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.
(photo credit: Judy Baxter)