Coby informs us (directly below):
I find a flaw in Liam's reasoning. First of all, the point of the Times blog post is not that the market does a poor job of gauging wine quality, but that there are a lot of shoppers in the market who don't care about the quality of the wine they're swilling.
That's cool. But I never claimed that the market does a poor job of gauging quality; the market merely responds to people's preferences. I wrote that popularity shouldn't become a synonym for quality. That a gazillion people enjoy plonk doesn't make??it a quality beverage--but the market will respond, of course, and churn out more plonk for purchase.
We don't want this to happen with schools. I do not believe, as Coby does, that so many of those who imbibe sub-par wines are aware that their glasses are actually??half-nasty. (I'm even less convinced that people whose kids attend shoddy schools are aware of the lack of learning taking place.) But if, as Coby writes, people know what's good and what isn't and simply "don't care about the quality of the wine they're swilling," will they ever care about the quality of the schools their children are attending?