Two easy questions. First, who is in a better position best to choose where and how a child should be educated, the child’s parents or the government? Never have I heard any answer except the parents. Second question, what is the goal of our educational system, to educate our children (What a concept!), or to protect below-average teachers? (Guess what we are doing today!) So how should we go forward?
The answer is to empower parents to choose where the government’s money will be spent for the education of their children. The answer could be public, private, religious, military, vocational, charter, or online schools, or even homeschooling. Of course this will require monitoring to ensure that basic requirements are met, and allowances should be made for special needs. But implementing this system will bring competition into the educational field. Competition has brought us such things as quality cell phones, computers and automobiles at lower prices, and it will do the same thing for education! I am a product of public schools, and do not want at all to undermine them. But they are positioned to thrive, because they already have their institutions in place. However, if they do not produce, one of two things will happen: either they will get better – to which I say Great – or they will go out of business, which will allow another institution that will produce to come forward – to which I also say Great!
If parents in lower economic areas were to understand the possibilities, they would demand this change to take place. People in the higher economic areas have had “school choice” for decades. How is that? Either they move to a neighborhood that has good public schools, or they pay their child’s tuition at a private school. But lower economic areas have been caught. How is that? Because if teachers are not producing they are inevitably moved to lower economic areas, where the parents neither have the resources to go elsewhere nor the political power effectively to object. That is why there are so many schools are failing our children in poorer economic areas – and this is as outrageous as it is unnecessary! But with school choice, or “backpack funding,” parents in all areas will be empowered to effect positive change. That is what has happened in Milwaukee and New Orleans, and also many places in Indiana and Florida.
In this system the right things happen. Parents will demand – and receive – excellence; good teachers will be in demand (so they are paid better); many teachers either who have been handcuffed by all of the bureaucracy or have gotten lazy because they were protected from not having to perform will get better; and schools that were top-heavy in administration will start spending a larger share of their resources on classroom instruction. So the only ones who lose out are the below-average teachers who are either unable or unwilling to get better. Thus children everywhere will have better schools – to which all caring people should say Great! Yet another example of how Liberty Works!
Judge Jim Gray (Ret.)
2012 Libertarian candidate for Vice President,
along with Governor Gary Johnson as the candidate for President
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