Mr Pilkington wrote:When schools no longer have to raise standards to attract pupils, that's a problem. Also border lining monopoly.
This argument is built on the premise that schools need to "attract" pupils away from competing schools, like a business needs to attract customers away from competing businesses. This premise is flawed for two reasons. The first is that education is mandated by the government
. It is literally illegal in the USA to drop out of school under a certain age. That is, children are going to be in school whether they like or not. When the customers in a market are forced to buy, the shitty, low-rent providers are going to get business no matter what. The solution isn't to keep shutting down the low performance schools and then overcrowding the next lowest rung on the ladder, but to invest in the poorly performing schools to bring them up to speed. The second problem is that education is not a luxury or a commodity, it is a right
. The idea of choosing a different product works great when you're talking about televisions, cars, or dining out. It doesn't work so well when you're talking about a right that is fundamental to the functioning of our government.
And if you bring up that applying free market principles to education would solve these problems by raising the standards of education, you're not thinking about the practical consequences enough. You said yourself that it would inevitably create bargain bin schools. However, if education is so important, why does any student deserve to go to a shitty school - which you admitted you necessarily exist?
Furthermore, the "choice" to take your child out of a crappy school and use a voucher to enter a better school isn't a realistic option for many families
. Yes, middle class and higher families can plan around that sort of thing, but working class and lower families probably can't. A free market of education is going to further stratify students into the "haves" who can manage to get into a high quality school and the "have-nots" who are stuck in the crappy ones regularly getting shut down.
That said, I do believe that the American education system in its current state is flawed. The argument is that applying free market economics is going to exacerbate those problems, not solve them.