I was listening to the Unregistered podcast, and Corey DeAngelis was being interviewed. If you don’t know, DeAngelis is one of the leading advocates of school choice. The interview brought up all the problems I have with how we do grade school education in the country. How badly we serve some of our children with how inefficiently we use tax dollars in government schools.
Yes, I will admit in “Derek’s Grand View,” all education would be privatized. I don’t think the government has the correct incentives to run modern education systems appropriately. Particularly when we look at how they have responded in the last two years with the pandemic. However, that’s not the world we actually live in. There is a national interest in ensuring a minimally educated populace, plus we have built our economic structures on government run daycare that will provide some education. Some schools do provide great education, while others are little more than holding pens for children.
So, what can we do? My option for continuing with government schools is “backpack funding” of schools. Essentially, the dollars follow the students. To get the most out of this will require letting the students go to any school within the district, regardless of where they currently live. It will also require allowing the school leadership make hiring/firing/payroll decisions as well as setting local school policies and goals. This would allow for schools to cater to the parents to attract students. Will there still be holding pen schools? Probably. Malfeasance and corruption happen everywhere, but I think there will at least be more accountability in this method. I also think this would help reward high performing teachers and innovative education models.