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February 04, 2007



One standard argument for maintaining public schools asserts that the private sector cannot create enough private schools, at least not quickly.

Privatising the K-12 school system, and doing so by splitting it up into a slew of companies each associated with one high school and a distributed K-8 or K-9 schools within each company, would at least in urban areas create instant competition.

Combine it with vouchers, and you have a recipe for layoffs as schools lose some pupils immediately. See how fast the techers and admin's innovate and work their tail off to suddenly try to give their students a quality education.

Privatising the schools also has the virtue (or vice in brain dead hands) of creating an endowment for the city with which to pay for all the new students in the system from private schools who now get vouchers.


By the way, welcome back! I missed your posts, especially seeing as how you are probably more libertarian than I am and it is refreshing to see consistently libertarian insights from an economically educated individual.


Utah, not Nevada... Not a huge difference except one is the home of Mormons and the other is the home of Sin City. :-)

Eric H

Utah, Nevada, whatever - it's all flyover.

Mike Huben

So let's see just what you're opposed to.

You're opposed to public schools, which have created the middle classes of the entire first world. Not for any rational reason, but for an ideological opposition to government, no matter how effective. And not even for real improvement: for pie in the sky promises of glorious results which have never occurred in the real world.

You want to eliminate unions. Not because eliminating unions would result in any improvement in teaching (because none has ever been measured by that process), but because you are ideologically opposed to such "government creations" with "special rights". But of course, you never ask for the abolition of other government creations with special rights, such as corporations.

You want vouchers of $5000, you claim. If you're anything like the pathetically declining Libertarian Party, you intend that only as a temporary measure on the way to eliminating government financing of schools entirely.

The history of private vouchers for adult trade education is that you get fly-by-night schools designed to bilk the government of as much as possible while spending as little as they can educating students (who don't care: it's not their money, and they get a certificate.) Same thing happens with vouchers for gradeschools.

You'd gleefully discontinue education outside of the 3 R's: do you really think only the elite benefit from those things? Perhaps you should recommend that Harvard eliminate its sports teams, musical programs, etc.

You seem to have a basic elitest misunderstanding of public education. "But a good education can occur in a basement with one teacher and a reasonable number of willing students." You might as well say that we can have a low disease rate if we have a doctor and a reasonable number of healthy people. However much you might wish it, students do not all come "willing". And they can easily lose their willingness as their interests change. Perhaps if you read a bit about what education for ordinary and below average students involves, you'd learn something.

But no, you'd probably disregard it because your ideology can't be wrong.


Huben, you really should take some time to research a subject before you start blasting people. Several countries have been using voucher type systems from some time now with wild success - Netherlands and Sweden to name just two.

Your assertion that public schools have created a middle class comes without a drop of actual evidence.


Your claims are good, but you sound even more ideological than the libertarians you're criticizing. There is evidence to support most of what you say, but you should bring it up.

John Pertz

To Mike Huben:

Are you trying to argue that the public school system in this country is functional or that the current state of secondary public school education in this country is even desireable? I would feel extremely uncomfortable trying to argue such a thing, however, your post seems to intimate at just that. What exactly are you trying to argue? As a moderate libertarian, I believe that a competitive market would lead to a much more efficient alocation of scarce resources. It also would be interesting to witness what types of low cost secondary education options would emerge for the poor and lower middle class. I am optimistic that at the lower end and with the "crowding out" effect of public schools removed, there would be improved schooling options available for the poor along with lower production costs. Do you believe that the current public school system gives strong incentives to administrators and teachers to provide quality education to everyone with low production costs? I am skeptical of politics to be able to achieve such ends through planning, however, I would be interested to hear your thoughts.

Eric H

"public schools, which have created the middle classes of the entire first world"

I suspect the rise of the "middle classes" predates the rise of public schools as we know them today. In fact, I could argue that the schooling system is nothing more than an indoctrination program to be the good (passive) citizen-consumer-employee that the state-capitalist needs them to be instead of the successful freeman they should be.
If you accept the standard line, public employee unions are simply bizarre. For ages, we've been told that unions are necessary because employers are evil and only collective action with the backing of the state will save them. But now we have the state as evil employer?

Also, not everyone who is against state-backed unions is also for state-backed corporations, so please be careful with a brush that broad.
The history of vouchers also includes the GI Bill and state university programs, but those facts seem to get downplayed in favor of the "fly-by-night" school story. That's rhetoric, not evidence.
Whether or not Harvard should get rid of those programs seems quite irrelevant. Why should the 3 R's be bundled with football and music programs? Are there not venues for those outside of public schools? Soccer, baseball, and gymnastics are three sports I have been associated with that had private venues for kids, even needy kids. Ditto for music. And that's how they do it in Germany. There is no good reason the local high school needs to have a sports budget, especially at the expense of its academic budget.
Mike, counter to your recurring implicit assertion, you also have an ideology and corresponding blinders. Are you aware of the success and acceptance of private schooling outside the US?

prada schoenen

thank u for sahring.have a great day.

supra schoenen

I agree, those are interesting points. This task is meant to help Afghanistan repress the worrisome, if predictable, expansion of its opium economy, it will greatly hamper NATO's effectiveness.THx,

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