Education and Guns
The Two Million Minutes Blog does a great job of pointing out the importance of science and math education. One of the first things you learn in any good statistics or applied science course is that correlation doesn’t imply causation. This recent Two Million Minutes post about education and gun laws seems to ignore that lesson.
The post starts out by criticizing Tennessee’s education policy and its reluctance to permit charter schools. It then states:
Today’s Tennessee children will be tomorrow’s Tennessee adults and, unable to find meaningful work for financial self-sufficiency, they will have to turn increasingly to crime to support themselves and their families.
I think that’s a bit of a stretch. Although a lagging education system can put some meaningful jobs out of reach, work doesn’t have to be meaningful to present an alternative to crime. Most people probably consider unmeaningful work that pays the bills to be preferable to a life of crime. And isn’t that one reason we have various welfare programs — so people don’t have to turn to crime if they can’t find work?
The post next mentions a bill that recently passed the Tennessee legislature, which would allow concealed carry of handguns in restaurants. It implies that this is a reaction to the imminent increase in crime. I fail to see a connection between this bill and declining productivity in schools. If today’s children will grow up to be criminals, the state of Tennessee still has several years left to deal with the problem. State governments are not known for anticipating obstacles years in advance and acting with plenty of time to spare. Usually, legislation makes little headway unless there is already a consensus outside of government.
Besides, many states have passed concealed carry measures during the past few years, including several with education systems that are more welcoming to charter schools and other innovations.
Poor education can have effects throughout society, but not every legislative action is a direct response.