Advancing a Free Society

Choice as a Moderating Move to the Center

Friday, April 22, 2011

In our commentary this week, Paul Hill and I propose that the nation move toward a "mixed model" of American education--a blended institutional system that is somewhere in-between the extremes of an all-government system and a free market system, and is designed to take advantage of what both government and markets have to offer.

You needn't be a free-market fanatic to recognize that choice and competition, when properly designed and regulated, have much to contribute--more options for families, stronger incentives for schools, greater potential for dynamism and innovation. Yet the current education system, which is roughly a hundred years old, is an extreme institutional form--an all-government system--that fails to take any serious advantage of these contributions.

Such a system may have made sense a century ago, as the Progressives struggled to eliminate spoils and corruption by installing a more professional set of arrangements. But today, the all-government system they bequeathed us is a relic of the past. And by embracing it as somehow normal and natural, we allow ourselves to be prisoners of that past.

Continue reading Terry Moe at Education Week

(photo credit: Judy Baxter)