Paternalism is the hallmark of Progressive reform movements — including school reform — writes Mike Petrilli on Education Gadfly. “Whether it’s Temperance and Prohibition or the effort to shutter popular but ineffective public schools . . . members of an ‘enlightened elite’ believe that they must act to create and enforce rules that will be good for the huddled masses.”
Petty Little Dictator Disorder and paternalism
From Jay Greene’s Blog
Petrilli often favors paternalistic policies, risking what Jay Greene calls Petty Little Dictator Disorder.
For example, he thinks the Bloomberg-Giuliani approach to crime fighting, which includes the aggressive use of stop, question and frisk, has helped make New York the safest city in America. Low-income, minority New Yorkers benefit the most, because they’re far more likely to be crime victims.
But they’re also the most likely to be stopped, questioned and frisked, paying what Ta-Nehisi Coates calls a “racist public-safety tax.” Perhaps minority communities should get to decide whether paying this tax is worth the benefit, Petrilli suggests.
Education reformers want to close underperforming schools, even if they are popular with parents.”There’s a case to be made” that people in the community should “decide whether the tradeoffs are worth it,” he writes. But “I still don’t quite buy it.”
. . . because education is not just a “private good”—all of our welfare depends on an educated populace—isn’t it appropriate for the public to demand that schools meet certain standards, especially when taxpayer dollars are involved? Isn’t leaving it to the affected “community” just a recipe for inaction and further academic decline?
So he’s a Progressive paternalist — with qualms about dismissing the “will of the people.”
Step away from the simile, responds Sara Mead.