Friday, July 16, 2010

Competition in education as a solution to the iron cage of school bureaucracies

This was originally posted to a forum on of all places:

Teacher's comment questioning the qualifications of homeschoolers

Public schoolteachers believe that we should be FORCED to purchase their services. They believe that they should have a monopoly on the education of the young, one backed up by the force of law. This sense of entitlement is truly breathtaking. Contrast this with professionals whose paycheck is contingent on the quality of their services.

When the state has a monopoly on the means of production we call it communism. Our public schools are a case study for why communism doesn't work. Communism doesn't just have economic effects, it destroys the virtue of the people who are subjected to it. Public schools are such a horror precisely because of this.

The only real solution is to take the government out of the business of delivering education. Public he roads are maintained by private firms under contract with the state. The same should be done with education. Only instead of some government bureaucrat deciding which school gets the money, the parents of each individual child should decide. Make schools compete for students and for the state funding that each student represents.

Effective teachers who care about their students welcome this idea. They have nothing to fear from increased competition. In fact they have everything to gain from it as this would make their own competence an asset rather than a liability. Political intrigue, which public schools are notorious for, is the pastime of those whose position isn't based on on performance. Tie continued employment and promotion to objective standards of achievement instead of political wrangling and that intrigue will evaporate.

Bad teachers naturally don't like this idea. They want to nurse from the teat of the public treasury, secure in the knowledge that they can never be dislodged, no matter how useless or even destructive they are. They are what is known as a parasite, and should be treated as such.

Remember this the next time someone tries to feed you the standard sob story about how teachers are so underpaid and under-appreciated. More money is not what they need. Accountability that only the free market can create is what they need.

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