Privatizing Public Services | Prisons and Schools

We often hear politicians say that the government
should be run like a business. It’s one of those intuitive sayings that
many Americans nod along in agreement with. Part of that business model is the push towards
privatization of government services in order to save money and improve quality – and
we’ve seen a lot of that in recent decades. But can public services with a relatively
stable demand be run like a business – and more importantly, should they? The 60s and 70s were an interesting time in
American history. The baby boomers were coming of age and demanding
things like civil rights, women’s rights, the end to the war in Vietnam, and were generally
causing trouble for the political establishment. So, Nixon began the War on Crime. Crime in this case being protests and riots
and later the War on Drugs because you know… hippies. Drugs were already illegal but now they were
hyper illegal. This escalated under Reagan, which is where
the story of privatization begins for most industries, but for now, let’s just focus
on prisons. The first modern private prison opened in
Tennessee in 1984. In the years that followed, three major corporations
turned private prisons into a multi-billion dollar industry. And at the same time, strangely, the prison
population exploded. I can tell you right now that this doesn’t
track with the overall population of the United States, the violent crime rate grew, but that
peaked in the early 90s and has been falling ever since, so why is the prison population
still growing? Because the definition of a jailable offense
has expanded. And not only that, but the punishments for
those crimes have also grown. Thanks in large part to the private prison
lobby. In order to grow like a business, you have
to increase demand for your product, but public services typically have a pretty stable demand. So private prisons pushed for harsher punishments
and longer punishments. In the late 80s and early 90s, they passed
mandatory minimum sentencing laws, first at the federal level and then almost every state
followed suit. This took determining punishments out of the
hands of judges. They couldn’t take context into account,
it didn’t matter if this was your first offense, you were a model citizen, you didn’t
mean to do it – didn’t matter, prison. Then they lobbied for Three Strikes laws. They vary by state, but in general, if you
commit three misdemeanors, it’s a felony; and if you commit three felonies, you’re
done – mandatory life sentence. This artificially inflated demand for prisons. Even though crime rates are down, the prison
population continues to grow, there are currently 2.3 million prisoners in the United States
and about 9% of them are in private facilities. Private prisons have the benefit of being
built quickly, without taxpayer approval. They commonly refuse to take the most violent,
and therefore the most expensive, prisoners, who then have to go to a government facility. But hey, as long as they’re saving the taxpayers
money, right? It costs about 87 dollars a day per prisoner
in a government run facility, while a private facility can do it for only 70 dollars a day,
mostly by cutting staff and services… which as you might have guessed, leads to more violence…
you get what you pay for. And those savings are negated by the fact
that people in private prisons serve longer sentences. You know when you get sent- when someone else
gets sentenced to 5-10 years for whatever crime? In a government prison, you’re up for parole
in five years and will likely get out. In a private prison, you’re far more likely
to serve the full ten. Not only because of the increased violence
and increased infractions, but the fact that the contract with the government usually includes
a 95% or more required occupancy clause. And the parole board remembers that when looking
over your case. Now, we can debate over whether or not prisons
are correctional and serve to rehabilitate prisoners – they don’t – but what isn’t
up for debate is that private prisons are no better at it than government prisons. 76.6% of all federal private prison inmates
are re-arrested within five years, which is virtually identical to government prisons. Because of that, the Department of Justice
and Bureau of Prisons terminated their contracts with private prisons in 2016. Private prisons served an important role during
a difficult period, but time has shown that they compare poorly to our own Bureau facilities. They simply do not provide the same level
of correctional services, programs, and resources; they do not save substantially on costs; and
they do not maintain the same level of safety and security. The contracts were immediately reinstated
by Trump, but still. Private prisons are losing favor in the court
of public opinion, and they know that, so they’re shifting focus away from corrections
and towards immigration. You know those ICE detention centers you’ve
been hearing about on the news? 75% of them are privately run. But prisons aren’t even close to being the
only public service that has seen a shift towards privatization. Even some that you wouldn’t think could
be privatized, like the military, are mostly private. There are currently three private defense
contractors for every one uniformed servicemember serving overseas. And just over half of them are “combat-oriented”…
so mercenaries. They cost an order of magnitude more than
a regular soldier, at taxpayer expense, but the political benefit of having defense contractors
far outweighs the monetary cost. Whenever a politician says we only have so
many troops remaining in whatever country, mentally multiply that number by four. Defense contractors also don’t count towards
the official American casualty numbers, so those look better too. Private contractors don’t have to follow
the same rules, but they also don’t get the same legal protections. There hasn’t been a real push to privatize
police forces in the United States, but we have been privatizing emergency medical services
and even firefighting. Private firefighters aren’t exactly a new
concept. The first fire brigade in Ancient Rome was
owned by Marcus Licinius Crassus, who would haggle over prices with the property owner
as their home was burning to the ground. I sure am glad we moved passed that and that
would never happen in America. Wexford County, Michigan contracted out its
ambulance services in the mid 90s, saving taxpayers $300,000 in the first year. Lowering taxes is one of the main claims and
a primary driver of privatization. I very much doubt that Wexford County residents
saw a reduction in their taxes, but even if they did, that averages to about $10 per person
per year, or just 83 cents a month. I probably accidentally threw away 83 cents
last month. You might be thinking that any reduction is
a good reduction, right up until you need an ambulance and they hand you your bill. Private EMS charges the county less in taxes
but charges the individual users significantly more on the back end. Privatizing infrastructure, like toll roads
and bridges, comes with the same problem. It reduces local taxes but increases individual
costs. In 2005, the operational rights to the Chicago
Skyway were sold for the next 99 years for 1.8 billion dollars to a Spanish transportation
company and Australian investment bank. Because you know, buy American. Cities and states have been doing this for
a short-term cash influx, while offloading the cost of future maintenance, at the expense
of long-term revenue. Had Chicago maintained control, they would
have made almost 8 billion dollars over that 99 years, not accounting for inflation or
toll increases. Which is exactly what happened anyway, a few
years ago the bridge was re-sold to a collection of Canadian retirement funds, who then doubled
the tolls. They will profit from the bridge until the
year 2104. Perhaps the only case where privatization
has saved taxpayers money both in taxes and on the back end is trash collection. And even then, they fail miserably when it
comes to efficiency. Residential trash collection is fine, it’s
pretty straightforward, but commercial trash collection is an absolute nightmare. In New York City, there are over 250 trash
collection companies. All of that competition in such a small space
just makes them get in the way of each other, a five block stretch of 87 businesses will
have 27 different dump truck companies driving through each night. So that’s how mafia works… So privatization doesn’t really drive down
costs or improve efficiency, but all of that competition must improve quality, right? Yeah, ask British Rail how that went. The story of what happened to British Rail
is so astonishingly stupid that it’s a video in itself… that someone else already made. Seriously, check it out after this, it’s
amazing. I just got back from Vidcon London and the
public transportation there is just so… you have no idea how good you have it. I’m so jealous that I kept my Oyster Card,
