What do history's most notorious despots have in common with many of the flag-waving, patriotic politicians of our day? Both groups rise to power through the exploitation of fear, which has become a societal plague. There have been widespread casualties. We need an antidote. Feardom offers its readers a much-needed immunization.
photo credit: Rachel and [sometimes]
I’ve been intrigued recently to hear people say that our current educational system does have competition. Private and charter schools abound, and many parents homeschool their children as well. Truly, some argue, there is plenty of competition in the system, allowing parents to choose what’s best for their children.
But is this accurate? Is there true competition in our educational system?
Allow me to give an example to clarify why I think that true competition does not currently exist. Imagine two major competitors vying for your business. They desire to make the best product to earn your money, and grow their business. For this example, let’s use Coca-Cola and Pepsi as our two competitors.
Now, left alone, these two companies might compete fairly, and consumers would be allowed to choose whichever they prefer. But imagine if the government mandated that all citizens fund the operations of Pepsi through taxes. As a taxpayer, a portion of my wages would be reserved to be sent to Pepsi. That amount may be equal to or greater than the amount I would have otherwise spent on the product of either of the companies.
Now, with a reduced paycheck, I am still free to choose between the two products. Since I am one of their sponsors, Pepsi offers me a greatly discounted product. I am enticed to side with them because they already have my money. It would be too cost-prohibitive for me to fund Pepsi while also paying full price for Coke.
The choice here is obvious. Many would choose to patronize Pepsi since their money has already been appropriated, and because they are afforded a significant discount as a result.
Thus, in this example, there is no true competition. An economic handicap is created by forcing the taxpayer to subsidize a certain group. Only through economic liberty (letting the taxpayer retain the money to use as he/she sees fit) does true competition exist.
Such is the case in our current educational system. Parents are forced through taxation to fund the operations of public schools. Sure, they are free to send their kids to private school or homeschool them… but in doing so, they are paying far more than they should.
True competition in education will only exist when parents are refunded all of their money (not a measly voucher) used by public schools, so that they may choose how best to educate their child.