Chas' Compilation

A compilation of information and links regarding assorted subjects: politics, religion, science, computers, health, movies, music... essentially whatever I'm reading about, working on or experiencing in life.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Public Schools Are Cheating the Children

(The following is a very compelling argument in favor of school choice, showing how even Europe allows competition in education, with good results)

By John Stossel


Last week, Florida's supreme court ruled that public money can't be spent on private schools because the state constitution commands the funding of only "uniform . . . high-quality" schools. How absurd. As if government schools are uniformly high quality. Or even mostly decent.

Apparently competition, which made even the Postal Service improve, is unconstitutional when it comes to public education in Florida...

...At age 10, students from 25 countries take the same test, and American kids place eighth, well above the international average. But by age 15, when students from 40 countries are tested, the Americans place 25th, well below the international average. In other words, the longer American kids stay in American schools, the worse they do. They do worse than kids from much poorer countries, like Korea and Poland.

This should come as no surprise since public education in the USA is a government monopoly. If you don't like your public school? Tough. If the school is terrible? Tough. Your taxes fund that school regardless of whether it's good or bad.

Government monopolies routinely fail their customers.

Kaat Vandensavel runs a Belgian government school, but in Belgium, school funding follows students, even to private schools. So Vandensavel has to work hard to impress the parents. "If we don't offer them what they want for their child, they won't come to our school." That pressure makes a world of difference, she says. It forces Belgian schools to innovate in order to appeal to parents and students. Vandensavel's school offers extra sports programs and classes in hairdressing, car mechanics, cooking, and furniture building. She told us, "We have to work hard day after day. Otherwise you just [go] out of business."

"That's normal in Western Europe," Harvard economist Caroline Hoxby told me. "If schools don't perform well, a parent would never be trapped in that school in the same way you could be trapped in the U.S."

Vandensavel adds, "America seems like a medieval country . . . a Communist country on the educational level, because there's no freedom of choice -- not for parents, not for pupils." ...

You can read the complete article HERE.


At Thu Jan 12, 09:55:00 AM 2006, Blogger Little Miss Chatterbox said...

You have no idea how badly I want school choice to be a reality!!

At Thu Jan 12, 11:40:00 PM 2006, Blogger Chas said...

You, me and lots of people. The most shocking thing about this article was the fact that Europe, for all it's socialism, has more school choice and school competition than we do.

Our public schools are in such poor shape because people who run them are a law unto themselves; no competition, not enough accountability. A government monopoly.

At Fri Jan 13, 12:47:00 PM 2006, Blogger Ed Abbey said...

With my first child on the way, I have been thinking about this issue a lot more lately. I am certainly going to try and send my child to a private school if I can afford it even if I have to fund the local "zoo" here in town with my tax dollars. I can't believe Europe has this and we don't!

At Mon Jan 16, 11:18:00 AM 2006, Blogger Chas said...

That is the shocking thing; choice and competition help create good schools, even socialist Europe knows that and gets better results.

Bush is pouring tons of money into our current educational system, without reforming it by offering choice and competition. WE are paying for that, and we should be allowed choice. I don't see how you are going to get better results by pouring more money into a bad system.


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