Looking To The Free Market to Fix Education

Education in America, like everything else the government has gotten its hands on, is an inefficient, poorly run mess that needs to be fixed immediately. There are so many problems with it that I don’t even know where to start.

Our students, after being forced into government’s hands, aren’t learning the things relevant to become a successful adult in 2008. Students can’t add and subtract, let alone do any sort of division or work with fractions with proficiency. Basic social skills are neglected. History and politics are sloppily presented and really have no bearing on the current or future state of the nation. If the government was serious about fixing all the “bubbles” and other “issues” such as health care, obesity, and smoking, they would require classes that stressed good diet and exercise, properly managing your credit and finances, and (most importantly) at least one class on both micro and macroeconomics. The sad reality is that most of our politicians need a refresher in Econ101, with all the talk about “windfall profits” polluting the news lately.

So not only do I disagree with the school system as it is constructed, but I also disagree with the way things are done within that system. How can anyone question the government on claims of “price gouging” if they don’t know what the term actually means? Does anyone in a government educated classroom know the relationship of taxes and prices? Everyone is taught that “Big Business” is robbing them blind, pointing to the “outrageous” salaries of CEOs. I personally think CEOs in this country are underpaid, because of all the government-laid hoops and hurdles they have to overcome just to run a successful business that shows some real return to its investors.

We need to be taught to manage our lives efficiently if we are going to force education on our children. This means, as I stated above, that we need the basic core classes to teach the fundamentals to living a healthy, successful life in 2008 and beyond. If the students and/or parents reject or choose not to follow the plan, that is their choice, a choice that I will fight for. But if we are educating our children, let’s at least teach them the basics so they can have a fighting chance in the future. They need to learn things such as:

  • Reading and writing, not just the basics but how to be proficient in both
  • Math, same as above
  • Science and the scientific method of thinking
  • Sexual education, including the pros and cons of both abstinence and safe sex
  • How to manage your personal finances (credit, mortgages, bills, budgeting)
  • Basic Economics, mainly the law which never will go away, supply and demand
  • Basic Social Skills
  • History of America and the world
  • Current politics, such as how the system works TODAY (might take a long time explaining how the system “works) and what both parties currently stand for

Now, I’m not really in favor of government run schools at all, but if the government is going to run them, it ought to do it right. Teachers unions need to be abolished. If you aren’t doing your job, which is a very important one to our country’s future, you don’t deserve to be teaching. This goes for new teachers as well as ones who have been around for 20+ years and who basically do what they want.

The best solution, as always, is a free market and competition. Instead of taxing people and then telling them where to go to school, why not take that money and give everyone an education credit, to be used at any school of your choosing for your children? The government can compete too, if it wants, but it would quickly lose out to the newer, more efficient schools competing for your dollars. Basically, if you want your kids to be able to function without the government always being there, then the free market can be your way out. The downsides to a free market in education, we are told, is that some would be left behind. The smart kids would all gather in schools while the others were all held back. Not only is that false, it is absurd. Isn’t that the way colleges work today? I did not apply to Harvard or Yale, because I knew that it wasn’t for me. Why should I hold others back who have the work ethic, intelligence, and foresight to attend those fine institutions?

Of course, this plan would go against the status quo of simply taxing us more and getting less, so it stands little chance of ever seeing the light of day. But it’s nice to dream of a day where we can get back to what made this country so damn appealing in the first place: Freedom of choice and liberty to do as we please without interfering and holding others back.


  • Roland

    The problem is that the “Free Market” is profit driven, and this is the end product, not education. To think that turning elementary, junior, and high school education into “Harvards” or “Yales” where only the elite rich can afford an education would be better than state sponsored education is not thinking at all!
    The problem with the present system is that too much emphasis is placed upon teaching subjects with textbooks that are biased or do not reflect historical fact. These books, many of which are published in Texas, are re-writing history to smooth over any acts committed by the government. It appears that the government wants loyal taxpaying citizens that do not question government actions. Much of what is left out or mineralized are incidents such as the massacres at Sand Creek, Washita, and Wounded Knee during the “Indian Wars.” When I was in high school in the South, Slavery was an issue glossed over, and one of the school service organizations would dress up in Confederate uniform to sell “war bonds” for the Thanksgivings Day football game, all the while flying the Rebel Flag. Certainly the struggle for workers rights was not an important issue, or union battles where workers were massacred such as at Ludlow, Colorado. Incidents like the attempted overthrow of FDR in the Thirties by the heads of powerful corporations, isn’t even in the text books. Also missing from textbooks is Kent State, Ruby Ridge, Waco, and the experiments performed on unsuspecting Americans as evidenced in Eileen Wellsome’s “The Plutonium Files.” Also missing from textbooks is the CIA’s “Family Jewels.” This much redacted admission by the CIA to assassination of foreign leaders and overthrow of foreign governments came as no surprise to anyone who has studied their history. This history also includes the CIA’s involvement in running drugs during the Iran/Contra affair as evidenced in Gary Webb’s “Dark Alliance.”
    The Christian Right has also co-opted Darwinian theory with Creationism, in order to place their agenda on the table. Organizations like the Moral Majority, and Christian Coalition have violated the separation of church and state.
    Finally, the “Humanities” are being sacrificed and replaced by computer driven technological subjects. It’s ok to teach someone a subject that might help them get a job, but they also need to be taught the values that help create a better society. Many of the Liberal Arts subjects have been sidelined in favor of football teams, and the purpose of school (to get a well rounded education) seems to have been lost. Music, foreign languages, painting, the performing arts, philosophy, ethics, logic, all which help create a better society are relegated to the bottom.
    Education, like health care, city streets, highways, bridges, schools, hospitals, sewage systems, water supplies, agriculture is part of our infrastructure. In the name of the “War on Terror,” we have spent far too much money on the Industrial-Military Complex, and far too little on our infrastructure!