In this months issue of the Atlantic, Clive Crook finds evidence in India for one of Milton Friedmans most controversial claims--that a privately-funded system of education would especially benefit the least well-off. In spite of official government discrimination against private schools, small for-profit schools have been popping up in many of the poorest parts of India. Crook writes:
On the whole, dime-a-day for-profit schools are doing a better job of teaching the poorest children than the far more expensive state schools. In many localities, private schools operate alongside a free, government-run alternative. Many parents, poor as they may be, have chosen to reject it and to pay perhaps a tenth of their meager incomes to educate their children privately. They would hardly do that unless they expected better results.
Based on test scores, these expectations have so far been met. However, this is not a success story were likely to hear from Indias education officials, or from those who work for international aid agencies--these remain wedded to the old model of public education, and continue to claim (in spite of all evidence to the contrary) that all that is needed is more money.