Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Slashing public education can provide UBI funding and better education

Basic income of $15k per year for adults allows our society to eliminate poverty, eliminate the cost of government programs that are designed to fight poverty including old age and disability payments up to $15k per person, and because tax payers also get $15k cash, even if tax rates are increased substantially to pay for basic income, 98%+ of individual tax payers would have a net tax cut as a result of UBI.

This paper focuses on education reform as a way to increase funding for UBI, and then also, because education touches on all levels of government funding, the topic of avoiding the massive imminent US municipality bankruptcies is also solvable through UBI.  Its related to education reform in that it allows buys in from education related unions.

A war on teachers?
While replacing public education with a cash dividend to parents seems like an attack on teachers and education, I've shown that we can reduce class sizes and have 2 teachers per class for less cost than our current system, and potentially much higher pay for teachers.  So it is actually a plan for large scale education job creation for those outside of the school board bureaucracy.

I mention this near the top because of most people's reactionary desire to protect empires that they do not even profit from.

The cost of US education
All figures come from this US government document
The US spent $10500 per pre-college pupil in 2009.  NY state as over $18k.  Washington DC is calculated at over $29k (though the linked document under reports that).

Replacing education funding with giving a cash grant of $8k per 60M potential pupils (to their parents) would save $125B in government costs.  Parents would then spend whatever they want on the education they want for their child.

There doesn't have to be anything wrong with how education is provided for this proposal to make sense.   We all love education, but that love gets abused into "we must love education at any price", and a political ploy to get more votes is to increase education funding.  We necessarily better receive the education that we want if we are paying directly for it, and we have that power and can afford to pay for it because of UBI.

Parents will continue to buy education with UBI because its obvious:  One of the findings of the Dauphin, Manitoba minincome experiment was negative dropout rates.  Students who had previously dropped out reenrolling, and few if any new dropouts.  Once you remove financial stress from a family, tremendous improvements in child outcomes materialize.

Private education business models
If a teacher paid $24000 in rent for a facility that can act as a classroom for about 8 months (excluding holidays) of weekday day time use, that is $3000/month of revenue for the classroom holder for which they provide cleaning and maintenance services.

If a teacher charged students $5k/year and had 15 students, he would have a net profit of $51k/year while still having summers and Christmas/spring break off.  The teacher can make more by having more students or a higher rate per student.  Teaching is also suitable to part time work if that is what the teacher's preference is.

If an administrator can provide a sales function testifying how great the teachers he represents are, and then closing the parents to hand over payment then he provides great assistance and relief of non-teaching functions to teachers.  They could take $1k/student/year in fees for this service (the parent is charged $6k so far)

If a teacher's assistant who specializes in simply being good with kids, being aware of social goals for age/grade appropriate learning levels, then that assistant can essentially be assigned as a constant to students, and the assistant works with instructors on what curriculum to focus on, then with 25 students per class, part time instuctors whose skills just need to be specialist field knowledge and good communication, then the "teaching assistant" and instructor can split $101k per year after rent is paid.

2 mentors per class at 25 students reduces the teacher student ratio compared to 15 class size.  It prevents potential accusations of abuse or abuse by providing an adult witness.  It allows classes to proceed if one of the teachers has a personal emergency/absense.  It provides different styles that might better relate to individual students.  It provides co-supervision where parents or authorities can ask one adult about the other.

If a dual teacher's assistant model is adopted, parents might be willing to pay an extra $500 for the benefit.  Each extra $500/pupil allows for $12500 to be split among the teachers.  These earnings are in addition to the $15k UBI every adult citizen receives.

As a parent in this model and $6500 education costs.  You save $4000, and have $1500 left over to spend as you wish.  Your kids will volunteer ideas if you lack any.  As a non-parent, you save $2500 per year.  Where savings are defined as costs the government doesn't pay and so doesn't need to take from you.

