Thoughts on economics and liberty

Once a school voucher program is in place, regulatory controls must ease

This blog post will make sense once you're familiar with the school voucher program. I've outlined how it can be used in India in BFN and this blog post. Basically it is a method to shift the burden of funding schools to parents, even though the funds in many cases are provided by the state. That brings in market forces into play and ensures the highest possible quality of education. 

In relation to practical experiments on school vouchers, there have been many of these, and mostly successful one. But as this blog post that I came across (The Online POOP [PARSONS' OPINION ON POLITICS]) shows, governments don't seem to understand how this program should work. (To understand the rest of this blog post, you'll need to read the online poop first.)

The school voucher program in Milwaukee was one of the earliest in the world, but it appears that it has now degenerated into an input-regulated school program, resembling standard government schools program. This is completely contrary to the purpose of having school vouchers in the first place, which is to enable market-based choices to dictate quality. We don't regulate inputs in Bill Gates's factory. We don't even regulate outputs! The market ensures both. The government merely steps away. That is how the best quality is achieved.

In the school voucher model parents must be left free to choose where to send their child, based on the outcomes they expect from the school. In achieving what parents want to achieve for their children, schools would naturally need to consult actively with the parents, thus aligning their objectives with those of the parents. The customer's needs would then drive the school program, not the needs and imaginations of the school administrators.

All that the government can demand (and that is questionable), once school voucher programs are introduced, is that some of the funding could be provided as a reward or incentive payment contingent on certain benchmarks being met. For instance, 20 per cent of the year 12 funding could be linked to successful outcomes: a kind of performance bonus. It must, however, not regulate for inputs, i.e, it should not tell the school what to do.

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