McCluskey has a great post over at CATO:
If government didn’t spend taxpayer dough on education, would the poor be much worse off than they are today? Can we never over-invest in schooling because education is just so important? Does the college wage premium mean we should never ratchet down subsidies for college education? And is it at least possible that spending more and more public dough doesn’t lead to more or better education — by which I mean actual, valuable learning — as much as more waste?
Most people are beginning to understand the merits of having locally controlled schooling, which forces schools to compete for students and thus lets parents hold the teachers and administration accountable. Charter schools and vouchers are what most people usually think of, and they are a genuine step in the right direction - but only a small step where full leaps are needed.
We need to eliminate the Department of Education and all federal taxes that go toward education. Education is not in the Constitution, so per the Tenth Amendment it is at most a state concern. So return the power to the states to decide how they want to educate their children, and let every community within the state privately decide how to build their curriculum and staff their schools.
Completely private education means that if one set of parents wants their children to learn a little bit of everything like they do now, they can. But if enough parents would prefer their children to learn about environmental accountability and social justice, the market will fill that demand (though not where I’d send my children). If another set wants to their children to be taught strictly from the Bible, done. If some children are better at math or creative writing or computer programming, let them go to a specialty school. Some children are just not built for typical all-encompassing curriculum, so let them learn the basics that could lead to a trade; instead of promoting the cycle of failure that leads kids to turn to crime since their exposure to ‘responsible society’ has been a fruitless source of frustration.
Let schools foster a love for self-taught knowledge instead of attempting to ace the test of a subject they will never bother with in life. There’s no need for beginner’s courses in every subject as if the student will one day master that subject. Schooling should be about making students wary of bad arguments and teaching them how to reason. Everything else is elective. And since no taxpayers would be on the hook for a penny, only the parents - and not the public at large or bureaucrats or union leaders - have a say.
The best schools will produce the best adults, and that’s where the parents will send their children. The bad schools will go out of business. The rich can already opt out of bad schools, so why not dismantle the infrastructure that keeps the poor from doing the same? With more money in the pockets of parents and individuals in general, quality of education will skyrocket. After all, the continued pumping of stolen public funds has produced flat results.
Because more money will be in the hands of individuals, private charity and religious non-profits will be better equipped to bridge the gap when the poor cannot afford schooling - something those charities and non-profits already do to a certain extent, and much more cheaply than government schools. Getting more bang for every education buck will naturally come about after increasing accountability of the educators, making the parents - and not the state - the consumer, and eliminating the public sector teachers unions that vote themselves more money and benefits to all members without necessarily earning it. Further, less taxes in general means more wealth in private hands which means more jobs and efficient investments which means fewer people in poverty.
It’s a win for students, a win for parents, a win for taxpayers, a win for the poor, a win for liberty, a win for good teachers and administrators, a win for society. The only losers are inept/harmful teachers and administrators, bureaucrats, and unions (aka the bad guys).
Jode, check this out!