just so that I can put it under my pillow and dream about that ever happening in America. Seriously, if they ever try to privatize Transport
for London and you guys don’t riot, or at least form an orderly queue to register a
formal complaint, I would be very disappointed. Same goes for the NHS, while we’re at it. I didn’t have to use it while I was there,
but I know someone who did, and their experience, even as a foreigner, was both quick and fantastic. But healthcare is another video in itself,
don’t worry it’s coming. Competition, at least in the free market,
is supposed to lower costs, improve efficiency, and hopefully improve quality. But governmental public services are by design,
meant to lose money. We all pay into them through taxes, because
we all benefit from the service, either directly or indirectly. We as a society pay for it, because we as
a society benefit from it. Competition didn’t improve quality or lower
costs for private prisons and certainly didn’t for public transportation. But for some reason, we all seem to think
it will work for schools. What if schools had to compete for students
in the same way that businesses have to compete for customers? Schools can’t grow like a business. If you have a burger joint in your town and
a second burger joint opens up, overall demand for burgers increases. Both businesses will benefit from competition. But when it comes to schools, if you open
a second one, you’re just cutting the student population and thus the demand, in half. Unless your business plan includes encouraging
parents to have more kids, in which case you’re playing the long game. The demand for schools is relatively stable
over time, you can cut costs and improve quality all you want, the student population is basically
the same. The National Center for Education Statistics
reports that since 1970, public school attendance in the U.S. has gone up by just five percent,
while public school employment has gone up 95 percent! PragerU is correct when they say the student
population has only grown by 5% in the last 50 years, because people just aren’t having
that many kids anymore, the population is pretty stable. But that 95% employment increase is rather
deceptive. Two-thirds of that growth was in administrative
staff, so secretaries, librarians, counselors, and principals. Apparently every school needs four vice principals
now for some reason. The teacher population only accounts for 37%
of that growth, on average over the last 50 years, we went from 22 students per teacher
to just 16. Which if you ask me, that sounds like a good
trend. But ask almost anyone, and they will tell
you that the public school system is broken. The system, especially for economically disadvantaged
kids, is broken. I even asked you on twitter and an alarming
amount of you agreed. Saying that the public school system is broken
is like… supporting the troops. Every time a politician says it, everyone
claps and nods along in agreement, even if their personal experience was great. But nobody seems to be able to agree on how
to fix it. PragerU’s solution is privatization and
introducing free market competition. In almost every state and city where there
is competition today, educational outcomes improve – often dramatically. We don’t need any more money, we need more
choice. Forcing more competition and faster improvement
among existing public and private schools. Private schools have existed basically forever,
certainly longer than any public school. And it shouldn’t surprise you, but a large
number of private schools are religious in nature. Public schools in America didn’t really
come about until after Reconstruction and by World War 2, just about every kid had access
to public education. Because as a society, we all agreed that we
all need this. And that’s essentially how it was for a
decades, everyone had access to public schools, and if you had the means and you wanted to,
you could send your kids to a private school. But in the mid 90s, a third option opened
up: charter schools. Depending on state law, these schools can
be started by parents, teachers, non-profit groups, corporations, or even government organizations. Remember this one, I have a feeling it’ll
be important later. Charter schools are privately run and publicly
funded, they typically use a different teaching style like Montessori or have some sort of
curriculum focus like college prep, fine arts, or STEM. They didn’t really take off until No Child
Left Behind was signed in 2001. Among other things, No Child Left Behind established
standards that every school had to meet, and if they don’t meet those standards, bad
things happen… If a school is unsuccessful in hitting its
annual targets for a sixth consecutive year, a restructure plan is implemented. Common options include: Turning over district
control to the state, turning the school into a charter school, or closing the school. There weren’t enough charter schools to
statistically compare them to public schools until a few years after that law was signed,
so all of the data I will be showing you starts in 2005. Which was still fourteen years ago… why
am I so old!? Then a few other laws were passed like Race
to the Top and Every Student Succeeds, and most recently the bane of all educators was
introduced: Common Core… which just seems like a way to make public schools compete
with one hand tied behind their back. Since depending on the state, charter schools
don’t necessarily have to follow that curriculum. Charter schools are a rather contentious issue
and supporters like PragerU and the Cato Institute know that, so they’ve changed the language
to School Choice. According to researchers at the University
of Arkansas – in the most comprehensive study done to date — students in school choice
programs saw their reading and math scores improve by 27 percent and 15 percent, respectively. Sounds like something we should get behind,
doesn’t it? PragerU is rather infamous for not citing
their sources, so it took some digging, but I did find it. It’s from the University of Arkansas School
Choice Demonstration Project and it comes to a rather interesting conclusion. Generally, the impacts are larger for reading
than for math, for programs outside the US relative to those within the US, and for publicly-funded
programs relative to privately-funded programs. Wait, what?! Okay so, the data is rather difficult to sift
through, but we’ll get through it together. Here it is, TOT Reading, 27% increase for
areas that have school choice programs. But here we can see that they broke it down
by International and United States. Internationally, school choice improves reading
scores by 48%, while it only improves the United States by 2%. It’s the same story for math – yes, that
says negative zero for the United States. PragerU presents this data as if school choice
programs increase scores in the US, when in reality, it increases scores by this much
Internationally, and only this much in the United States. Sounds like something we should get behind,
doesn’t it? This study, the one that PragerU cites as
proof that school choice is better, actually shows that in the United States it has basically
no effect. You can check it yourself, unlike PragerU,
I cite my sources. And while you’re checking, you might find
out that their source wasn’t peer-reviewed or published anywhere. It’s a working paper, there’s even a disclaimer
on the first page saying not to use these results without clearly stating that it is
a working paper. This was fun, let’s do another one! According to a 2015 Stanford study, not only
do charter schools provide significantly higher levels of growth in math and reading for all
students, but minority and low income students benefit disproportionately more. The minority angle is part of PragerU’s
overall school choice narrative. If you don’t support school choice, then
you’re the real racist. They actually sprinkle this into every video
they possibly can about politics and race. It’s no coincidence that Progressivism is
the common thread that binds predominately black cities where single parent homes, failing
schools, rampant poverty, and crime predominate. Opposition to school choice has kept them
trapped in failing schools. However, it’s unfair to hold minority parents
and students hostage in underperforming public schools. It’s conservatives who push for school vouchers,
which would allow all parents, not just wealthy ones, to choose their children’s school. It’s the other side that doesn’t trust
minority parents to select and appropriate school for their children. This is obviously true for wealthy parents
who can afford to send their children to any school they want, but it’s equally true
for middle class and poor parents when they have a choice. Okay wow, this is a poor family… and this
is a wealthy family? While it is technically possible, and props
to PragerU for trying to look progressive, but in the reality that most of us live in,
