February 15, 2016—Education is important for any modern society. Educated workers, researchers, and leaders are vital for bolstering the economy, encouraging innovation, discovering new ideas — essentially, a well-educated populace drives progress and nurtures the next (hopefully even more well-educated) generation.
The government, of course, recognizes this importance and works towards making a good education affordable and accessible no matter the student’s race, ethnicity, background, location, income, and so forth. This is a noble goal; people do need to be educated, and it is absolutely correct to attempt to drive costs down without sacrificing quality.
However, the government tries to achieve its goal through operating public school systems. Unfortunately, public schools only harm poor areas and encourage the indoctrination of a whole generation of young people who could have lived with open minds and freedom of choice.
Public schools in low-income areas are in poor shape, even ones that receive more money than better-performing schools in the same district, and the students living in these areas have no choice but to attend the school they are zoned to. Parents who are better off can afford to move to a neighborhood with a better school district or can dish out the cost of a private or boarding school, but not parents who can’t escape a low-income area. Poor children with a genuine desire to better their lives and escape their situations become trapped in poor schools with unmotivated and disruptive students.
Additionally, schools operated and regulated by the government restrict freedom and exploration. They instruct children from a young age to completely trust and obey authority figures. They follow a “government-approved” curriculum that only teaches what the government wants and denies students the liberty to follow less-traveled avenues of thought (and decide for themselves what they think about them). Public schools serve the goals of the government only and take away the independence of the mind.
Public schools are also dependent on taxpayer money. Taxes are wrong because the government should never ever bully its citizens into giving it money, no matter what the money will be used for (and in this case, the money goes to furthering the cause of indoctrination of our children…). Besides, no one should be forced to pay for his or her neighbor’s children’s education. If someone wants to voluntarily, great! But no one should be forced to, and especially not by his or her own government.
Regardless, it is still [spn-media-asset pos=2 align=left]undeniable that an educated society is the backbone of any country. So, how can the government’s goal of affordable and accessible high-quality education be achieved without throwing the government into the equation?
Actually, that last bit — without throwing the government into the equation — solves quite a lot of problems. Simply stopping government intervention in education breaks the chains of children (especially poor ones) enrolled in the public school system. With no government involvement whatsoever, a free market emerges in education, allowing competition between private schools to naturally drive down costs while improving, not just maintaining, the quality of education received. School choice gives children of all incomes and backgrounds the liberty to shape their own futures, think freely, and choose what they want to believe in without fear of financial trouble or punishment from school authorities they were taught to obey. Additionally, taxpayer money is no longer wasted on the inefficiency of public schools and on the federal Department of Education.
School choice is now much more of a mainstream idea. There are options available that provide incentives for private school education, such as vouchers and tax credits. While this is nowhere near true school choice with no government involvement whatsoever, these options are enabling motivated lower-income students to obtain the education they deserve (and chose!) and encouraging both individuals and businesses to contribute to private education funding by deducting donations from taxes.
It really is amazing what reducing government involvement can do in terms of bettering society while upholding liberty — what if we completely eliminated it?
Do you think school choice is the best option for education reform? Share your thoughts below!