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Tuesday, March 3, 2020

CURMUDGUCATION: Free Market Winners and Losers

CURMUDGUCATION: Free Market Winners and Losers

Free Market Winners and Losers

One of the foundational arguments of modern ed reform is that free market forces would make education work better, that having to compete would make public and private schools work harder, smarter, better and create a rising tide of educational awesomeness that would lift all boats.

This is unlikely for a variety of reasons, but the biggest problem with the free market when it comes to public education is that by its very competitive nature, it picks winners and losers. And that's actually a couple of problems.

First, it picks winners and losers among the providers. A study by the Network for Public Education has found a staggering amount of federal money spent on charters that fail, or even pre-fail by collapsing before they even open. For free market fans, that's a feature, not a bug. In their conception of the education market, schools come and go as those that sink to the bottom are pushed out of business, to be replaced by potentially superior new competitors.  Some are sincere in this deep belief in the markets, and some are simply opportunists; when a reformster complains about the "closed system" or "education monopoly," what they mean is not a system that denies students choice, but a system that denies entrepreneurs the a chance to get in there and hustle for a piece of that mountain of sweet, sweet tax dollars.

The problem with the model of churning and burning our way to excellence is not just that the constant churn, the repeated tossing of students out to the curb with a hearty "Good luck finding CONTINUE READING: 
CURMUDGUCATION: Free Market Winners and Losers