there’s a 70% chance that the family that sends their kids to a private school is white. In fact, 43% of all private schools in the
country are what they call “virtually all white.” PragerU is rather famous for coloring everyone
this rather neutral blue. So coloring them like this was a conscious
decision. But we’re not talking about private schools
right now, we’re talking about charter schools… and this claim that minority students do disproportionately
better… thankfully PragerU actually cited this one. This study measures success a little differently,
they tested students in charter and public schools at the beginning of the year and then
at the end of the year and calculated how many days of learning they gained or lost
compared to each other. They only did this in 41 urban areas, like
Las Vegas and New Orleans. According to this study, yes, some minority
students in charter schools did perform better on the year-end tests. Just for funsies, let’s take a look at the
break down. Black students gained 36 days of learning
in math, meaning that after a full school year, students in charter schools scored as
if they had 36 extra days of instruction, but still within a standard school year – they’re
getting more bang for their buck. They had a similar 26 days of extra learning
in reading. Hispanic students had similar gains of 22
days and 6 days, while Asian students gained 9 days of math and 0 days of reading. Which is great, I’m all for extra learning,
even if it doesn’t necessarily benefit everyone. White students on the other hand, lost 36
days of math and 14 days of reading, meaning that white students in charter schools do
significantly worse than their public school counterparts. Just to put that into perspective, 36 days
is seven weeks of lost instruction. I wonder what PragerU’s predominately white,
Republican viewership would think if after this sentence…
… minority and low income students benefit disproportionally more… They added that white students perform disproportionately
worse. This was PragerU’s source, I didn’t have
to go looking for this, they deliberately only talked about minority students in order
to show that school choice works. So enough of this, no more cherry picking
racial groups or comparing schools globally, let’s look at the data ourselves. The National Assessment of Educational Progress,
or NAEP, is a standardized test given to 4th, 8th, and 12th graders around the country every
other year. They have a handy data explorer where you
can look at the results yourself. I realize that many of you may have problems
with standardized tests, but we need some reliable measuring stick to compare schools
and this is the best one we have. It’s also what the PragerU studies use,
so it’s what I’m going to use. Here’s how you can look up the data yourself,
by selecting the subject, the grade, and then searching for the charter school variable. It creates a report which you can then use
to make charts. So, simple question, on average, nationwide,
are charter schools outperforming public schools? PragerU would have you believe that they are. But here are the 4th, 8th, and 12th grade
math scores for every year available. Here are the 4th, 8th, and 12th grade reading
scores for every year available. Not once have charter schools done better
than public schools, but in 2017 they finally tied in 4th grade reading. Is it reasonable to assume that eventually
charter schools will surpass public schools? Probably. But when PragerU tells you that they already
are – they’re lying. Not all charter schools are bad, in fact,
statistically, 17% of them do better than public schools and 46% of them perform about
the same. While the remaining 37% of them perform significantly
worse. Just to put that into perspective, if you
have a child in public school and you’re thinking of moving them to a charter, roll
a die and try to predict the number. The odds of you guessing correctly are the
odds of that school being better, about 1 in 6. Overall, nationwide, charter schools just
aren’t performing as well as public schools. Can you focus in on certain groups or states
to make the data say whatever you want? Sure, in fact let’s do that. Here’s 8th grade math in DC and Michigan…
and here are the reading scores. What the heck is going on in Michigan? Well, remember when I told you to remember
this? Depending on state law, these schools can
be started by parents, teachers, non-profit groups, corporations, or even government organizations. DC does not allow for-profit charter schools. Michigan on the other hand does, in fact 80%
of them are corporately-owned and run for-profit. Michigan is also the state Betsy DeVos is
from. So when our current Secretary of Education
pushes for school choice she’s pushing for the country to emulate the system she spearheaded
in Michigan. She even wants to take it a step further. Currently, nationwide, we spend about $10,000
per student per year in public schools, charter schools get about $7000, and private schools
have to charge tuition. Betsy DeVos wants to change that with School
Choice Vouchers, or SCVs…SCV Ready! No one actually abbreviates it I just wanted
to force that joke in. A school choice voucher would take that $10,000
of taxpayer money and attach it to the student, to go wherever they want. The money follows the student. Every child receives funding that their parents
can direct to the school of their choice – public, private, charter or even homeschool. Okay, we’re so not going to talk about homeschool. But private schools have been getting along
just fine with their tuition for centuries, they don’t need taxpayer money. This just seems to be a way to make rich schools
richer and poor schools poorer. Poorer? Is that a word? I dunno, I went to public school. There are also huge first amendment issues
with taxpayer funds going towards a religious private school… but let’s not get into
that. Teachers unions and other public school activists
argue that charter schools take money away from traditional public schools. Because they do. Since charter schools can’t grow the demand
for schools, this just means that both schools get less funding. And when you add profit into the mix, things
get even messier. A for-profit charter school will get $7000
per student, they might only spend $6000 of that and then pocket the rest. As you might have guessed, this system is
ripe for abuse. In fact, John Oliver did a segment a few years
ago talking about several of these abuse cases, where charter schools lied about attendance
or even their physical location to scam taxpayers. There are about 90,000 public schools in the
United States and only 7000 charter schools, for every three charter schools that open
in a year, two close. Whether for financial mismanagement, or low
enrollment, or low test scores. You might think this is just the free market
at work, but this isn’t a burger joint, if you have a bad burger, oh well, you’ll
have another meal in a few hours, you’ll get over it. But if you have a bad year in school, you’re
behind… maybe forever. Now, it’s not fair to only focus on the
failures of school choice. Even though they outnumber the successes two
to one. So if you’d like to see the other side of
this argument, head on over to CuriosityStream is a subscription streaming
service that offers over 2000 documentaries and nonfiction titles from some of the world’s
best filmmakers that you can access across multiple platforms. I specifically recommend the series School
Inc, which presents the pro school choice argument in perhaps the most honest way I’ve
seen yet. Networks of charter schools in Louisiana are
actually performing slightly worse than independent charters. He even cites a study that you are now quite
familiar with and can look up yourself. According to the researchers at Stanford,
charter schools in Louisiana are outperforming traditional public schools, and that’s particularly
noticeable in New Orleans. The difference isn’t enormous, but it’s
good news. You can get access to their entire library
for as little as 2.99 a month, but if you head over to
and use the promo code knowingbetter, you get your first month completely free, you’ll
also be supporting the channel when you do. Privatizing public services has rarely ever
worked out for the taxpayer, we’ve looked at prisons, infrastructure, emergency services,
and now schools, and the story is the same every time. But every time, we seem to think this will
be the one where it works. You can only benefit from competition when
you’re able to increase demand, which you’re not able to do for schools and I would hope
you wouldn’t want to do for prisons. Though they seemed to find a way. So the next time a politician tells you that
this time it’ll work, I promise, hopefully now, you’ll know better. I’d like to give a shout out to my newest
legendary patron, Daniel. If you’d like to add your name to this list
of for-profit entrepreneurs, head on over to Don’t forget to privatize that subscribe
button, follow me on Twitter and Facebook, and join us on the subreddit

