RE: Idea: Deregulate the school industry

Ted L. Childs (tchilds@cyberhighway.net)
Fri, 30 Aug 1996 22:02:44 -0400

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From: weiss[SMTP:weiss@flash.net]
Sent: Friday, August 30, 1996 10:48 PM
To: discuss-sudbury-model@world.std.com
Subject: Idea: Deregulate the school industry

Hi Everyone. I haven't written to the list much because I have never =
read
any books on alternative schools, and I thought people on the list might =
be
too far over my head.

However, since discussion has dropped off so much, I thought I would =
throw
in a possible topic of discussion.

"What do you think about deregulating the school industry?"
(Don't just reply to me, but feel free to communicate in all directions)

I hope you will excuse my use of business terminology, but I have an =
MBA, so
it's more comfortable for me. The reason I say 'deregulate' is to mean =
more
than just allow schools to open and compete using existing =
governmentally
approved models. I think that because education is so important to the
future, improvement through innovation must be one of the first =
priorities.
That has never happened, is not happening, and will never happen under =
the
control of a single entity, whether that entity is religious, =
governmental,
or whatever. There must, in my opinion, be freedom for new methods to =
be
presented for people to chose, if they want.

As a practical matter, I have an idea about how this might be =
implemented.
But, before I put out my idea, I caution that I haven't considered it =
for
long or discussed it with many people, so improve it if you can! My =
idea is
to take the average amount per student in the governmental budgets (that
would include federal, state, and local) and distribute it as a voucher =
to
each child's parent(s). The parents could then give the voucher for =
each
month, semester, year, or whatever to the school they choose for their
child(ren) to attend. If the school were private, it could redeem the
voucher for cash from the governmental entity in charge of =
disbursements.
If the school were a public one, it would do the same.

The reason I think this could work well is that I read a study recently =
done
in the northeast (I think Pennsylvania or New Jersey) that showed =
private
schools in that area averaging about $3000 per student per year and =
showed
public schools in that area averaging about $6000 per student per year. =
Has
anyone read or heard about any other similar studies, whatever its =
results?

--Aaron

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Aaron,

Don't worry about terminology. Too many school people already do that =
too much.
Deregulation is probably a good idea. Milton Friedman, the economist, =
discussed the voucher system a few years back. It is still being beaten =
about in political, educational and other circles.

I believe the idea has merit, but doesn't give some of us a good feeling =
about the deregulation part. I'm afraid there would still be strings =
(regulations) attached even with vouchers. Perhaps they would be fewer =
if people really wanted alternatives. Maybe some people would like the =
degregulations idea, though. I'm finding interest in alternatives here =
in Georgia and it seems to be growing. Who knows!
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