State and Municipality business models
With public spending reduced by $125B, states and municipalities get their share of those savings.  But part of the above private business model included having a landlord paid $3000 per classroom per month, and the owners of current schools (governments) should see opportunity in being that landlord.  They provide a place to run around and play, gymnasiums, student supplies storage, intraclass socialization, and so provide good value at $3000 per month, even if private home classrooms could be offered at a lower price.

With 60M students at a current average 30 students per class, this would be an additional $48B/year in revenue for school owners (before evening and weekend rental revenue), and so total $175B savings for public coffers, or over $1000 of UBI funding per citizen.

The simultaneously most distopian and most utopian possible statistic

Spending $29,400 per student in a society would be a sign of incredible wealth.  Under the above private model I can imagine 6-8 pupil class sizes with 2 instructors.  Several computers of varying portability per student, Celebrity inspirational guest speakers.  Field trips to distant nature and museums, and I haven't run out of money to spend, but lack ideas to spend them on.  Fantastic educational experiences and outcomes are imaginable from such high spending.

The above does not describe Washington D.C.'s public education system which does spend $29.4k per student.  They produce a 30%-50% literacy rate among exiting students, and 50%-66% graduation rate., with poor (under 3%) college readiness.

The truly distopian unmasking of these statistics is that if you accept that the US has an oppressive racist school to prison and murder pipeline, and whether or not this is intentionally oppressive systemically imposed poverty, it doesn't improve educational outcomes no matter how much is spent on education, and so makes the cradle to prison pipeline just more expensive.

The costs of poverty are both substantial in direct programs that, with considerable futility, aim to bandaid poverty, and directly and indirectly dealing with the consequences and prosecution of crime.  America's love for systemic oppression that includes employer funded healthcare and massive student loans creates a moral flexibility in a desperate workforce that leads to greed, death, theft and fraud.

While sensible people can understand that is worth a high price to not live in such a distopia, it seems to me, as though all politician led proposals to throw money at the problem are idiotic hopeless and potentially intentionally so, as they all increase the environment of oppression and/or dependence on the salvation from oppression of conditional benefits.  UBI solves these issues directly and immediately by providing the means to people to improve their own lives.

Can black people be trusted to spend the right amount on education?
Many people fear that many other people cannot be trusted with money.  If you are one of those people you will retain your right to criticize other people's choices and apparent lack of concern for their children.  In truth, poverty and desperation is what makes for disapprovable choices.  White people will eat other white people if stuck on a Chilean mountain.  UBI in general cures poverty by providing socialized financial support that is not dependent upon staying poor for eligibility.

Deinstitutionalizing education is meant to create improvements for all, including the disadvantaged.  Everyone, though, benefits by customizing education programs to their needs.  In the case of municipalities with a high concentration of disadvantaged families, paying $8k per student instead of $30k per student can create budgetary room to improve the lives of those families.

There is an optional extra educational service layer that could consume the extra $1500 that parents might be able to pocket after paying for the previously described education programs.  The layer would act as a consumer union negotiating prices and services, would provide needs assessment for children so as to direct them to specialist teachers and programs, possibly acting as a mutualization agent for special program costs (You hope your child doesn't need an extra $3000-$6000 in remedial education programs, but if he does, it is paid for by the mutualization surplus created by those parents who don't need the supplemental services).  This agency (can be private competing with public alternative) would offer to make all the decisions regarding your children that school boards currently do.  The agencies might develop curriculum, ensure that programs supporting patriotism and religion are core indoctrination programming, and provide everyone who wants the freedom from any decision making the opportunity to live life as they always have.  There is also a possibility (not one I encourage) of forcing those parents deemed unfit to join such an agency to make education decisions for their children using their cash dividend paid on behalf of their child.

The Pension System
A promised pension is the maximum possible amount that you can receive from that promise.  The actual amount you will receive depends on bankruptcy and how much money is in the pension fund, and how much is taken out of the pension fund to pay for other areas of bankruptcy.