Maurice Vega

100 Responses

  1. The cut around 15:04 was to remove half of the sentence that was pointed out to me as incorrect by one of the authors of the study. I'd rather have an awkward cut than a false statement in my video. Hope it wasn't too jarring – do check out the working paper yourself!

  2. Investigate the Organism called out to protect children…. CPS ….. a common moniker there are many titles….. and be aware to keep your mind …. ears….. eyes open….. and say to yourself…. over and over….. "well there must have been something or the child/children would not have been taken." and then look in the mirror…. and look at your face….. and then realize that YOU too were duped….. lulled….. and believed things that are not true….. such as parents/families have due process!! nope!!

  3. Regardless of what they are selling, a private corporations only goal is (always [always <always>]) to make a profit.

  4. Lets not forget that education provided in schools is very selective. Really important things are left out like home care, car care, cooking, financial shit. So much math and language arts, history. I'm not saying those things are not important, but they are focused on too heavily. I don't need to know how to solve a quadratic formula for my everyday life. Now "Is over of = % over 100", trying to figure out percentages, is important. Providing basic skill with critical and logical thinking would be much better time and money spent. Also teaching computer science and putting more emphasis on that makes much more sense considering every job requires you now to use computers efficiently. I think Science is important because if you look at our current administration and their right supporters they don't seem to believe a word of it. I would think that basic medical training would also be a great tool. Arts or better physical education. Current physical education at least at the schools i went to we had a weight lifting twice a week the rest was playing games, which led to cardio. They were just keeping us active then we were required a separate health class sitting on our asses with text books. How about require gym every year but include the health class in it. Learn how to keep yourself fit. Have a separate medical class. By the time students graduate high school they could be low level nurses. I'm going on a tangent. Sorry. My point is made.

  5. Your argument against the 95% wasn't great.
    You'd rather they color people? That's racist don't you know?

  6. Huh it sure sounds like if companies were employee owned and social programs were publicly funded things would be cheaper, social services would be better and the grind between companies "competing for success" would smooth out quickly. SEIZE THE MEANS!

  7. I went to a charter school for high school and I found out a few years after I graduated the principal and his family had all been fired as they were stealing millions of dollars from the school for home renovations and vacations. Senior year $3000 of our fundraising money mysterious went missing from his wife's office, I guess it's safe to assume where it went.

  8. Are these "cost cutting" schemes just a cynical play to manipulate sentiment and shift political power or do supporters, even politicians, actually BELIEVE it will work?

  9. This why we Liberal Progressives vote and fight back against corporate Democrats and Republicans! Vote BERNIE Sanders and Elizabeth Warren!

  10. So, if private companies do worse then government run, it is logically to assume that the Government should just nationalize all big corporations.

  11. There’s allot of problems with charter school. I was a student in a charter middle school in NYC. it was started by teachers in a neighborhood that I’m from. Allot of parents including mine sent us there because it built a reputation as a great school. New World Prep was a great school in my opinion. I learn allot more then I though I would and loved it. I ended up choosing to go to a public high school. I’m going to be a junior soon but I really have noticed that I hate it. I feel like I can’t learn in 9/10 of my classes. That 1/10 is because of a great teacher. My middle school placed a high importance of catching students up and then pushing them forward by having multiple teachers in a classroom and having many before school and after school programs/classes and even classes in lunch. So yeah I think charter schools can be great but many need to be ran better

  12. My personal experience in public school was a living nightmare. I do not remember large swaths of my childhood because of trauma from the public school system that was entirely caused by the management and administration of said schools. The only positive experiences I had as a child in elementary school was in two different charter schools. Charter schools don't so much offer "competition" in the traditional sense, but allow different approaches to education that are more suitable for different people rather than trying to force everyone to a federal standard and harshly punishing those who don't conform. The public school system punishes free thought, exceptionalism, and individualism at every single step and only serves to dehumanize the cattle they shuffle through their halls. I am infinitely thankful for the times I had in charter schools for saving me from the emotional and psychological abuse I was put through as a child, because my parents could never have been able to afford private school when I was a kid.

    Private prisons, however, need to be abolished immediately.

  13. Privatized prisons and charter schools are just two of the tools used by the dominant white Society to continue the slow genocide of black people. That's basically all this is about.

