India

Lessons from Abroad

School choice only helps education

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Read this column in the Chicago Tribune.

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  1. In the education of our children we have forsaken the power of the free market in favor of the inefficiency and heavy handedness of government control. Is it any wonder we still have a lack luster educational system?

  2. Ladies and gents, public funding of k-12 schooling isn’t going to go away. Repeat after me. Vouchers, vouchers, vouchers. The call for national testing standards leaves a foul taste. Really, do we need more reasons to denigrate Arkansas and Mississippi?

  3. So let us inagine a school in India is so bad that 75% of thr parents take their kids out, leaving the school virtually empty. What happens to the school? Does it continue operating with empty classrooms? Or is it closed? Or what happens?
    So India has a “robust” private school market. what about kidsd whose parents have no money (or no desire to spend it) to pay private school tuition?

  4. Why is it that, even when making a point that has everything going for it, Dalmia undercuts her argument with superficiality or intellectual dishonesty? The vast majority of school-going children in India (whether in private or public schools) are in what are called “state syllabus” programs, meaning they do standardized testing at the state level, with syllabi and testing standards set by the various state governments. The idea of federal standards and local accountability is a fine one, but India is not as good an example of this as Dalmia suggests.

  5. Re India: you’re right that their school system may be an imperfect model for us. I don’t know much about the structure, beyond anecdotes from friends — although it does seem telling that linear algebra and multivariable calculus are standard classes in Indian public high schools.

    The point of Dalmia’s article stands, though. Students stuck in failing schools need a way to get into better ones. Closing the bad schools (as in No Child Left Behind) often harms the students it’s supposed to help by leaving them with even worse options than they had before. What we need is a combination of vouchers and national tests: vouchers so poor and middle-class parents actually have a chance to send their students to the best (public or private) schools they can, and tests so that it’s absolutely clear which schools perform best.

    Public school is not free in Chicago. To get a decent education you need $600,000 for a house in Naperville. If parents would demand it, we could have a better system right now.

  6. school choice doesn’t work. i live in milwaukee and we have had school choice here since 1990. still, we have the greatest disparity in education between the different races in the country. school choice doesn’t work. it was designed by the economist milton friedman (who was a staunch opponent of public schools) in the 1950s. it was designed with in intention of getting rid of the public school system, because friedman believed education should be ran by the “free market”. milwaukee recently did a study and it proved school choice does not improve the public schools and kids aren’t doing any better at these charter schools. i believe people are disingenuous when they say they care about poor people. no one wanted to pay for welfare so poor people could feed their kids, soon no one will want to pay for vouchers so poor kids can go to school. in milwaukee, the taxpayer pays more for students involved in school choice than the public school system.

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