There is a large impending set of bankruptcies set to affect major US cities much as Detroit's slow process is unfolding.  If you are a young worker for a city that is insolvent and soon to be bankrupt, then every day in the last 15 years that your city did not resolve (become) bankruptcy is a day that you were stolen from.  It is a day that you made pension contributions, a day that existing pensioners were paid, and a day that the pension balance and city finances went further down.  Those that stole from you are specifically the pensioners that were paid for days that you won't be.

The reason that it is theft is that when your city's bankruptcy is finally resolved, the amount that your pension will be adjusted down is much higher the later this date happens, and the more drastic the underfunding.  If you pay in for 40 years, receive nothing, and your future pensionable earnings are adjusted to 10% of what you were promised, then you have lost far more than if you paid for 5 years, and your future pension is adjusted to 90% of what you were promised.

In the Detroit bankruptcy, a plea that seemed to resonate was "Don't cut benefits to current retirees... just future ones".  The logic behind this is that the old are more deserving of the same promise being kept for them if they are more dependent and desperate upon the promise.being true.  This is unfair for the same reason that stealing from those who can afford to eat after you have stolen from them would be wrong too.

Basic income as a solution to municipal pension shortfalls
Basic income/social dividends are a new government administered entitlement.  Anyone with a promised government entitlement does not lose anything if that entitlement (or a portion thereof if it is higher than UBI) is replaced (rather than supplemented) with UBI.  Someone else might gain more than you if they were not previously entitled to anything, but you thinking that is unfair is simple jealousy.

Basic income can be paid by all 3 levels of government, and 15k can be a national (total) average.  The financial mechanism that would be used to transfer municipal pensions to UBI payment system is that the pension fund would be transferred to the UBI provider along with the pay-in obligations of existing government workers.

The benefit to existing and retired workers is that they will be paid what they were promised under the conditions they were promised them.  The not so politically pleasing catch for those workers is that they will be paying more into UBI than non government workers, but they of course have the freedom to go work elsewhere, which may please other tax payers.

Education and other unionized government worker buy ins
The one inefficiency that I will mention exists with our institutionalized education system is that the business of education has more to do, or at least too much to do, with making sure that teachers are performing either in averages or thresholds than in individual children learning.  This seems important and necessary considering that parents are forced to submit to whatever services are provided, and so measurement provides accountability because we can't let these parents down.

There is a significant portion of the education budget that is spent ensuring teachers are meeting board standards which would not be voluntarily paid for if parents had a choice in education services, and can change their choices when their own standards are not met.

Reducing total education spending does mean that some people would lose income.  Teachers would not be in this category.  Education salespeople wouldn't either (they have potential to earn much more given enough sweet talk of paying parents)

As a "package deal" for education and other government workers, UBI pays them 15k too, trutifies the pension lies they were promised, all without the obligation of any future work, and thus the freedom to do anything else.

Further incentives to reduce government jobs may be necessary for UBI acceptance.  These would take the form of severance packages, but even then provide significant social improvement and cost savings while still creating the income distribution society needs to function effectively.

Higher education and certificate objectives
UBI has been commonly understood to facilitate higher education.  $15k for young adults would be enough to afford studying full time and paying living expenses in most countries.  It would significantly decrease the need for student loans, and thus should lower tuition.  The private model for pre-college education described above would also work for college.  If instructors are paid more, but are teaching 300 class size auditoriums, then the cost to students could be very low.

The value of education certificates, though steeped in wizardry, is important to all stakeholders.  Its actually the only transactional benefit involved for students.  Education would be much cheaper still if independent certificate authorities collected fees for test taking, and had no other part in the education process.  It would enhance the independence of the certificate provider from self assessing the value of the education it provided.

This model is suited to self-directed, self paced and internet enabled learning.  Certificates are much more useful for skill assessment than learning, but certificate testing/providers are the least costly possible education model, and one that maximizes the legitimacy of that certificate by removing conflicts of interest.

There would remain value in general learning skills/experience not capturable by certificates and that is what colleges would market themselves on, but cost would be more relevant to the student customers.


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