One-size-fits-all education, as mandated by the Department of Education, is holding America’s children back.
Every child is different. Every community is different.
Education should be chosen to fit the needs of each child and situation and teachers, parents, and students should be able to make their own choices. They are far better able to assess the needs of a particular child than an agency far off in Washington.
At one end of the spectrum are those who feel that government schooling is the best, if not the only, mechanism for fulfilling the public’s social goals for education. This group advocates improving educational outcomes through higher spending, reduced class sizes, enhanced teacher certification and training, leadership programs for administrators, and the like. A second group also sees the government operation and oversight of schools as indispensable, but believes that the system would improve if all families chose from among the available government schools, rather than having their children automatically assigned to a school. This practice is known as public school choice. A third group agrees with the need for parental choice, but feels that that choice is too confined by existing government school regulations. They recommend easing these regulations for state schools that promise to deliver a minimum level of student achievement. Government schools operating under this combination of eased regulations and contractual performance obligations are called charter schools. Charter schools, argues a fourth group, are good so far as they go, but do not go far enough. This group believes that government schools operating under charters have too many limitations compared with independent schools, among them the likelihood of reregulation and the inability to offer devotional religious instruction, set tuition levels, or control admissions. Their solution to these problems is to allow for state subsidization of education without government provision of schooling. In particular, they recommend that the state distribute the money it collects in taxes earmarked for education directly to families on a per‐child basis. These disbursements, most famously proposed by economist Milton Friedman in the early 1950s, have come to be known as vouchers. A final group asserts that the pseudo‐market policies advocated by the other groups would not produce a competitive, consumer‐driven education industry. This last group further contends that genuinely free markets in education, when supplemented with means‐tested private or state subsidies, best meet the public’s individual and social goals for education.
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Libertarians and conservatives may both point out similar issues, such as the drop in SAT scores, opposition to Common Core education standards, the anti-Christian bias of public schools, the teaching of evolution as an established fact, the power of teachers unions, the bureaucracy in the federal Department of Education, etc. These are considered to be subtopics, however, that are largely unrelated to the larger Libertarian case against the public school system. Even without these issues, the party would still reject government schools on the basis of they are schools owned and operated by the government. It isn’t up to the government to educate children, or to force Americans to pay for the education of children.
Under free market education, poor children would not necessarily be stuck with poor schools. In the current education system, public schools must accept every local student, regardless of whether they are dangerous, disruptive, or simply have no desire to learn. This impacts the quality of education for everyone in those schools, perpetuating a cycle of poverty and poor education. On the other hand, wealthy parents, especially in inner city areas, can afford to send their children to better or safer schools. Free market education would allow competition between local schools, and would allow parents to send their children to the one with the best reputation, or which best matches their educational or ideological goals.
Free market education would have a similar effect on the affordability of colleges, according to the Libertarian Party. In response to President Obama’s proposal to spend more taxpayer dollars on community college, the party insists that federal intervention in schools drives up the price of higher education due to subsidies and costly mandates. Competition is the solution, forcing colleges to choose between decreasing tuition, or going out of business due to lack of enrollment. This would theoretically wipe out massive student debt for future generation. Free-market competition, it is believed, will raise educational standards, lower costs, and prepare students to compete in a global economy.
Education, like the economy, is best left to a free market, where it can achieve greater quality, accountability, efficiency, and diversity of choice. Because the government is not responsible for the education of youth, parents are able to determine when and how they would educate their children; this includes home schooling, technology or trade-based education, etc. Since it is recognized that education is important to the development of values for children, the authority of parents in this matter is important and should be returned to them. Parents would also be responsible for all funds in regards to educating their children.