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Education "vouchers" solve the fiscal crisis, and also lead to economic recovery?

Simply open up K-12 education to the market place, with government only playing a role by financing the students with a yearly education check of $8000.

*www.usagovernmentspending.com shows American local governments spending $458.3 billion for K-12 education in 2012.
*(Sir Ken Robinson says this education system is a complete failure)
*The new education cost of $8000 education check to 50 million K-12 students is $400 billion per year
*This saves $58.3 billion
*(a $6000 check would save $158.3 billion)
*The yearly education check allows students(and their parents) to choose how, when, where, and what they learn, and also who teaches them
*The yearly education check of $8000 opens up a $400B/year market to entrepreneurs, teachers, and creatives
*($6000 check opens up a $300B/year market to entrepreneurs, teachers, and creatives)

State fiscal crisis solved, federal fiscal crisis solved, and the new education market leads America's economic recovery.

Thoughts everyone?


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    Gail . 50+

    • +1
    Dec 29 2012: How about taking this a step further. government sets the standards. Require tests. After a child has proven proficiency, the teacher is paid - and not until. No credentials required.

    But I have a problem with any system that charges money for education (no matter whether you pay directly or indirectly through taxes). Let's say that I have information that will make your life MUCH better. But I won't tell you how to do that unless you pay me. And I will never tell you all that you need to know, which is how I get you to keep paying me money.

    I would prefer that ALL education is on-line (volunteer) and really free and interactive.

    If you look at Mozilla, Open Office, Apache, Wikipedia, etc, these were created by volunteer labor, and they have had stunning successes. There is now a movement afloat to put university classes on-line for free and offer certificates of completion that some universities accept. Also consider Dan Pink's TED talk (what motivates people) and understand that science says that money is not a good motivator for anything other than simple tasks that can be learned by rote. It's not a good motivator for teachers who are supposed to be teaching HOW to think rather than WHAT to think.

    By the time you have gone this far, you may be thinking that capitalism is the enemy of education, and you would be correct.

    But in the meantime, pay the teachers according to the number of students that pass proficiency tests AFTER proficiency is achieved, and set HIGH standards - but do not set time limits. It may take some time to learn what a student's best learning model is. If I hire a plumber, I do not pay him/her before the work is done. Do the same for teachers.
    • Dec 30 2012: Ted Lover,
      I like your plumbing analogy. You want to pay a plumber when he solves your personal plumbing problem to a quality of your liking.

      So the same for education, right? No government standards. I don't understand why you would want politicians writing test requirements and standards for your own education.

      What if a section of government called the "Department of Defense" set the education standards and required the tests? How about those politicians? Is that government?

      Government is politicians.
      -Would you also want politicians inside your house mandating plumbing requirements set by politicians and then testing your plumbing to their specifications every year?
      -Do you trust politicians more than you trust yourself when it comes to knowing plumbing results of your own house?
      -So why do you want politicians making decisions for you about your own education?
    • Dec 31 2012: On TED Lover's point about paying for education: Although tying monetary gain to education does not sit well with me either, the public option works the same way, just indirectly. We pay taxes and states fund schools. Money will always be necessary to maintain educational organizations. Also, Petar's model avoids the problems of for-profit educations when you consider that it could include non-profit organizations such as TED. By privatizing public or non-profit education, there is a great potential for better education. As an example - KIPP schools around the country are private and non-profit, but are flipping the graduation and college entrance stats in areas with typically "less successful" stats (determining what success means is another issue in and of itself). Also, correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems implicit in Petar's idea that the $8000 would be enough to cover a decent education at for-profit or non-profit education, as long as the free market had enough people working to figure out what works and what doesn't work fairly quickly.

      On standards: Government standards can be deceptive. So what if out students are a little bit worse at math, what if what they sacrifice in math scores is made up for by proficiency in a more subjective field like history? Broad standards tend to focus on numbers, because they are easier to measure, which in my opinion undermines the other areas which are just as, if not more, valuable. For example, history can teach values that create more globally empathetic and compassionate people. Standards should be left for the people to decide in a free market since they can decide what works and what doesn't work, even in the more ambiguous subjects.

      On materials: I look forward to more free, interactive, communal online educational materials. More accessibility and greater/potentially international collaboration will have infinitely valuable consequences!
    • Jan 2 2013: Ted Lover,
      The move towards online is fabulous.

      Hands-on learning will always have capital costs that require money. Your religious conviction to online education is very strong. Painters use paint, scientists use laboratories, photographers use cameras.
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        Gail . 50+

        • +1
        Jan 2 2013: My use of the term ALL when I said "ALL learning" was overstated. I do not expect an elementary school student to get any or even most learning on line (age dependent). By the time a student reaches high school, things are different.

        Our public educational system makes little distinction between how a first grader is taught and how a high school senior is taught. This is so wrong!!!!!

        I am not a proponent of a society that is money-based, so my views can only be understood from that context. I find it abhorrent that if I have knowledge, I will only share it with you if you pay me - even if that knowledge will save your life or give you a far better life.

        Look at Mozilla, Apache, OpenOffice, Wikipedia, etc. These start-ups did not depend on money as the most important detail. They depended on volunteers who were good at what they did and were willing to help write software that was available for free to all who wanted it. Look how successful they are.

        I understand that web sites require servers, and that parts require manual labor, but if the part serves an important public need, I'm pretty convinced that volunteer workers could be convinced to serve that need.

        Free on-line schools are now popping up thanks to volunteers who see the value. I surely hope that the trend continues.

        Then again, there are places like Minnesota that made it illegal for people to use these free on-line schools. Public outrage forced a change in the law, but can you imagine a state making free learning illegal? There are too many who would not be well served by education being free - teachers being a large part of them.
        • Jan 4 2013: Now your comments make sense.

          Wow, I am curious now. I think that you mean you find profiteers, speculators, manipulators, and extortioners abhorrent? And you find people who do things out of philanthropy good? "Money" is just a store of value, unit of account, and medium of exchange?

          Wikipedia asks for millions of dollars every year to keep their site running and to employ people. With vouchers, you could simply choose a Wikipedia education for your child, and send that $8000 to Wikipedia. And if you were able to put together volunteers for online K-12 education services, you would likely put many for-profits out of business.
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        Jan 4 2013: This may sound odd or repulsive to you, but I do not see philanthropy as being inherently good. But neither do I see it as being bad. I don't believe in good/evil or their derivations.

        I am also a proponent of a moneyless society (including barterless, where barter replaces coinage). Having studied the history of money and how it is used to create scarcity for the many for the benefit of the few, I see it as being directly responsible for the poor state of education today.
        • Jan 4 2013: From my read of history, money and decision making for education has been in the hands of the politicians. I think the politicians are directly responsible for the poor state of education today, so it's time to give the people a try by putting money and choice into the hands of the people.

          For a moneyless and barterless society, self sufficient farmers fit. Specialization relies on trade, so that would be out. The British love making societies and having committees... The Amish population doubles every 20 years, do they fit?

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