Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

School Choice in India

In this months issue of the Atlantic, Clive Crook finds evidence in India for one of Milton Friedman’s 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 we’re likely to hear from India’s 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.

Discussions - 1 Comment

The average cost of educating a child in the Washington D.C. school district is about $12,500 per year (most expensive public school education in the U.S. - NY second at 10,500 and California third at $8,500 per child). Of course D.C., New York and California have the biggest failing systems in the US. Surprisingly, the Catholic Schools in the DC area have a 99% success rate with their students, they can all read, write and do math at 12 grade levels at the time of graduation. Now bear in mind that the Catholic School students come from the same neighborhoods as the public school students. Average cost of Catholic School education in DC - about $5,000 per year. It is a fallacy that more money will fix the broken public school system in the US. It is the small private schools and homeschoolers who have the most success.

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