Private Schools Suck

imageThe bathrooms at a certain college (which shall remain unnamed) were, for years, terrible: dirty, smelly, often out of toilet paper, often out of hand soap, and frequently out of order. Students complained. Faculty complained. But very little changed until a certain Solomon-like prof (who shall also remain unnamed) came along with a rather ingenious solution: Close down the private bathroom used by the executive (the deans, upper management, etc.), and make them use the ones used by everyone else. It was jointly proposed by a few different departments in a very public fashion, and the executive had to approve it because of the college-wide space crunch. Their private bathroom was soon transformed into much-needed office space, and they now had to use the public facilities used by faculty and students. Guess what: the bathrooms have been in good working order ever since.

Finland has the best school system in the world. But this wasn’t always the case. They had one of the worst systems in Europe for a long time; however, thanks to a number of ambitious reforms, they were able to turn things around. Finland’s first—and, some would say, most important—reform was to close every single private school in the country. When the powerful have to use the same bathrooms and schools and health services as everyone else—when they’re subjected to the same stop-and-frisk policing and drug laws as everyone else—they have a way of making sure that those things work well. And if they don’t work well, they have a way of making sure that they’re fixed forthwith. When the rich and powerful have “skin in the game” (e.g., when it’s their kids who’ll have to go off to war), they tend to behave in a more intelligent and public-spirited fashion.

—John Faithful Hamer, Twilight of the Idlers (2017)

About John Faithful Hamer

John Faithful Hamer is a college professor who still can't swim, drive, or pay his bills on time. His sense of direction is notoriously unreliable, yet he'd love to tell you where to go. His lack of practical skills is astounding, and his inability to fix things is renowned, yet he'd love to tell you what to do. His mismanagement of time is legendary, as is his inability to remember appointments, yet he fancies himself a philosopher and would love to tell you how to live. He wouldn't survive in a state of nature, of that we can be sure; but he's doing quite well in the big city, which has always been a refuge for the ridiculous, a haven for the helpless, and a friend to the frivolous.

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