In 2019, 49% of Virginia’s Black 4th graders Could Not Read – Mississippi Offers Hope

Source: Bacon’s Rebellion.

The writer compares and contrasts Virginia’s approach to education planning with Mississippi’s.

Although the writer advocates for Virginia to adopt Mississippi’s plan, I am more inclined to see the story as an example of the folly of allowing government to operate schools.

35 thoughts on “In 2019, 49% of Virginia’s Black 4th graders Could Not Read – Mississippi Offers Hope

  1. The folly is not so much allowing the government to operate schools as it is to give government a financial monopoly to do so.

    Let the money follow the child and let the marketplace decide.


      1. That would be fairly easy to address,

        You could set up a voucher system that provides 60% of that the public schools get per child in a jurisdiction for regular students, 90% for “at risk” students and 110% for handicapped students.

        You would quickly get specialized schools for each category competing for those vouchers, and the competition would spur the public schools to improve to compete.


        1. Who determines these categories? The now for-profit schools? Those assessments are pretty expensive, might hurt the bottom line.

          What about a school who accepts a special needs kid and then expels or removes them after submitting their Dec 1 count (the day VA uses for distribution of special ed funds)? That’s not a hypothetical; we’re seeing that happen in charter schools now. They take the extra money, then decide they can’t serve the kid, and so the kid ends up back in his local public school, without the money.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. Those are details that can be worked out.

            The point is that it can be made attractive to educate any child if the voucher system is properly set up. Most private schools provide superior education at about half the amount our public schools get, so there is plenty of room for adjustment.


          2. Private schools may test better in most cases, but as you are fond of (correctly) reminding us, correlation does not imply causation. The child of parents who can afford to send them to a private school has myriad advantages over less wealthy peers–it’s not clear that the education is better. Private schools are selecting these wealthy students who test better, and pay their teachers significantly less than public schools.

            Those details are worked out–in the public school system.

            Liked by 2 people

          3. If the public schools are so good, they should not fear competition.

            Children from very poor families attend Catholic and other church based schools at reduced cost and do very well.

            Let the parents choose.


          4. You’re sidestepping the issue again. The fact is, there will always be kids who need lots of services/extra attention. Under a market system, institutions would be incentivized to simply not educate these students who are most in need of a strong, consistent education.

            Nobody is saying public schools are good. They’re quite bad in all but the most wealthy jurisdictions in this country. Without having survey data in front of me, I suspect most parents would choose to have a quality, free at the point of service, public school relatively close to their home, rather than having to pour over earnings reports and testing data at the end of every year to decide which schools to apply to.

            Liked by 2 people

          5. Well, if most parents would choose the public school, then you have nothing to worry about.

            And again, educating the difficult children is just a matter of appropriately valuing their vouchers.


    1. RE: “Let the money follow the child and let the marketplace decide.”

      Yes. In time, even that process would develop corruption, but it remains a sensible approach to restore incentives to a more natural pattern. Another useful innovation might be government funding for land and facilities to be operated or used by private educators.


        1. It would be more private than it is now. The objective is for parents to contract directly with educators for the services they want.


          1. RE: “Have you ever known the government to provide money without strings attached…?”

            No. That’s why I wrote: “In time, even that process would develop corruption…”

            I am pointing out that you need enforceable contracts between buyers and sellers for a marketplace — in this case, one for education — to function. The root cause of public school failures is that the buyers (parents) don’t have enforceable contracts with the sellers (educators).


    2. The real folly has been to allow ANYBODY other than the local government to run schools. There is already enough tribalism and inequality in our country without foisting it on our children. We are not a country with a shared race and culture. Historically public schools created the shared experience and values that cemented our communities together. That function has been eviscerated by the geometric expansion of “private” and “Christian” schools in the aftermath of Brown Vs Board of Education. Your proposal to further privatize education would only make things worse.

      We should spend the money, hire the staff and build the facilities for public schools such that nobody could match them and make a profit at any price.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. You obviously have nothing of substance in the way of rebuttal so once again your silly and clueless ad hominem attack.

          The fact is that the public school experience shared by all of the children of a community has been an important glue holding the fabric of our society together – a fabric which is fraying. The tribalism and inequality promoted by various non-public schools IS part of that problem. The imagined “free market” for schooling where the ability to pay will be the sole determinant of educational opportunity will make it worse.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. And again, the voucher system I propose would make private schools available to all. And, of course, they already are. Catholic schools have used a sliding scale based on family size and income to determine tuition for decades.

