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One would admire the incurable optimism of statists, were it not for their paucity of understanding of why markets are such valuable institutions. Yes, I'm tilting at the venerable likes of Milton F. Friedman.

"School Choice" is at best a pale emulation of a free market. Consider a true market, such as the market for food. Who makes all the important decisions about the food you eat, Dear Reader? If you're not in a prison or hospital, you do. Organic? Vegan? Meat-eater? Two, three, five meals per day? Farm-fresh or processed within an inch of its life? At a formal setting, or slouching on the couch? All your decision, dear reader. Provided by a tiny local market or a big chain? Your choice. Provided by the government? Seldom a choice; certainly not the default choice.

Europe has "school choice" programs. These have led to private schools being nearly swallowed up by government regulations. Ask Swedes about the freedom of their private schools, which accept government dollars.

Looking back in American history, there was a time when government schools were more market-like. Participation was voluntary; most parents paid fees to use government schools. This is probably the direction we should pursue.

One of the most egregious problems is almost never spoken of: that the activity of schools is heavily over-constrained.


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