Sunday, December 07, 2008

Education as parental responsibility

A number of friends commented and agreed with my earlier thesis that education is mainly parental responsibility, not government responsibility. When this idea will be accepted by many people, one implication is that ultimately, we do not need the Department of Education (DepEd) and the thousands of government schools. And we do not need to surrender lots of our earnings and savings to the government in the form of high and multiple taxes.

About language in the school, these days, mobility is the rule of the game. Your neighbors now in your village or community may no longer be there 3 or 10 years from now. They will soon migrate elsewhere, or you and your family will migrate soon, somewhere in the Philippines or somewhere in Asia-Pacific or in other continents. Some middle class families whose parents may not be good English speakers, will work hard to have their children become good in English reading and speaking -- because they plan to migrate somewhere in English-speaking countries in the future. Or they simply want their children to become international entrepreneurs or managers or artists someday. Or some want their children to learn Spanish because the parents will be working with companies that are based in Latin America or Spain. Or have their kids learn Korean or Mandarin or Japanese, etc. Countries speaking these languages are the Philippines' top trading partners,
that's why.

There are hundreds of reasons why parents want multi-lingual, multi-disciplinary training for their children as early as pre-school. Thus, the insistence of a national bureaucracy called DepEd to have one or two language as official language for ALL government schools around the country reflects the rigidity and desire for uniformity by a bureaucracy. They hate diversity.

Meanwhile, while we are stuck with a huge education and other national bureaucracies, and a big portion of our earnings and savings are stuck into forcibly funding those huge bureaucracies, we helpless citizens can only choose which language imposition can cause the least damage to our children's education. If we can't bear those impositions, then we will be forced to bring our children to private schools, while we still forcibly contribute for those public schools that we do not personally support and we do not directly benefit from.

Another friend reacted to my earlier posting and asked,

what if your parents did not want you to go to school.
what if your parents did not care about you
what if you were born as a streetchild
what if your parents cannot afford a good education
what if your parents are not as astute as you want them to be?

Well, if your parents did not want you to go to school, if your parents did not care about you, then you're fucked up! It doesn't matter if it is a cowboy capitalism or bleeding heart socialism state, you’re an unlucky child from irresponsible parents.

In a typical welfarist or trying-hard welfarist state, it is possible for irresponsible parents to work 6 days a week and drink 7 nights a week, because their children's education is not parental responsibility but "government responsibility" . And if the quality of government education is bad and mediocre, they can blame the government, blame the capitalists, blame the rich, blame everyone, except themselves.

But many politicians also like this, even prefer, poor quality public education -- but they won't publicly admit it -- because that would mean bigger allowance for "commissions" and robbery. In addition, the products of public school system in general will be unskilled (save for a few bright and ambitious students) and they become cheap labor employees because they are unskilled, and the poverty continues, and so there is more reason to demand "more tax money for public education" because people are poor. And they perpetuate a vicious cycle.

Meanwhile, there is no government restaurant, govt food chain, govt carinderia or turo-turo. But people are eating, rich and poor alike. Why? Because of product and food diversity. People can eat a P30 meal or P300 or P3,000 meal, but it doesn't mean that the one who eats P30 lunch in a neighborhood carinderia will die or become malnourished next week or next year, compared to someone who eats P3k lunch in a plush hotel.

People accept diversity and inequality in food service, diversity and inequality in clothing, shoes, houses, cellphones, etc.

But how come people won't accept diversity and inequality in education, so that government should always be there?

Now if some parents are too irresponsible to even think about their children's education (and nutrition and health care, etc.), then there is nothing that will prevent other parents and responsible individuals, to take care of the children of the irresponsible people. Voluntary charity is all around us, whether it's church-based or civic clubs and organizations, even village and sports clubs, etc.

Many people will be hesitant to accept there will be big voluntary charity to help the underprivileged people. But if they will not trust you and I, their friends and neighbors, as incapable of such action, why would they trust government politicians and bureaucrats to really care for the poor and underprivileged? What’s with the latter that they are more “trustworthy” than any average citizen?

Also, a household that pays P500,000 per year in income tax to the State, when that tax is slashed to P250,000 per year or less, that household will not burn and throw away the difference or savings or de facto "pay rise". They can go to Cebu or Boracay or Bohol or Boracay, spend the money there, and that money will go to the pockets of boatmen, employees and owners of airlines, hotels, restaurants, souvenir shops, etc. The people who receive bigger income will be happy to save more and bring their kids to different schools that cater to their hopes, preferences and budget constraints.

It still puzzles me why people would resist giving other people more personal freedom and responsibility, and would always call in the State to confiscate a big portion of their earnings and savings, to do things that people and their voluntary associations are capable of doing. Only those functions that people cannot effectively do by themselves, like neutralizing armed robbers, killers, rapists, land grabbers, carnappers, etc., that the State should come in. Then our taxes to the State to perform this kind of social function is highly justified. But the State to assume our children's education? our children's health care and nutrition?


Anonymous said...

What does Minimal Government Thinkers think about the RH bill? State spending on contraceptives? Giving more power to PopCom? Sex education?


Bienvenido Oplas Jr said...

Population size is a parental responsibility, not government responsibility. The State should not spend a single centavo on any contraceptives, nor should it spend a single centavo telling people to use natural methods, or to put up and retain, even expand, population bureaucracy like PopCom.