            And I outright reject the idea that everyone must have the same experience.

            We do not need to all dress in our Mao jackets and have the same education, Parents should choose the type of education they see as best for their children, and they should have a wide variety to choose from. Remember, with only one system, if it is a bad one, there is no place to go and you don’t even know if it is bad as there is no alternative to compare to.

            Tribalism thrives within public schools simply because they are large enough to divide into internal factions.


          2. ” Catholic schools”…

            They also force students whose families are NOT Catholic to adhere to Catholicism. That was why my parents did not put me in either of the 2 catholic HS where I grew up.

            Such inclusion!

            Liked by 1 person

          3. “Of course, they already are . . .”

            Yes, we have been experimenting with fragmenting school choices since Brown v Board of Education. It has taken us in the wrong direction for decades because the “tribalism” I was referring to was not high school cliques. It was the destructive tribalism that is manifest in our politics and exploited by charlatans and hustlers like Donald Trump to divide us.

            Parents having free reign over educational choices sounds like a good idea until you see the kind of choices they would make. Would it be okay for tax money to be spent on indoctrinating a child into a cult where, for example, science is taught to be the work of the devil? Or where girls are taught they must be subservient to boys? We cannot stop parents from such child abuse, but we do not have to facilitate it.

            Finally, I did not say the “same experience.” I was talking about “shared” experience. The social life of the whole community shared in the same school. Playing together with children from all backgrounds. Playing for and rooting for the same teams. In a good school there is a great variety of curriculum and tracks, so take your Mao jackets and shove them up your ass.

            Liked by 1 person

          4. RE: “And I outright reject the idea that everyone must have the same experience.”

            This is a crucially important point. Government-run schools violate the most basic definition of public goods because every individual’s learning experience is inherently unique (or, technically _rivalrous).

            If we support the notion that government spending is only legitimate when true public goods are provided, then we must reject government employment of educators. Facilities where learning occurs may qualify as public goods, but teachers, in particular, would not.


          5. “technically _rivalrous”

            Technically, laughable. When I visit Yellowstone Park, my experience will be different than yours. Therefore, by your logic, public parks are not “public goods.”

            Besides no true Scotsman would send his child to a public school.


          6. “In what way would you have been required to adhere to Catholicism?”

            For starters, daily prayer and religious indoctrination are part of the curriculum.

            And, BTW, taking public tax money and funneling it to such “teaching” is a clear violation of the Establishment clause. Or does only the Second Amendment matter to you?


  2. The entire premise of the article is that strong government intervention got results in this particular case, and you suppose the opposite must be true despite offering no justification for refuting the findings of the article that you posted.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I would put more blame on parents that don’t care that creates a vicious circle. No parent involvement, fail school, can’t get a job or don’t care, blame whitey or “the system”, make babies, repeat. The ones that do care are labelled by their peers as not being black enough. Sad.


        1. Truth hurts, doesn’t it. Stop sitting on your behind calling everything racist and help your community. That starts with acknowledging its failures and why instead of playing victimhood and blaming everyone else.


          1. Obviously it does, seeing as you made a point about it.

            Not everything is racist. I said that YOU were. And I state that based on the fact you do not see everyone as equal.

            Calling a spade a spade is all I did. And it hurt your little snowflake feelings because, deep down in whatever soul you have remaining, you know it is true.

            Liked by 1 person

    1. RE: “I would put more blame on parents that don’t care that creates a vicious circle.”

      I don’t disagree, but I note that the system we have today discourages some parents from caring. The big trend in history has been the expansion of education from the elite to everyone else. I think that happened because parents demanded it.


  4. Unfortunately, holding back one year increases likelihood of dropping out by 70%. The real story, as they found in Florida — this is a Jeb Bush idea — is that 4th grade reading goes way up and graduation rate plummets.

    Pay me now, or pay me later.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Hmmm. Let me get this straight. Under Mississippi’s strict literacy promotion law, children who do not read well cannot be promoted to the 4th grade. Wonder of wonders, when the reading proficiency of 4th graders is tested Mississippi shows remarkable improvement. It’s, it’s, it’s like magic!


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