Sunday, May 07, 2006

Silly parents, don't you realize we know better?

At Wired News we have another example of what happens when customers are thought of a recipients of a public service. New York City parents overwhelmingly want their kids to be able to take cell phones to school for reasons of convenience and, primarily, safety. But the mayor and school officials are responding with an categorical "no." Cell phones would be too much a distraction, they say, and we can't have the little monsters taking phone-camera pictures of each other in locker room.

A customer base almost has universally proclaimed to a service provider, "We want a service that is like X." In any consumer-based, competitive industry their demands would have immediately been satisfied, or the service provider would have gone out of business as their client base is drawn off my more amenable companies. But in the nanny-state, tin-eared, bureaucratic world of public service, a universal demand is met by a smug "Sorry, we know better."


At 4:25 PM, Blogger Davefordemocracy said...

Are you actually advocating cell phones in schools?

What if there were a county somewhere where the majority of parents wanted guns in school for "safety"??

What a brilliant argument to keep public schools free of corporate interference.

At 12:34 PM, Blogger Windypundit said...

Are you actually advocating cell phones in schools?

That certainly seems to be what the parents want.

Actually, I'm pretty sure what parents really want is for their kids have cell phones on the way to and from school.

Technology has provided an incredible improvement in child safety: Children now have a way to get in touch with their parents, the police, or anyone else from whom they need assistance. They can do this immediately, and from anywhere in the city.

But the folks running the school system are taking all that away from them because it makes their jobs a little harder.

At 6:43 PM, Blogger Daniel said...


I feel pretty confident in the self-evidence of cell phones and guns being quite different.

There are men who want to have boyfriends because it makes them happy. Some states think they know better, so they don't allow it. By your reasoning, the states could argue, "what if they wanted to wave guns around in public, because it makes them 'happy'. We obviously can't have the latter, so we are justified in restricting the former".

At 4:58 PM, Blogger Davefordemocracy said...

Actually, there are some states where people can wave their guns around in public. You're right that there is a difference between guns and cell phones, but my scenario is not outside the realm of the possible in this country.

Regardless, windypundit makes a great point that it's too and from school where cell phones can make children safer. I doubt many schools have rules prohibiting cell phones that are in school bags, turned off during school hours.

It's the text messaging in class, and the punk rock ringtones while the teacher is teaching that disrupts education.

Teachers, principals, and administrators are trained in education. Most have master's degrees in the subject. So yes. They do know more than parents about how to teach a class and run a school.

Show me a study that says that cell phones in use during school hours makes anyone safer and I might think about siding with these crackhead parents.

You never answered the question:

'What if there were a county somewhere where the majority of parents wanted guns in school for "safety"??'

At 10:49 AM, Blogger Daniel said...

Your "guns in school" scenario may not be outside of the realm of possibility in this country. But it's outside the realm of relevance in this matter. A teacher has a right to his own bodily safety. A cell phone does not threaten that right. A gun does.

You know my extremely low opinion of the institutional schools of education in this country, so invoking the holy master's degree will not get far with me.

And a stock broker knows more about the stock market than I do. But he serves at my pleasure, and if I want him to buy Google shares for me, then he better damn well buy Google.

"Crackhead parents!?" These children are THEIR children. They love them, agonize over their happiness and success, and know them inside and out. The fact that we even have to talk about whether to "side" with them or with bureaucrats over decision regarding THEIR children is apalling.


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