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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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  • Jan 12 2013: Your goal is to spare money and stimulate economy, but the fact is that there are hidden assumption in your reasoning, which is that the new educational system of choice is equivalent or better than the previous one in preparing the individual. If you don't prove this assumption, you may risk to produce more half-prepared/half-matured students or scarcely effective entrepreneurs. In fact nowadays the educational system has a big role into shaping the mind of a young guy, unlike in the past when the family nucleus had it.

    The story you tell us may even look great, but one should be cautious before taking such a decision.. ..if you do choose wrong is the education and grow up of millions of people to be affected by it, and will take a lot of time to recover. Even communism and "invisible hand of the market" work greatly in theory, but then one looks at the practice and see that in one case people mindset didn't react as expected, in the other there are well-known externalities and "market failures" that require further solutions. And when one asks: what do we do about it? People nods and answers "nothing".

    Does exist a country with only private schools that uses this system? Because you can't compare performances of private schools in USA, when they live along public schools and can allow themselves to select students on their state.. ..I'm sure they don't leave out the rich guys nor the clever guys to whom certainly there are already scholarships, so having good performances over all is not much surprising.

    To me you're too much hysterically oriented toward "efficiency and better marks", like the current mania toward PIL as a measure of wealth. Sometimes one has to realize that things are just good enough, you grow up with this system and even though you may have not been the most brilliant guy in the classroom or in the country you don't say that you're useless or unworthy for your country. So let it be, for the certainty of goodness of current results.
    • Jan 12 2013: This is an intriguing thought.

      I feel that there is a place for private schools and charter schools, as well as home-schooling, in society as a whole. We must not forget that public schooling is still the backbone of most education systems, including the United States.

      The fervor around charter schools and vouchers is admirable until we look at the issues with those types of schools. I have read research, and I apologize for not citing it, that suggests that a student will do roughly the same in both types of education, public and private, and there is no real advantage, especially if they are middle or upper levels of background and ability. The advantage can come from the low income/low performing students.

      If we want to cater to those who are most deserving, or most in need of this assistance, we must cater to the low income populations, where vouchers, charters, etc. can have the greatest impact on improving their lives. Yet, this is the place that is least served by educational opportunities. The good programs don't go into those areas. And, more importantly, even though the programs may be valuable, the kids can't get to the schools in any easy manner. Access becomes the greatest challenge. So, changing the manner in which education is presented is wonderful, but if you aren't going to change the "where" then the issue will only compound itself. Those who can most benefit won't and the gaps will increase.
    • Jan 12 2013: Voucher research study results for Everett and Robert:

      "out of 17 studies examining how vouchers affect academic achievement in public schools, 16 showed improvement. None showed that vouchers harm public schools. The review found that "every empirical study ever conducted in Milwaukee, Florida, Ohio, Texas, Maine and Vermont finds that voucher programs in those places improved public school."

      Washington DC longitudinal study:
      "In Washington, D.C., the young Opportunity Scholarship Program "significantly improved students' chances of graduating from high school," according to the Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences. Both parents and students reported higher satisfaction and rated schools safer if the student was offered an OSP scholarship."

      Milwaukee longitudinal study:
      "Dr. John Warren of the University of Minnesota found that students in the MPCP had an 82% graduation rate in 2009, compared with 70% in Milwaukee Public Schools. MPCP ranked higher than MPS in graduation rate in six of the seven years in the study. A report from the University of Arkansas estimated that MPCP saved taxpayers $37.2 million in 2009, because the size of the voucher is significantly smaller than per-pupil spending in MPS."

      Senate testimony elaborating on the voucher studies and research methodology:

      Summary of the above testimony by Senator Piccola:
      "Let me see if I can summarize: parents are more satisfied with school choice, schools that children choose are less segregated, it saves money, kids do better, improves public schools... why would anyone be against this?"
      • Jan 12 2013: Man, I've read the entire discussion and already have seen those research papers.

        You should really read my counter-argument again.
        What you brought here is of no use and no help.
        • Jan 12 2013: The assumption you gave me: "...which is that the new educational system of choice is equivalent or better than the previous one in preparing the individual."

          Facts about school voucher (school choice) programs shown from studies over the last 20 years:
          "Let me see if I can summarize: parents are more satisfied with school choice, schools that children choose are less segregated, it saves money, kids do better, improves public schools..."

          Did I miss something?
      • Jan 13 2013: Yes, you missed the second part of my post. Either you're blind and can't see it, or you want to hide the pitfalls of your proposal.

        "Let's give a check to every student and let the invisible hand of the market get the best out of it" is just naive as a child could ever come up with an idea. How do you deal with "Market Failure" in educational system, when it will arise? (Because IT WILL arise as in any other field, where at least is much less important)

        You can't claim you spare money unless you prove that the externalities of this new system will require less money from the public state than the current externalities.