  14. "Only college bound kids take the SAT"

    Not necessarily. You usually take the SAT late in your Junior year or the summer before your Senior year, i.e. more than a year before you enroll in college. As late as 2 months before I was to start, I still thought I was going to the more expensive, more prestigious school I got into, as opposed to the safety school a mile away. I am sure that many kids think they're going to college 16 months before they actually would have, only to learn like me, that "we cant afford it". Thankfully I still went to the cheaper safety school.

  15. I would be a little careful with the proclamation that "charter schools will probably pass public schools" one day. One thing you need to pay closer attention to when comparing charters to public schools is the selection effect. The students that select into charter schools will necessarily differ from the students that stay in public school on a number of dimensions that are likely to correlate with educational success like parental involvement, student ambition and geography. Charter schools can also introduce policies that expel students for behavioral problems, educational problems or, really, no stated reason at all depending on the nature of the charter and laws within the state. So, you have an enormous selection effect coming and going. Public schools are, essentially, a backstop and while a kid might get expelled from a particular school, it isn't lawful to expel a kid from the system writ generally.

    Thus, it's extremely dubious to suggest a naive comparison of overall educational outcomes between charters and public schools demonstrates anything at all. However, the broad dynamics of the charter systems (and the fact that public schools are the default option) almost certainly means that a naive analysis is biased such that, even as it shows the charter system doing worse than the public system, it UNDER-reports the extent to which that is true.

  16. From my experience tutoring math in San Francisco, private schools, even more so than public schools, focus on brute memorization, which is antithetical to actually understanding math. Math should be about reasoning and critical thinking.

  17. Private prisons are terrible, because the customer (the person paying) is the government, not the prisoner.

    Private soldiers are more expensive per soldier, but they send many fewer soldiers thus are much more efficient.

    If something is privatized, but still payed for by the government and it's the government choosing which company gets the contract, it might as well not be private, since the government has little incentive to cut costs. So it's not even close to a free market after "privatization", because the transfer of money isn't voluntary. It's coerced.

  18. At least you didn’t waste time or mince words. It didn’t take you long to lie or demonstrate crucial problem in reasoning and logic.

    The definition of jailable offense has expanded and the punishments for those crimes have grown.
    Whose fault is it that? If only one could know. Blaming the obvious party is too obvious, isn't it? It must be a mystery of some kind. Therefore the real answer to this mystery is that the butler did it! Well, either that nonsensical answer, or the miraculously inept, and drowning in trillions dollars in debt – everyone's favorite savior – the government.

    But please, tell us more how the government should therefore take on more responsibilities and duties.

  19. @9:35
    Second burger joint opens up in a town and overall demand increases. However building the second school doesn’t increase the demand for learning.

    How does that math work out exactly? People get miraculously hungrier for food with more eating options, but stay at the same appetite for learning with more learning options?

    Is it maybe that the same number of people get to choose a better option for their hunger and learning needs with more options presented to them? It couldn’t be that. That would be far too logical. Damn mysteries everywhere. It must be a trick question of some kind hidden in there.

  20. For charter schools in Wisconsin, to start one is heavily regulated. You can only Charter if you are staring from a school district, church, or university. subsequently, with exception to pure privately funded churches, you must be overseen by the local governing body, usually the School Board governed by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

  21. "School Choice" in Wisconsin has helped to desegregate schools. Milwaukee in particular has some of the most segregated neighborhoods. Unfortunately, they have recently repealed school choice in the state in favor of a racially specific bill that may actually limit who can qualify. Since the days of the neighborhood school no longer matter in Wisconsin, charter schools are proving to be more desirable. So much so that some school districts are trying to segregate further in order to meet middle class social demands to pool all the "reject/burnouts" into remedial versions of public schools in order to save/keep money.

  22. I vote one tower structure centralized in the city with its own port authority. Some studies suggest suburbia has contributed to the spread of finite resources in education. To your point school populations are pretty stable in a school district and would benefit greatly from shared sources. Also increasing Paraeducator populations would help with classroom populations and instruction. team teaching works well too. there is a point to be said about organic growth that can sometimes be its own detriment.There are some schools in Europe, I believe Sweden, that are totally centralized and has proven far more effective in resource sharing. the more people who can benefit from a resource, the more cost effective it is. in Non-profits the bottom line matters too. And Common Core Standards are teacher standards created by teachers to solve some of the problems caused by NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND. I worked both charter and Public schools and have definitely seen a difference, especially with the disparagement of inner city versus the suburbs.

  23. 9:30 – Fundamental misunderstanding of economics. Opening a second burger joint does not increase demand. The second burger joint looks at the market and determines that there is enough excess demand in the market to support an additional burger joint. That, or the new burger joint believes that they can deliver better value to the customers than the current burger joint. 

    It is not the two burger joints that benefit from competition, but the customers. If one burger joint has lower quality food or higher prices, the customer now has the option to go to the second burger joint where their needs will be served better. In order to retain their customers, the original burger joint must now improve their product to earn continued revenues. If they don't adapt, they will die off and a new burger joint that can bring better value to customers will take its place.

    This misinterpretation of economics causes him to argue past the actual position for school choice. Market competition over scarce resources is the driver of innovation. Public schools have been largely insulated from competition so there is no real incentive for them to provide more value for the kids they educate. Introducing competition would force schools to provide more value to their students. Otherwise, the parents could choose to take their kids to a different school that can meet their needs.

  24. "if you open a second burger place overall demand for burgers goes up" this is at worst absolutely wrong and at best a hotly debated topic that depends fiercely on where these burger joints are. Maybe Know Better should know economics a bit better.

    TLDR: Opening a 2nd burger joint in small town no where and opening a 2nd burger joint in New York City are not the same thing.

  25. This is a highly ignorant video.
    When you have a government supporting a network of private entities it is not "privatization," just a for-profit public system. Privatization means introducing competition and private law into the mix, meaning people can choose which services are superior to the rest.

  26. Unless the public service that private business is supposed to fix is A: hopelessly lacking in any kind of motivation to improve (which is not the case), AND, B: is SO bad at what it does that the private motivation of profit will somehow still offset it's failures (which may be the case) then, the suppositions that privatization will somehow help 'lower costs, improve efficiency and, improve quality' are, obviously, mutually exclusive.

