Relentless Pursuit of Wisdom and Liberty

The weblog companion of, dedicated to pondering, "If Patrick Henry could see us now..."

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

LttE - Privatize Brea-Olinda

Submitted to the Orange County Register on 6/24/2006:

Anyone interested in the re-admittance of the suspended Brea-Olinda students - including teachers, parents, students, and the angry letter-writers who deplore the school board’s decision - should step back and take a cold, dispassionate look at the situation.

The simple fact of the matter is that the district board was forced to re-admit the students because the voting public has – in its infinite wisdom – implemented a public school system that, being run by the government, has created an entitlement mentality among school-age kids and their parents. “Free school for all” (though the accuracy of the “free” part is debatable) is the mantra of this entitlement mentality, and it’s accomplished on the backs of taxes taken from people whether they have school-age kids or not.

Now picture how a privatized school system, free of the chains that come with state and federal funding, might approach the situation. As a privately-owned and –run business, it would “reserve the right to refuse service to anyone” and could decide to admit or expel students on whatever grounds they wish – from students’ drawings to the length of their hair. Worry not about wanton discrimination – for every reason one school can think of to expel a student, there will be another school that doesn’t care about that reason and would cheerfully accept the revenue that student’s enrollment would bring in.

Consider then the other parties of interest. Parents would be free to choose which school to enroll their children in, based on a host of factors like disciplinary policy or whether it teaches evolution or intelligent design. Teachers would be more free to choose at which schools to work and administrators would be more free to employ the teachers they wanted.

Sounds an awful lot like the real world, doesn’t it? The real world has worked pretty well for the past hundred years or so, and at the end of the day, isn’t it the real world that we’re trying to prepare our students for anyway?