
parents who say no are the ones whose
children really need to view/read the
materials." Huh? What makes a unionized
labor force, and tax-supported
administration, believe they have the right to
overrule you in such personal matters? The
cry of "censorship" always follows the drive to
stop indoctrination.

(If you want to see the heart of the
indoctrination efforts, check back later for
updates from the platform debates from the
NEA annual convention courtesy of Mike
Antonucci of the The Education Intelligence
Agency.)

Besides the error correction noted in the July
1, 2006 edition of the Dispatch, another error
is the claim that this is simply an issue for
one Christian parent. In fact, this is an issue
for 70 to 100 parents initially involved, a true
cross-section of our community, whose
children were effected by the list. The list of
concerned parents continues to grow.

Who knows what is best for your children?
You, the parent, or someone else? I believe
it's you, others do not. They are not
concerned about their own children's minds,
they are concerned about your child's mind.
And that concerns me.

note: Some say I'm too critical of all
teachers. I would agree if only a few would
stand up to this nonsense and be heard. As
none have now or in the past, I have no
option other than to consider these issues
fully supported by the staff. Please,
somebody, prove me wrong!

How we take back our children's education:
one person, one question, one school at a time.



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DOE - Department
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ES - Elementary School

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QUOTES



Separatists in
India's north-eastern
state of Manipur
have
shot six male
teachers in the leg
for allegedly helping
students cheat in
exams.

Two women
teachers were
beaten with sticks
for the same offence,
the rebels of the
Kanglei Yana
Kan Lup group said.  
The teachers were
abducted from their
homes after an exam
on Thursday.  

The rebels said
the teachers
took up to 5,000
rupees ($110) for
helping students
cheat
and warned
of further
punishment if the
cheating continued.  

The Kanglei
Yana Kan Lup
(KYKL) is one of
many separatist
groups fighting
Indian administration
in Manipur.  

It said it
abducted the eight
teachers from their
homes in and around
the state capital,
Imphal, because of
reports they had
taken bribes.

--By Subir Bhaumik - BBC
ATTENTION EDUCATORS AND ADMINISTRATORS:
Every attempt possible has been made to verify all sources and information.   In the event you feel an error has been made, please contact us immediately.  Thank you.
Copyright 1999-2006 Peyton Wolcott
POP QUIZ:

How do you
yourself know for a
fact that your state
or local supe is
actually using the
funds entrusted to
them for the
correct purposes?

David v.
Goliath:

How
America's
Moms & Dads
are taking on

Education,
Inc.

PEYTON WOLCOTT


The question
is not how to
measure
excellence at
public schools
and education
agencies.

The question
is how to
measure
competence.

-- Dianna Pharr
CONTACT:
Peyton Wolcott
P.O. Box 9068
Horseshoe Bay, TX  78657
peyton@peytonwolcott.com
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