Liberally Conservative

"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free....... ~Ronald Reagan~

Monday, December 05, 2005

Free Advice for Louisiana Dunces

Milton Friedman, the 1976 Nobel Laureate in economics, and senior research fellow at the Hoover Institution, has some sound and free advice for Louisiana in their post-Katrina opportunity:
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New Orleans schools were failing for the same reason that schools are failing in other large cities, because the schools are owned and operated by the government. Government decides what is to be produced and who is to consume its products, generally assigning students to schools by their residence. The only recourse of dissatisfied parents is to change their residence or give up the government subsidy and pay for their children's schooling twice, once in taxes and once in tuition. This top-down organization works no better in the U.S. than it did in the Soviet Union or East Germany.
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Rather than simply rebuild the destroyed schools, Louisiana, which has taken over the New Orleans school system, should take this opportunity to empower the consumers, i.e., the students, by providing parents with vouchers of substantial size, say three-quarters of per-pupil spending in government schools, usable only for educational expenses. Parents would then be free to choose the schooling they considered best for their children. This would introduce competition, which is missing from the present system. It would be a move to a bottom-up organization, which has proved so successful in the rest of our society.
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Unions to the contrary, the reform would achieve the purposes of Louisiana far better than the present system. The state's objective is the education of its children, not the construction of buildings or the running of schools. Those are means not ends. The state's objective would be better served by a competitive educational market than by a government monopoly. Producers of educational services would compete to attract students. Parents, empowered by the voucher, would have a wide range to choose from. As in other industries, such a competitive free market would lead to improvements in quality and reductions in cost.
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If, by a political miracle, Louisiana could overcome the opposition of the unions and enact universal vouchers, it would not only serve itself, it would also render a service to the rest of the country by providing a large scale example of what the market can do for education when permitted to operate.
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We doubt the politicians have the intellect to understand this nor the intestinal fortitude to get it done.
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2 Comments:

Blogger Willie said...

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12/05/2005 11:08:00 AM  
Blogger Liberally Conservative said...

All Spam placed in Trash!

12/07/2005 10:03:00 AM  

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