Stossel on Education

January 25, 2006

If you haven’t read any of John Stossel’s columns on education, here’s a few for you to enjoy:

From Trapped in the Wrong Government School (25 Jan 2006):

In public education, our land of the free is now a bunch of local fiefs, where petty-bureaucrats-turned-lords-of-the-manor decide whether you can get a decent education, and parents must go to them, begging for their children’s future. Meanwhile, in Belgium and much of the rest of the world, students and their parents have the freedom to choose their schools — and the opportunity that comes with that freedom.

From Myth: Schools Need More Money (18 Jan 2006):

The truth is, public schools are rolling in money. If you divide the U.S. Department of Education’s figure for total spending on K-12 education by the department’s count of K-12 students, it works out to about $10,000 per student.

Think about that! For a class of 25 kids, that’s $250,000 per classroom. This doesn’t include capital costs. Couldn’t you do much better than government schools with $250,000? You could hire several good teachers; I doubt you’d hire many bureaucrats. Government schools, like most monopolies, squander money.

From Public Schools Are Cheating the Children (11 Jan 2006):

Remember when the Postal Service said it couldn’t get it there overnight? Then companies like FedEx were allowed to compete. Private enterprise got it there absolutely, positively overnight. Now even the Post Office guarantees overnight delivery sometimes. Competition works.

Why can’t education work the same way? If people got to choose their kids’ school, education options would be endless.

Government monopolies routinely fail their customers.

No responses to Stossel on Education

  1. you mean competition improves quality? What?

    I’ve always said, give me ten thousand dollars per student … that class would rock!

    although ten grand a year isn’t as much as you think for one student. I agree the bureacracy eats too much, but as a private Christian school in Korea, our yearly tuition is close to that, maybe nine thousand, and we are one of the cheapest in Korea … maybe the cheapest since we pay our teachers so much less. some of these private international schools are cash cows, man. There is a lot of overhead that any school would need to use and capital to reinvest to improve.

    But I love the voucher idea. I don’t know if this Stossel guy is for that, but I’m all for it. I think it would keep the public schools honest and accountable, at least.

    Peace.

  2. Stossel has talked a lot about how the highest-performing countries are systems where the parents can choose to send their children to any school, and the government sends the money allocated for that kid to the school of the parents’ choice. No matter if it is a government school, a religious school, or a secular school. The parents choose.

    The problem with vouchers right now is that anywhere they’re considered, they never give full allocation of the funding for that child to the voucher. But at least it would be a start. Of course, there’s primarily one thing standing in the way of vouchers — teacher’s unions.

    Well, unions killed Eastern. They’re killing Delta, Ford, and GM. They’re killing education, too, but since the government has a monopoly on education, it’s a little different.

  3. Ah, Education. A favorite complaining topic for me.
    Wow, what I could do with $10,000 per kid. You’re right- I would have at least two adults in the room at all times and be able to have better resources and experiences for my students. I know it’s not a huge amount of money when you consider overhead costs of a school, granted, but we do spend a lot of money in education that doesn’t involve education.
    Most of education is like that, though. Most of the time, energy, and money isn’t really focused on education. It focuses on keeping up with trends, pleasing the Board, keeping the upper-levels at the county happy, and keeping crazy parents at bay. But I digress.
    I do think you’re right. If other schools were allowed to truly compete with public schools (via vouchers, or whatever), public education would be forced to improve and be more focused on the kids.