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Letters to the editor, March 1

Invisible hand

In her recent meanderings [DRC, Feb. 22], Alice Gore suggests we can recoup taxpayer revenue by insisting taxpayers be reimbursed for students who graduate from our public schools but function on a ninth-grade level.

The implication is classical free-market thinking, where if you impose such harsh measures on a provider, you can get them to perform better or improve their product for fear of losing “market share.”

Why stop with applying this to public schools?

Shouldn’t we be allowed to recoup the money we paid a physician or health care facility when they fail to heal us?

What about docking the pay of a pastor when the pastor fails to effectively prevent people from gossiping and cheating on their taxes and their spouses?

It’s hypocritical when critics of our public school system simultaneously tie the hands of educators by limiting what children can learn or reducing financial resources to accomplish their task.

Nor do we attract the best and brightest to those schools that need the most help when salaries and financial resources fall far below their wealthier neighbors. These will be the schools that will be hit the hardest by Gore’s standard.

Market principles work fine when restricted to their intended purpose but they’re not a silver bullet for all things.

Trying to spread them into every domain of human endeavor not only diminishes their value but hurts those endeavors when misplaced.

The “invisible hand of the market” is ineffective when too tightly clinched in rage.

Larry Beck,