    Granted, some public institutions ARE that bad… (So, fix 'em, eh?)

    But privatization is almost gauranteed to be worse- because private companies need to PROFIT- and it should be obvious that adding a cost (profit) that is the primary motivation for the existence of such won't help lower costs, let alone improve anything, especially since the competition that really does make the free make free markets work (very well, in most cases) simply doesn't exist in/for public services- like fire departments, police, education, prisons, etc. (Though, it DOES work for things like building infrastructure, insurance, pensions funds, etc).

    There is a REASON that public institutions have existed and have been found to be necessary for basically all of history- because the private sector simply does a terrible at such! (Always has and always will!)

    Bottom line?
    You get what you pay for. Trying to pay less will get one less. Welcome to Econ 101.

    Edit: i wrote this comment re: profit, before the host brought up the same points. But, I agree.

  27. Thanks for calling out Prager U (see how they use the 'u' to make it sound like they are a university?!)…

    I'm reminded of something that Mark Twain said: "there are three types of lies (Prager U, I'm looking at u)… Lies, damn lies, and statistics."

    Also- 'a statistician is someone that will tell you that, if you have one foot in a fire and another in a bucket of ice, on avarage, you're comfortable'. (I don't recall who said that, but Prager U was clearly listening to them!)


  28. My dad is a longtime public school teacher, and a member of two teachers unions, and my mom is also an educator that teaches in schools all around my area, public private and charter. The school my dad teaches at, was once at risk of being shut down or chartered 15-20 years ago when he first started. But it got turned around with new administration and is now one of the top public schools in the city. I just really don’t think it’s fair for charter schools to just pop out of nowhere and start taking away funding that could be used to better public schools who are mostly just trying their best to stay open and educate children. Especially since on the inside, charter schools are often worse environments for students than public schools and mostly just rely on their carefully sculpted outward image to gain praise. When I finished pre-k, my parents could’ve easily sent me to the charter school down the street. But they chose public, and I’m so glad they did. People in power like Betsy DeVos don’t actually care about kids or teachers. Just testing and money. And neither of those things should be what school is about

  29. I have experience with private, public, and charter schools at different points in my life. I went to a college prep charter high school where my graduating class had 70 students and the education I got was phenomenal. The teachers were strict and we learned at a really fast pace but it meant we studied more than kids at public school could have in double that time, even though we followed many common core guidelines unfortunately. Despite how great my experience was compared to public or private I dont think charter schools are always the best option. My principal showed a list of all the students that started highschool with me and how many had dropped out. It was a ten page list of kids who either didnt want to or weren't able to succeed at charter. It's a great education for those who have a good support system and a love for school but specifically, only, for that group of people. Anyone who struggled to keep up ended up transferring into public school with an irredeemable GPA and feeling like an absolute failure. Dont think charter schools do well just because we work harder, remember that the people who succeed there arent the majority because the majority drop out and it ruins their self image and potential for college

  30. Charter Schools being "private" can exclude students who's needs are deemed either to "costly" or academically behind since it effects the bottom line but it gets worse. Public Schools can't deny a child a K-12 education by law however Charter Schools do it all the time and the common excuse was that parents applied to late. They often take over existing Public Schools deemed to be underperforming and its students are the district not theirs to place even if they lived within a few blocks of it before the hand over. Common Core's a fraud because it's "new" math etc. is actually copyrighted material and it prevents anyone but the company behind it who has a monopoly on all of Canada's Text Books to use it. Indeed it can legally prevent anyone from printing a rival version or guides to its garbage since it violates its intellectual material and it was planned that way from the start. School districts biggest obstacles are they are confined to the tax base in which they exist and it's why often poorer ones are hamstrung to even hire or buy the same resources even if it's within the same city/county. If the state collected the taxes that fund its Public Schools and then divide them equally between all its districts many would repair, update, and have competitive pay for teachers instead of just the rich ones who still get state/federal dollars even if it's not needed.

  31. school is jail for kids in my opinion Half the things or everything you learn that you’re most likely not going to use in your life

  32. A very relevant book closely related to this subject. Get audible to quickly get through a pedantic book.
    An American Genocide: The United States and the California Indian Catastrophe, 1846-1873

  33. This is a generalization. If you need it government. If you want it privatization. But the personal family comes first.

  34. Having attended a private vocational school I will state that I was not impressed. I would shut down that school if I could. I would also get rid of Prager U. Seriously YouTube stop sending me their disgusting ads. Along with those ads about defending discrimination as religious rights.

  35. Private prisons today are incentivized to keep their prisons full because they are rewarded by the government to do such, so it's actually some hybridization between private and public where the private is allowed to max out their expenses because the government would pay them, anyway, it's like a money making machine!
    Maybe what public services need is actually removing this public funding from private institutions, you know the student loan issue? that's exactly this: the government guarantees money for a private school by loaning the student, so the schools can max out their budget (often to useless garbage that just looks good) which then forces a greater debt on the student. (of course with careful planning even a middle-low income student can save enough to pay back the loan in a timely manner, but it's still a problem).
    A private school has to be privately owned and privately funded but it would still require scrutiny from the government (with them paying the inspector) to make sure they still work under government regulations (as example, if the gov says you can't let your religion influence the school subjects and you can't force a mandatory hour of religious education, then you shall not do it. Succeeding in following trough only means you're allowed to keep your business open, failure means the correction trough monetary sanctions or even the forced closure of the business with incarceration)

  36. Only thing I would say was on the footnote "SAT/ACT is only given to college-bound students. Some states actually elect for all students in 11th grade to take ACT and use it as a standardized test instead of using the NAEP. I have been a public school teacher in Colorado for over ten years, and in each Colorado has elected the ACT over the NAEP.

  37. In sweden the last 20 years this kind of privatisation of all public services and public owned enterprises have gone rampant, now they even privatized the postal system, which of course results in a total mess, most healthcare except for big hospitals even though publicly funded are run by private and for profit contractors, a lot of this privatization has happened when social democratic party was in power, doing things that the liberals and conservatives always wanted but would never get away with…except for the socialist left party (v) and the nationalist conservative (SD) party there are really only a buch of parties that all agree on modern liberalism and privatizing all public resources, there are no social democrats in the social democratic party anymore except at local level…

  38. most of these are not private, they're government contracted. their problems come from government's inability and lack of incentives to choose the best service or use discretion. if these services were put directly at the discretion of consumers and other private entities, you would not have this issue.

