Essentially, education in America is run like the post office, the USPS has a monopoly over your mail box, no one else can put things in it but them. To be sure, there are private delivery companies, but, regardless of your disposition toward the post office you still have to use them to get letters and bills sent and received. Likewise, no matter how much you detest government education you still are required to fund it in the form of taxes, regardless of whether your children attend or not. Again, there is the private schooling option, and like UPS and Fed Ex they provide superior service to the government. One only needs to look at the educational background of the students who are in the top 10 for spelling bees and geography bees for the most empirical testimony of this fact.
With that said, I would assert that the best route to take is to fully open education up to the free market and privatize all of the government schools. This would save tax victims, er, tax payers, literally hundreds of billions of dollars. It also would allow for a far greater degree of accountability among teachers to do a good job, and the overall quality of education would be tremendously improved by this.
Taxed Dollars Versus Voting With Your Dollars
As it has been noted before, under the government cartelized educational model tax victims are forced to pay for schools regardless of their quality, their use by the tax victims family, or their financial soundness. This is in stark contrast to how things work in the private sector.
In the private sector individuals are allowed to vote with their dollars, we see this everyday as people choose Craft Beers over Budweiser, Bach over Eminem, or Tailored boots over Wal-Mart boots, or vice-versa. Individuals acting in a free market are able to choose what is most important to them at any given time. Do they want something of higher quality or do would they prefer something that is cheap? Do they want to drink like 10 Budweiser beers or would they rather have 1 really good beer? It is all preference, and individuals are able to decide what is the best fit for them at a given time.
Applying this market mechanism to education, it becomes clear that the same mechanisms can and should apply. Does the family want a school that has a strong math department or the other one that really emphasizes the arts? Does the family highly value athletics and is willing to pay extra for a school with a competitive team? Or, would they rather save money and go with a school that doesn't have a sports team? Do they want a school that goes off of a classical model (grammar, logic and rhetoric) or the Horace Mann and John Dewey formula?
Who is the best decision maker in regard to where your money is most wisely spent? You? Or, your congressman, whose name you don't even know?
Some of the Current Objectionable Things taking Place In Public Schools Solved By Free Markets:
As a Christian, it is my unwavering conviction that the education of my children should be thoroughly Christian. The truths of Scripture have something to say on every area of study, and the education of my children should reflect this. It is obvious to even the most passive observer that such an outlook is entirely unwelcome in the modern "religion free" government schools. Just think of the idiocy that goes on, if a kid wears a T shirt that states, "Jesus is Lord" he is liable to get suspended if he does not remove it.
Likewise, we have undoubtedly heard of numerous stories of kids getting suspended for other benign displays, such as the boy with the toy soldier hat, or other kids drawing pictures of guns. The message that is being sent is that the only violence that is acceptable is government approved violence, like the war in Iraq. Again, this moronic timorous display can be solved by a multiplicity of schools for parents to choose from, rather than this one size fits all government model.
On a similar thought, our atheist friends who get their panties in a bundle every time some teacher mentions the word "God", and it is not intended to slight His existence, can send their kids to the materialist school and learn all about how we came from slime. With such a vote with their dollars they can finally sleep easy knowing that their money is not going towards any religious stuff (well, apart from their "scientific" story about man's origin).
On that note, I would be willing to bet that a lot more people, given the choice, that would vote with their dollars that they really don’t care for the slime ball theory of man’s origin and would vote for Intelligent Design in the classroom, or a classroom that teaches both. Right now, this issue has been decided for everyone by the ACLU and black robed aspiring deities occupying courtrooms, rather than parents of students or even the teachers themselves.
The same can be said with the indoctrination of homosexuality in the public school, I'd again be willing to bet that most parents are uncomfortable with their 6 year olds learning about the "Two Kings". Yet, this stuff is forced on people unless they get so outraged that they pull their kids out and homeschool or private school them. I guarantee there are people who really don't like their children being taught about the virtues of "Gay love" but they just go along with it because pulling their kids out and homeschooling or private schooling them seems too drastic. Again, a free market in schooling would solve this.
Markets Flush Out the Inept:
In the Private Sector Reputation and Product Quality Matters:
Given the opening of the markets, schools would be in far more competition with one another, and thus will strive to provide the best services possible. As it is right now the only competition the government schools have with each other is which district is going to get the next ice cream scoop of plunder from Washington. In privatized schools on the other hand, since in the market system can not simply steal the dollars of tax victims like the government, they have to provide a product that is desirable to parents and work at convincing them that theirs is the best school for their child.
Again, just think about it, what school do you think will be better? One that you have to pay for whether you like it or not? Or, one that doesn't get your money if you think it stinks?
This dynamic would have a cleansing effect upon the faculties, schools with a lousy teaching staff would get a reputation of the same. With a bad reputation, the school would consequently lose students and if it fails to remedy this problem it will simply go out of business. Again, contrasting this to what we enjoy right now under the government cartelized system of education, school districts actually hate it when it is suggested that there be a school choice ability on the part of parents. They want you, and your child, to have to endure the crummy teachers they can’t fire because of their union contracts. Thus, when the school choice idea is suggested within the existing government school system they generally reject the idea as being “unworkable”.
In the Private Sector Balanced Budgets Isn't Optional:
In light of the Wisconsin budget debacle, privatized schools wouldn’t be able to spend beyond their means like government run schools. If a private school doesn’t have the funds to pay for a new Olympic swimming pool then they don’t purchase it. However, in the government sector, no expense can be hindered by such peccadilloes as balanced budgets. After all, if there is a budget problem they can just get bailed out by tax victims.
On that note, It was rather humorous to me when I read a statement from one of the striking union teachers in Wisconsin where she said, “We need to show the kids that we are serious about their education, I mean what message does it send to the kids back home that they are cutting teachers pay?” To which upon reading I retorted, it teaches the message that mathematics is still a relevant subject.
The Major Objection To Privatizing Schooling Answered
I anticipate a one primary objection to what has been presented and will answer it prior to its being uttered.
Q: What about families who can not afford these private schools? Do their kids just not go to school since there are no government/public schools?
A1: Historically it has been the church that has provided charitably for those what are unable to pay for services whether it was education, or medical care. There is no reason to not expect this to again be the case if the Leviathan state ceases from cartelizing education.
A2: Furthermore, if the market was truly opened up and there were no longer pounds of government paperwork and bribes to go through in order to run a school, the cost of schooling would be dramatically lowered. As it is right now private school teachers earn significantly less than the government unionized teachers. If the market were allowed to function more freely in this area we could see private schools that would run at perhaps $50 a week per student. A school with 200 students would be grossing $40,000 a month on that. I would think that would provide for ample staffing (administrators, teachers, cooks, janitors) and the price seems very reasonable to me. We pay $20 a week for my daughter’s violin lessons and that is just one day for a half an hour.
A3: Schools can offer a sliding scale or even a work exchange. Perhaps mom could help out by washing the lunch dishes a couple days a week, or dad could come mow the school’s lawn on Saturday in exchange for their child’s enrollment. These would save the school money in labor and would be the same as paying for the child’s tuition.
A4: Since the government cares about our children’s education so much, surely if the free market model of education were to prevail all schools will be tax exempt, making them all the more affordable for the poor.
Education can only stand to gain from free markets. The only thing that government run schooling added to education was regime supportive propaganda, revisionist history, and a dumbing down of the public. What better method can the state employ in going to get the citizens it desires than running education? For a revival of a robust education we need to look to different models, and ultimately to the scriptures. The first step towards dethroning the monstrosity that now exists is to privatize all the schools, as "impractical" as people may call it.