Stossel: Private School Success Around the World

In South Korea, the best teachers are paid like star athletes. Why can't U.S. schools reward talent?


Star athletes earn far more than bench warmers—why can't schools adopt the same approach to remunerating talent? In most U.S. public schools, compensation is determined by one factor: years served in the classroom.

In South Korea, the best instructors are treated like star athletes. Some earn millions.

The late Andrew Coulson, a former senior fellow at the Cato Institute, partnered with the Free to Choose Network to create the film School, Inc., which examines some of these free market successes abroad.

But School, Inc. is three hours! So John Stossel made a two-part short-attention-span version. In part two, Coulson looks at private school innovation abroad. And he travels to India, where poor citizens pay to send their kids to private schools to keep them out of the dreadful public system.

Coulson passed away in 2016 following a 15-month battle with brain cancer. For more on his contribution to the field, read his classic 1999 book, Market Education: The Unknown History.

Produced by Maxim Lott. Edited by Joshua Swain.

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  1. “Why can’t U.S. schools reward talent?”

    Because Unions are about protecting mediocrity, and Progressivism needs it because its tenets will not stand up to intelligent scrutiny.

  2. “It’s better that everyone’s kids be forced to go to sub-standard public schools so that everyone will be ‘equal’ than have some kids to non-shitty schools.” /progtard

    1. Equality is the lowest common denominator. Besides that, you can’t have taxes fund religions schools. It says right there in the Constitution that there is a separation of Church and State. Article mumbledysquat or something.

      1. Too bad the Constitution doesn’t also have a separation of school and state.

    2. ^ This is actually what they say. I’ve heard this in conversations many times, almost verbatim.

      1. And many of them send their kids to private schools.

  3. How does one measure talent among teachers? Teachers with good students or with students with parents who give a shit will appear to be better than teachers who are stuck with dunces and kids with parents who are not involved. It’s really more parental involvement than anything else. And teachers cannot control that. What we really need to do is give teachers the power to force parents to take better care of their children. Control, not choice, is the answer.

    1. no, what needs to be done is take the “What we really need to do” out of it all entirely. Parents decide whatever they want to do and do it. “We” leave them alone. Sadly, this will never happen.

      1. Next thing you’ll say that I shouldn’t be forced to pay for the education of other people’s children and that would just be crazy talk.

      2. It’s the same problem with asking “Who makes the best product?” There’s no absolute metric that says IPhone < Galaxy S or something. They just compete and people choose what they want. In doing so we do not have to make any attempts to latch onto some grand objective ideal.

        1. I think this is perhaps the great insight of Popper for science, and it is as relevant here.

          We have a system in place where people compete their ideas against each other, and some of them will win and be honed and improved as time goes on. In doing so we grow better, and at no point do we have to make a claim to having an objective truth. Objective truth is likely unprovable, all we can is argue and slowly produce the best system that we can produce. In doing so, we can slowly approximate some truth.

    2. If students are randomly assigned teachers you could track their grades as they move to their next teacher. Take 40 students and randomly assign 20 to Groups “A” and “B”. Next year take the same 40 kids jumble them up and randomly assign them to new teachers or Groups “C” and “D”. If, for example, the “A” teacher was better than the “B” teacher we should see higher academic achievement from the former “A” students at the beginning on the new school year regardless of now being in the “C” or “D” group.

      Lot’s of potential criticisms for this idea, here are a few…
      – 40 students is too small a sample for high quality results.
      – Parental involvement is a significant predictor of student success.
      – Really only measures 1 teacher against another.

      Not the greatest way to build metrics, but then again I’m a cube monkey waiting for the heat death of the universe not statistician.

    3. Yep. And the level of “talent” it takes to be a teacher is vastly overrated. Especially by the teachers.

    4. And yet somehow, people do this when finding private music teachers, sports coaches, personal trainers, life coaches, continuing professional education lecturers, rally racing driving instructors, etc. But when it comes to kids and the 3 R’s, we shit our pants and say the rules don’t apply.

    5. “Control, not choice, is the answer.” – Joe Stalin

  4. Private schools that get to pick their students are going to have better results than public or charter schools that have to take everyone (ESL and special needs kids included). Even charter schools that have a lottery have a built-in advantage over public schools if you get assigned to a public school by default, since they may get more motivated families.

    1. ESL kids can attend ESL private schools, or parents can choose to go full immersion. We have those now.

      Special needs can attend private institutions that cater to them or government run facilities – after all, isn’t part of local government to take care of the most vulnerable members of society? This is similar to saying “pre-existing chronic health issues mean we need single payer.” No, they need risk pools, and the government can handle that small slice of the population. No need to destroy the healthcare market for outliers.

      I’d like to see kids get an education. If the choice is all but the rich in shitty public schools or some non-rich able to get into charter programs, wouldn’t we rather at least some disadvantaged kids get a real education?

    2. If parents had some skin in the game, maybe they’d be a little more motivated.

  5. I’m glad that those students are able to go to private school for what is I assume, a low amount in India. If more of them show up, it might help improve India as a whole and provide those kids with a better future.

    Also, definitely would Ekta Sodha.

  6. I lived in Japan almost 20 years and put my daughter through school in Japan. They pay their teachers very well too. What they don’t do is have plush schools with central air and heating. Instead, the students sweat in the summer and freeze in the winter in buildings made of cement blocks.There are no multi-million dollar media centers and cafeterias. They also don’t have expensive sports stadiums and athletic teams that only benefit the few. That is how they pay their teachers so well. And yes, they do have teacher’s unions and tenure.

    1. They also have a cohesive culture that values education, very strong family structures, and BS from the kids isn’t tolerated.

  7. And where are we supposed to get these millions to pay teachers? Not a worry really since teaching will be done by AI and all the school system will need is behavior monitors for discipline issues.

    1. “If you’re good at something, never do it for free”

      -the Scholastic Artificial Intelligence Union (SAIU)

    2. Well, given that we spend upwards of $15k/year/kid in tax money now, I’d imagine we’d get it from there.

    3. You realize that we spend more per student than pretty much every other country in the world, don’t you? How is it that other places can afford to pay their teachers well with less money per student than we expend?

      Oh yeah… that’s right, the myth about low pay for teachers is generally just that: a myth. In all but 3 states, the average teacher salary is over $45,000 a year. In over half, it’s over $50,000. In the top 10, it’s over $60,000, and the top 5 are closing in on $70K to $75K a year. That’s not chump change. The entry level wages are lower, but that’s true for almost every sector of the country. When you consider the fact that teachers work about 10 months out the year. And yes, I know this for a fact, being the son of an educator.

      But that being said, if we want to pay teachers more, then privatize and let the market sort it out. The current crop of teachers are almost uniformly drawn from the bottom quartile in GPAs. We need to attract better teachers, but who the hell wants to work in such a toxic environment when there are much better places to work that will likely pay better. (Like I said, not chump change, but you can do better for less stress in many career paths)

  8. I hope to watch the three-series film from the late Mr. Coulson soon.…..ol_inc.php

  9. Very valid reasons which behind the private school success around the world. These reasons actually base of facts and no one can deny these reasons because it actually facts and we should accept it. Infect, we should work on Govt school to meet the private schools. However, I want bid4papers service but yes i like the approach of publish this article and selection of topic is also good.

  10. private schools guys are very aware of present technology, they are Techholicz. and this will help them in progress in thier life.

  11. Very Thanks for sharing this knowledge with us.
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