Strength in Independence

The “independent” in independent school districts is a profundity that is undervalued.

National and state governments are large institutions. Their lawmaking authority and reach easily go beyond their expertise.

Thomas Sowell in his book, Basic Economics, writes about business and their limits.

A business firm is limited, not only in its over-all size, but also in the range of functions it can perform efficiently. General Motors makes millions of automobiles, but not a single tire… Nor do automobile manufacturers own their own dealerships across the country. Typically, automobile producers sell cars to local people who in turn sell to the public. There is no way that General Motors can keep track of all the local conditions across the length and breadth of the United States, which will determine how much it will cost to buy or lease land on which to locate an automobile dealership, or which locations are best in a given community, much less evaluate the conditions of local customers’ used cars that are being traded in on new ones.

No one can sit in Detroit and decide how much trade-in value to allow on a particular [vehicle] in Seattle with some dents and scratches or a particular [vehicle] in mint condition in Miami. And if the kind of salesmanship that works in Los Angeles does not work in Boston, those on the scene are likely to know that better than anyone in Detroit can. In short, the automobile manufacturer specializes in manufacturing automobiles, leaving other functions to people who develop different skills needed to specialize in those particular functions.

Most people who engage in private business recognize their knowledge limits.

Politicians have limited knowledge, too. The folly of believing and/or acting otherwise has consequences.

Texas recently concluded its state football championships. Imagine what it would be like if the Texas state government increased its involvement in Friday Night Football.

First, it would set a curriculum: TUFF – Texas Understanding of Football Form.

Second, the state would require universal student participation and set physical standards that all would have to meet.

 5.0 seconds or less in the 40 yard dash
Bench press 250 pounds

(Of course, there would be penalties for those programs that fail to meet the participation rates and physical standards).

Third (an unfunded mandate is needed … just wouldn’t seem right without one), all football fields shall be indoors (picture thousands of AT&T Stadiums – retractable roof is optional).

Texas football functions well without excessive state involvement and the imagined effects of increased oversight is humorous. Less humorous is the erosion of “independent” in independent school district.

Valuing and supporting local independence can strengthen Texas K-12 Public Education.

About drjstewart

Christian, husband, father, educator, writer, and photographer.
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