Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Brokaw's assumptions about government consolidation were wrong or exaggerated

"NBC's Tom Brokaw wrote recently that the recession was a good reason for states to consolidate local governments, schools and colleges into larger jurisdictions. It's not," says the Daily Yonder, in a piece by co-editor Bill Bishop, right.

Bishop contends, "Consolidation (of schools or governments) doesn’t usually save money or create a more efficient institution. People are more satisfied with small and local government than a larger, more centralized government. Small towns aren’t big spenders. And big government isn’t more efficient. ... When researchers have gone back to examine what resulted from combining smaller governments into bigger ones, however, they find that consolidation doesn’t live up to the promises."

And here's the spice in the story: "Brokaw is a good enough reporter that if he had had even an inkling his assumptions were wrong — that big wasn’t more efficient than small — he would have quickly found the evidence that he needed to rethink his column. (All he needed to do was look on the first page of a Google search.) But he was so sure that he was right, the former network anchor didn’t do the most basic background research. The more insidious part of Brokaw’s article is that both he and his editors at the New York Times assumed that small schools, colleges and towns are at some early stage of becoming something big and therefore efficient and workable." (Read more)

1 comment:

John Flavell said...

Why couldn't Brokaw understand the cultural and social value of a small town school?
With the closings of rural post offices and attached 'general' stores (yet, the postal service is still going broke), the schools have become the only place for community activities.
Youth sports, community meetings, after school programs, extended library hours, small concerts, and adult education classes take place in these last true community magnets.
Attend any high school football or basketball game in rural Kentucky, or South Dakota, and you're not just attending a sporting event; you're attending the cultural and social event of the week.