Monday, February 20, 2012

Celebrate diversity

Over at redefinED, Ashley Berner says the U.S. could learn a few things from other nations about educational diversity. And in his latest Journal Record column, Andrew Spiropoulos, OCPA's Milton Friedman Distinguished Fellow, actually touches on the same theme. His piece is about the provision of social services, but applies perfectly to education as well. "The solution is not a massive increase in spending," he writes.
We must improve services, not spend more on what doesn't work. What can the government do to provide better services? It can partner with the private institutions of civil society, particularly our religious organizations, which already provide many of these services and do it more effectively than government agencies. ...

There are ways ... for government to help provide these services while minimizing the danger it will interfere with the operation of the religious group. It can refrain from providing direct funding to the religious organization and, instead, provide individuals the money to seek support from any organization they choose.

A person leaving prison, for example, should be able to choose the program that will work best for him. The religious provider has little connection to the government and should not alter what it is doing in any important way. All the government does is subsidize the person needing help. It should then let the rest of us do what it cannot -- treat people as human beings, not the clients of a bureaucracy.

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