HUD, Carson and Choice
Slate's Henry Grabar has a great piece today about Ben Carson and his clueless already-disproven theories about low-income housing. The piece is worth a full read on its own, and it has nothing to do with education-- except that it is yet another lesson in how a market actually works, with huge implications for the kind of choice system that Betsy DeVos and Beloved Leader have in mind. So I'm going to give you the quick-and-dirty synopsis of the article, and then I'll make the education connection.
|The compassionate thing would be NOT to feed the 5000. Go forth and let my people know they're on their own.|
Carson has taken to saying that public housing should not be comfortable. Literally. As was reported in the New York Times:
Compassion, Mr. Carson explained in an interview, means not giving people “a comfortable setting that would make somebody want to say: ‘I’ll just stay here. They will take care of me.’ ”
This, Grabar points out, is ironic because it was the philosophy behind "the nation’s mid-century public housing debacle." Poorly constructed, often segregated, badly managed, and rapidly deteriorating was made unappealing enough that only people who had no other conceivable choice would pick them.
But folks working in the government housing biz realized almost immediately that holding onto higher-income tenants added "to fiscal and social stability." Modern government housing is supposed to be comfortable, because that's how you get a mix of incomes and "socioeconomic integration." Planners now value stability, so getting the tenants to move out is not the goal, Steady churn, it CURMUDGUCATION: HUD, Carson and Choice: