John Stossel has produced a compelling demonstration of why Ohio has to break the public school monopoly. Stossel also has a segment on ABC News Friday night — Stupid in America: How We Cheat Our Kids. The show airs Friday January 13th at 10pm ET.
Bill Peirce fully agrees that monopolies generate high costs, low quality, and enough profits to corrupt the political process. Education is no exception to the general rule, despite the thousands of dedicated teachers who struggle valiantly in the classroom against the bureaucratic fetters that sap their strength and misdirect their efforts.
The cure for monopoly is consumer choice. Let the parents choose the school (public, private, parochial, or charter) that is right for their child. The state money can follow the child to that school. Let the schools set their own admissions standards so each school can specialize in what it does best.
Educational choice is not a radical concept. It is common in Western Europe. It is the way that our system of higher education is organized. Consumer choice is, after all, the foundation of the rest of our economy and our lives. The question should not be, “Why have educational choice?” but rather, “Why have we tolerated monopoly in such an important part of life?”
We pay an enormous amount for K-12 education, and costs have gone up rapidly while achievement has stagnated. Breaking the monopoly gives better education at lower cost. It also allows for parental decisions about whether to include religion or values in the curriculum, or whether to rely on strict discipline or on more fashionable modes of learning.
Breaking the public education monopoly is both efficient and just. Every year of delay destroys the future of more children. Some government programs can be discussed for years, but this is a case where speed saves lives. Let’s do it.
[read more about Bill Peirce’s plans for reforming Ohio’s education system]