Tuesday, June 13, 2006

reservations

My recent post on reservations received a number of comments from both sides of the debate, primarily showing how polarizing this issue has become.

I am reminded of the US, where education has long been known to be greatly biased against the poor and non-white. Ridiculous solutions and ridiculous proposals are constantly introduced--and rarely is anything implemented--though that is not to say either that India's new quotas are ridiculous or won't be enacted into law.

e.g. Private school "vouchers" - This plan admitted that the US public school system was a failure in poor urban communities and proposed to give parents "vouchers" tha twould help them pay to send their kids to private schools. Since the vouchers would have been valued at a few thousand dollars, and private schools cost around $20,000 a year in the US, and the concerned parents make around $15,000, this was an absurd plan. But the most absurd thing was that the media, and many Americans, treated it with the utmost seriousness. Not only would it not have helped the relevant communities, by abandoning government-sponsored schools and hiding behind fake privatization, it would have left the poor much worse off.

This was profoundly sad, considering that the US government could immediately redress many of the problems that plague education without spending an additional dime on funding. How? Public education in the US is funded almost exclusively by property taxes. The rich neighborhoods have the highest property values, pay the most tax, and have the best schools. Unlike India, the US is segregated economically, so the poor receive educations funded only by their paltry property taxes. A simple solution would be to put all the property tax into one big pot, and allocate it to the school districts based on population and/or need. As in India, however, the wealthy do not want to sacrifice any of their advantages to benefit the less fortunate.

3 comments:

Shri said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Shri said...

Hey Jason - I just rediscovered your blog and I keep trying to post, but it doesn't work... blogger having some issues or is it me?

Shri said...

Here's an article that offers a different perspective:
http://ia.rediff.com/news/2006/jun/15franc.htm