The author of this blog recently layed out different policy proposals for education. I know this is stock conservative stuff but it is one of our finest ideas. The founder of the idea of school vouchers was (God rest his soul) my hero Milton Friedman. That lover of liberty thought that really it should be the left that supports choice. He believed that one day all parents would be free to choose. Im proud to say that my former Governor Tommy Thompson was the first to put school choice into place.
Heres the problem: Education is funded primarily by the property tax. This means that schools that have a low property-tax base are at an automatic disadvantage. This includes many inner city and rural schools. What the Government says is that you have stay in your school no matter how poorly it is performing. There you have it: A government run monopoly. This is propped up by the teachers unions and administrators protecting their turf. They need students to stay in their schools to defend the status quo.
Education funding is also a mess. The districts blame the state government and visa-versa. We are told the problems are a result of funding. The finger pointing leaves us confused and not knowing who to hold accountable. To solve this problem I propose a universal voucher system run separately by the states. Here comes the beauty of choice: accountability. Schools operate for the purpose of getting money via vouchers. The only lack of funding would be through not attracting enough parents. We would now know where to point the finger. Schools could have all the money in the world, provided they did a good enough job of educating kids.
School choice is also a great concept because it brings itncentives to administrators who have never had any to do a good job of educating kids. They will always keep coming back, and the money will keep coming in. School choice brings the wonder of the free market into education. Schools compete for kids by offering better services. They also compete by spending more money in the classroom. The Democrats opposition to choice exposes them. Its not the children they care about, its the teachers union. Choice lets poor children have a quality education and turns education into a market. Some might say education is too important to be left to the private sector. Schools schould have to compete for students, because with something as vital as education, how cant you have a free market?