Thursday, March 19, 2009

Who's committed to an educated public?

Supporters of school choice are sometimes accused of wanting to "dismantle public education." But in reality, school choice advocates are more committed to public education than Sandy Garrett, the OEA president, or Frosty Troy. As Andrew Coulson explains:
"Public Education" is a set of ideals. It is not a particular institution. It is the ideal that all children should have access to a good education, regardless of family income; that schools should prepare students not just for success in private life but for participation in public life; and that our schools should foster harmonious relations among the various groups making up our pluralistic society — or at the very least not create unnecessary tensions among them.

School choice advocates are more committed to those ideals than is anyone wedded to the current district-based school system, because that system is inferior in all of the above respects to a universally accessible education marketplace. This is documented in the literature review linked-to [here], in my book Market Education: The Unknown History, and in the work of James Tooley, E.G. West, my Cato colleagues, and many others.

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