  39. In UK the 'Business' Previously called the 'Democratic' Government can't even Operate it's own National Lottery which of course pitches the 'Narrative of Public Acceptance' presumably that they can't Run anything even slightly more 'Complicated'?
    A Media that 'Pitches' a 'Members' of the PUBLIC 'Idiots R Us ' Acceptance constant Theme?

    They are using Racist 'Global' 'Faces from Elsewhere' Program to not invest in the 'Undeveloped' area/s of the Planet & using J'Accuse' against 'Worthless Originals' who were Mass themed as Greedy & Selfish as needing a much needed Globalized 'In House' Make-over to get Giff-Gaff timbuktu Pensions Extrication as an acceptance Narrative?

    British Rail was sold off to Slap Mass Housing & supermarkets & Petrol station all over the UK….whoever owned Network Rail was Minted presumably?
    E Money & mass Migration NOW in time is surely an no questions asked way to get rid of Humanity?
    Slaves at the Moment & in the near Future are in Debt Students.
    Data & Higher Education cultivates it's Media/Politics Global Public Relation Shield, Historically & 'Spiritually' for Intellectuals (snobs who can never be Critiqued unless by one another?)
    How Educated is that.

    Thanks for your Video's.
    Apologies for my Guff.

  40. 8:20 the lack of good public transportation in the us has less to do with privatization and more to do with urban sprawl in most major American cities

  41. The U.S school systems are broken because public schools revenue is mostly from property taxes which leads to education inequality.

  42. in general private business model is: the most amount of profit, with the least amound of effort.
    which is something I don´t really want with life critical institutions.

  43. Adding more of a product or service, does not increase the demand for that service. It only gives you another option GIVEN you want either

  44. I disagree. In my country, it is only in private institutions where you could get actual useful education. The government is always a corrupt and money grubbing institution. In such schools, the teachers and administration is not accountable to the parents. Private education allows for freedom of choice and delivers the best results.

  45. By this definition, what is a public service? Health care? Transportation? Food? Don't all industries have some cap on demand, realized or not?

  46. Wow. Prager U talking about how choice makes things better, yet they still chose to go with that blonde woman's shitty delivery.

  47. Well I went to the 1 in 6 charters when I was in high school. Not to say he’s wrong about the others but I think charters are still very useful. Mine was great

  48. Love the comparison between prison and public school. The really have so much in common when you think about it!

  49. The problem is anything that is paid for by the government becomes very expensive public or private. Where i live 40% of the school budget goes to administration and 60% of the administrators are not in any school. I dont think we should have any administration above the level of principle , most of the administration is just code for politicians dictating what should be taught. Yes i mean all administration from the school bard to the federal department of education , just think how much we could pay the teachers if we didn't have so many bosses .

  50. You skipped over that 4 vice principals point way too fast! The problem with public school spending is entirely the growth of administration. They increase the cost drastically and add nothing to your child's education.

    Also, the analogy of bridges, toll roads and private prisons isn't analogous to the voucher program as this simply enables parents to have more power over where there kids go to school. Why shouldn't working class parents and kids have at least some chance to attend the same private schools the kids of our elected officials go to?

  51. I think that essential sectors should not be privatised. The reason beimg as that in those sectors, there can often be limited choice (you can't choose which prison to go to or from which hospital your ambulance should be) and there is no choice on whether the service in general is used or not so it's not controlled by the market so the companies have a lot more freedom in what they can get away with.

  52. I was educated in Canada, meeting Americans more or less makes me agree that your education system is broken. Don't get me wrong, many of you are perfectly fine, but honestly Americans have been the most likely to surprise me with ignorance over the years by far.

  53. I'm not an American. I watch PragerU and sometimes support their arguments. Call me ignorant, but I didn't know that charter school is publicly funded but privately run. I think privatization is good for many things, but only when private enterprise use their own money. And this supposed to be the Conservative stance, right?

    I myself am a teacher in a religious private boarding school. My school actually refuse to take money from the government because government aids always come with strings attached.

  54. At Bagram, in Iraq all KP ,all food service jobs were contracted out.Next in line was plane fueling. My public school education by the LA Unified School District and then public and private schooling worked out well for me and many others from by era (I am 65). My feeling is that today's public school education recipient is not putting enough effort into the process.

  55. I like videos like this I’m more likely to change my point of view if it can be explained with facts their point of view than if they try more to make fun or politicians and make outrages claims

  56. How does one make this video and, REGARDLESS of where he falls on the issue (clearly a fan of progressivism some could maybe venture to guess that he’s slightly tilted towards Scandinavian model Socialism. To each his own and no disrespect)… How though; did you manage to steer clear of a few MAJOR parts of the equation. For starters, the burdens that taxpayers are experiencing in municipalities, towns, and cities, as the cost of meeting the demands of teachers unions goes up and up and up with steady increases despite their stagnant growth and their unimpressive student GPA’s as well as unimpressive standardized testing scores. I’ll even allow you to throw out the standardized tests as we often get the straw man of the union as it uses the average mediocrity of unimpressive students as their meat shields when exhausted and outraged parents and citizens now sacrificing their services for the vacuum of the cost of retiring a tenured teacher who is not only too comfortable to change and meet a greater demand of a more fast pace and technological social order but, too arrogant to even care that he/she is completely obsolete as her students can learn more watching your videos than they can getting her mailed in lesson plan which consists of calling on a skylarking daydreamer like I was and, since I wasn’t paying attention to her shit lesson, I get to swallow my embarrassment for being put on the spot despite not being any disturbance and often getting an A or B without any of her “help”.

    There are so many average kids capable of learning but, deprived and damned to their mediocrity by the ridiculous notion that they ought to attend college or university which disenchants so so many when they get there and they graduate with their degree in accounting that qualifies them for $20/hour at Jackson Hewitt. In NYC you can get $15/hour for the most basic of service jobs and, you can dress up like SpiderMan in Times Square and shake down teachers and soccer moms for $80K/yr working 4 hours a day if you’re real good.

