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Thompson: Killer Tornado Proves that Schools Still Need Rules

Tornado-damage-115801_640The Daily Oklahoman's Nasreen Iqbal, in Structural Faults Found in Destroyed Moore Elementary School, Engineer Says, explains that when an EF5 tornado hit two elementary schools, killing seven students, that there was no guarantee that a tragedy would have been prevented had construction standards been respected.

But, engineers inspected one of the destroyed Moore, Oklahoma schools and found, "Walls lacking reinforced concrete. An anchor bolt pulled from the ground. In several places, the 30-year-old school had no connection between the masonry wall and support beam."

I need to be equally careful in addressing the obvious lesson. I don't claim that market-driven reformers (and others who distrust regulatory systems) don't care about children. I just argue they are naive about the supposed public benefits of private sector competition.

Corporate reformers should heed the lessons of history. Over the 20th century, unions and workers overcame great obstacles to help enact legal regulations protecting health, safety, and other public goods. I doubt we have entered a new epoch where the rule of law is no longer necessary for checking the power of private enterprise and management. As bad as the tornado was, pretending that education no longer needs regulations is a recipe for really reaping the whirlwind.-JT(@drjohnthompson) Image via.


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