Public School Teachers, Private School Kids

From The Entrepreneurial Mind: Watch What They Do; Don't Listen to What They Lobby For.

Competition in domains that were once thought to be permanent governmental monopolies is proving to be effective in many arenas. Certainly schools have been one of the modern success stories of privatization. In today's Tennessean it seems that public school teachers in Nashville (yes, those same public school teachers who fight the creation of charter schools and lobby for more and more and more money without any accountability) agree that competition and markets really do work.

"More than one out of every four Metro teachers, or 28.6%, send their children to private school, according to a study released last week."

So, how does this compare to the overall population in Nashville? Teachers are twice as likely to send their kids to private schools as the average family in Nashville.

What could possibly be the reason behind this startling statistic?

Read the whole thing.

Personally, I am a fan of Milton Friedman's idea of a voucher system. Instead of their children being forced to attend a specific public school, parents should receive a voucher for some dollar amount that they can spend any school they wish, public, private, or parochial. Schools that provide poor education will go under, of course, but then the taxpayer-provided capital funds that are being used to prop it up will be released to other schools that provide better education; the neat thing is that the magic of the voucher-driven market will perform that action automatically without extra government interaction.

Vouchers provide real accountability. Right now, if a public school is doing poorly, that is often used as a claim that they need more money; this is because they are accountable to another government agency, not to the parents directly. If the parents themselves get to directly choose which school their child attends, they money follows the child; as such, schools that do poorly get less money and eventually go away, leaving an opportunity for other schools to take up the students (and an opportunity to open a new school under better management).

More on this later, as I refine my ideas. Really, all the best work is from Milton Friedman, whom I will link extensively in the future. For now, get your hands on "Free to Choose" which goes over much more than just school vouchers.