    There’s a lot of hyperbole in the last statement but, what about vocational schools? Can we not teach trades to our kids? What about entrepreneurial curriculum? What about true Home Economics and how to time the markets and yield maximum interest or buy/sell a home, day trade on Wall Street? How about just a basic way to start an account at your local bank. Should you start a checking account, savings account, money market account, or a 4 year CD? What are first time home buyer rates at the given bank? Instead, it’s usually a bunch of cliques baking brownies and girls gossiping as guys fuck off and get their B+ for not being abrasive.

    None of this occurs in the tired and antiquated public school model. This Mann School system of the early 19tj century Prussian example is about as successful of Prussia itself. It had its Bismarckian period and heyday I suppose… maybe but, the inner city schools are just a place to put mainly unwanted kids for 6 hours where the high schoolers and some middle schoolers will end up getting pregnant, their male counterparts are often truant, delinquent or in a fledgling criminal career selling drugs that ought not be illegal at all in a better system but, since these gladiator camps are void of love and care, they make better boot camps for slinging crack and dope. The scourge of the opioids are all over these schools regardless of race but, destroying the white youth with alarming speed.

    I’m drifting here. My point was that the old public system is old and in the way. The very best it was giving us was somewhere between 14-17 worldwide in the greatest economic powerhouse country ever with unparalleled wealth as a nation. Despite the largest share of town or city taxes by well over half the entire pie, goes to the teachers salaries and retirements. The abject failure of city schools can’t be met by a large and rapidly growing portion of illegal or undocumented kids call them DREAMERS that’s fine. I’m honestly 100% for any of them who try hard and can prove they try hard. The ones who don’t though… they’re far more in number. They’re the living nightmare in the city schools. They’re violent many times. They get into gangs. They obstruct education without any accountability at all. Then the schools piss all over their own faces when tested and, scathing political assessments are handed down and a super intendant minority/diversity hire then gets reprimanded or sent packing for another of another gender, color, or transtrender …Whatever. They then give a mission statement about reform that always mentions that it will take help not just from students, teachers, staff, administrators, and legislators but… help from everyone pulling together.

    The following quarter my property taxes go up 2.5% for the city schools despite my family living out in the rural areas of the same county but, entirely different town, with our own tax payer issues and crooked leaders in league with party of their constituency. In league with teachers union reps over the left alone with not a single representative.

    This ended up a somewhat tangential rant… I know but, I do raise counter points to your taciturn advocacy in favor of progressive systemic education that is a taxpayer burden of poor quality and poor performance in need of massive changes or a complete concession.

    You can’t rest on the laurels that the school system is admittedly very flawed, mired in its mediocrity but, worth sticking with as corruption advances upon the carcass its dead body has left for the buzzards and bugs – as an upstart idea has parity in many cases with the failed idea and a potential for a higher trajectory once settled and better understood. You say it’s akin to the 1:6 chance in a cast of the die but, it’s a bit more like craps in reality and, at this early on point in the venture, just don’t 7 out and, everyone at the table except the rigged house is happy and better off.

    Good topic. Well presented. Despite my sleepy eyes trying to type a transcription of my arguments to your well articulated positions…

    The debate carries merit on both sides of the issue but, I’ve got to say that I’d rather be moving slightly forward looking to gain a better edge than stand still thinking that this is all going to be here forever. The old way is the past and it’s time to try a new way.

  57. That last chart says charter vs non-charter, so this could be public + private schools. If so then it is cherry picked and manipulated data to make charter schools look bad. If it truly is charter vs public it should say so

  58. So here my problem. I went to a charter school for almost my entire educational career and while there are certainly problems I think there are some things I feel should be stated.

    One most charter school laws vary among states so comparisons using the whole country might not be entirely fair. If ur saying the free market will take the wheel sure, but examining the restrictions and methods used in individual states is probably a better method. I don’t think ur trying to be an attack dog as I have seen others have but I can tell u certain states have much better records in this regard.

    I also think the statement about the 10,000 dollars is very misleading. My education was done on 3,000 dollars less than my public school counterparts as u have stated. But saying that the school lost 7,000 dollars becuase I wasn’t going there is deceptive as the money was intended for use in educating me. Saying that mass education allows for better funding is also assumes the funding is used responsibly for the individual it is intended for.

    Smaller class sizes ultimately made my experience much more intimate and enjoyable. I actually knew almost every teacher and was able to comfortably get help. Same with the large majority of kids. Charter schools can allow for students to get a much more driven and less crowded high school experience. Not to mention that School’s that can take from multiple areas. In the northeast by virtue of various historical and legal School’s are virtually segregated. But charters can allow for essentially free market bussing and create a multicultural environment.

    One of the other problems I think that is often forgot is that their is flat out harassment and attempts to silence charters in some areas. My school was not designated as a school zone despite having 1,200 people until my late years and even is still ignored and never enforced. The town refused to let them put in more sidewalk or a crosswalk. My school had to remove our crossing guard after they got hit becuase they allow people to go 60 in front of my old school. They saddled my school with purchases such as a security guard who never showed up in my entire k-12 career and just got overtime taken directly out of the School’s pocket. These are just a few examples. Two major things caused this in my town fear mongering by the teachers union and while there is no direct evidence that this affected my school( I mean to say that it affected decision making it definitely affected some of the residents) racism. However those two issues are conversations on thier own.

    With regard to what I said above many schools are underfunded and while some states have some pretty wack charter school regulations like Ohio, there are some really good ones. Some of the benefits are a more multicultural experience, closer connections, in my schools case full day kindergarten for free, and strong k-12 language.

    I acknowledged there are some problems. Heck everybody at my school has some horror story ( however the same could be said for public school and I live in one of the best regions for public schooling). For example, many of my schools hires for teachers are fresh out of college as due to certain rules they are allowed to work while the get thier masters. This has lead to having some teachers who were not really qualified or prepared to teach some courses. However, the reverse is also true my school has hire some phenomenal people who they probably would not have gotten otherwise.

  59. Dude, I can see the point for most of this, but toll roads are the fuckin bomb. I-435 has been under construction since I was born and it's still a pot-holed mess. The I-70 turnpike in Kansas always looks wonderful and I've literally never seen it under construction. Maybe trash has an efficiency problem, but not turnpikes. I pay for my K-Tag happily.

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