Friday, August 26, 2016

Oliver!

John Oliver's weekly HBO show is pretty amusing, though predictable politically.  Many of his comic-yet-serious investigations are very much like (or perhaps based on) articles found at leftist websites like Think Progress or ProPublica. And his solutions tend to be of the "more regulation, more government spending" type.

Sometimes I agree with his basic take, sometimes not, but that he looks at things a certain way is a given.  Which is too bad, since there are plenty of juicy stories he seems blind to, and it would be quite instructive not only for him to investigate these problems, but also to see the reaction of the people who, at present, agree with him on practically everything.

Why bring up Oliver now?  Because of his most recent piece against (or, some would say, hatchet job on) charter schools.  This is a subject libertarians know a lot about, and I know a lot of libertarians, and they seem to be reacting against this piece more negatively than anything else the show has done. (For example, this reaction.)  Of course, some of them have never seen the show, so are surprised to hear what sounds to them like an uninformed rant.

It's not so much that charter schools don't deserve to be put in the spotlight.  It's that all education does.  And I guarantee for every horror story in the charter school system, you can find ten in public schools--horror stories much harder to fix, in fact.  But Oliver seems to be on the side that will defend public schools against any competition. (The same side that often puts their own kids in private schools).

Would it be that bad to question leftist shibboleths on education, John?  To investigate not just the corruption, but how they oppose all sorts of reform that threaten their interests?  After all, when you're done you can always say "if only we spent more money we could solve this problem."

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