        You can't compare results measured in the current reality, with a totally different one. Those reports only prove that Private Schools offer ALONG Public Schools offer is a good combination.

        You still did not demonstrate why we ever need to change system, if ever. Can students performances REALLY become significantly better, just because you change the school system? Or are there psychological aspects, societal aspects, that no system can control itself? You're just assuming the mindset of people will play well along your new system. That's the error communist made, and even the public school system: or do you think they knew from the beginning that low-inspired teachers and students don't keen to study will show up sooner or later?

        As my teacher of Innovation and Entrepreneurship said, a good measure of choice is when the guy offering a new idea does know all the reasons his new product may fail to be found keen from the potential customers, why people mindset may react different from expected, how market competition could make things go wrong, how all the venture capital money may be doomed to be wasted. You don't criticize your own product, that's a big clue for failure.
        • Jan 14 2013: Robert,
          The reason why education is such a strong topic is because the centrally planned K-12 education of America has failed! So we are already dealing with the market failure of K-12 education. So how did the Soviets deal with market failure of their centrally planned market? How did the East Germans deal with the market failure of their centrally planned market? They moved towards free markets.

          Free markets were the solution for the failed states of central planning. Free markets resulted in the countries being better off. I project the same exact thing will happen when American moves towards free market education, and move away from their failed centrally planned education system. More choice, more freedom, better education, better prices... North Korea stayed centrally planned.

          The 20 studies demonstrate that vouchers are better, but you seem to be so mesmerized by the current system you won't believe the facts stated in those studies: "parents are more satisfied with school choice, schools that children choose are less segregated, it saves money, kids do better, improves public schools..."

          Did your Innovation and Entrepreneurship teacher teach you about product development? There is a phase called idea generation. You must have been asleep?
      • Jan 14 2013: Your "The reason why ... etc" is an Ex-Post story reading. The premise does not imply the conclusion in any reasonable way.

        First "Market Failure" refers to the failures of free market, not to the failures of economy with central planning, which have a different name. This concept and keyword is well known, so I assume that for the third time you have been able to avoid my question once again, in a deliberate fashion.

        As a side note, most of those regions which had "planned economy" nowadays are far away from "free markets", and certainly are not in a good shape.. ..I will assume you took this example but you didn't really meant it.

        Please, remind me in which statement I've ever praised the current system so much to look mesmerized for it. I certainly didn't. What I've done so far is constructively criticize your suggestion, not do demolish it, but rather to see if it is feasible in practice.

        The last statement is very impolite from you, but I saw this coming. I won't complain, although I ask myself what you're doing here if you are the kind of guy which questions the competence of others when they don't agree with you.

        Looking at the over all discussion of this page and other posts, I now understand that either I can't explain myself or you don't want to hear what I say. In any case, there's no benefit in trying again to let you see what I can see with my own eyes. Therefore, I quit without any real answer to my questions. Good luck.
        • Jan 14 2013: Robert, constructive?
          1. Your comment about Ex-Soviet states is completely asinine. East Germans, Eastern Europeans, and even Russians suffered terribly in the Soviet Union.
          2. Market failure is about inefficiencies in market places. Not about "failures". What do you think a business does when there is an inefficiency? They fix it or go out of business.
          3. I gave you facts that undermine the entire assumptions of your posts, you have chosen to not believe those studies. Those are gold standard voucher studies.
          4. As pointed out by Varlan, your use of a study "A Garbage Can Model of Organizational Choice" which you even say you are ignorant about, was bullshit and unrelated to K-12 education.
          5. Criticizing is destructive by the very definition. Have your clueless "innovation" teacher read Napoleon Hill. It's called "constructive suggestion", and idea generation phases are solely for idea generation, not the brainless "what if" "what if" perfect solution fallacy scenarios. What if there is an inefficiency somewhere? Fix it. "What about problems" Fix them. You are using this as an endless loop and simply justifying your own emotions because you are worried about the unknowns just like all the communists who never saw what was on the other side of the wall.
          6. Now that you "quit" further remarks would make you dishonest.
      • Jan 14 2013: As I said, I quit the argument. But I may be eligible at least to answer your point.
        1. Never said that those countries did not suffer under Soviet Union (nor the contrary). In fact I didn't even mention the Soviet Union.
        2. Not really.
        3. Not really.
        4. I said "similar statistics" and "may find", I gave no certainty since I was aware that it was long time since the last time I read it and I did not want to check it out. Hence I knew it could have been not related and made it clear through those words. I just wanted to help out Varian, by the way. In addition, I never used that document to sustain any of my arguments.
        5. No need for a reply.
        6. I took note of it, thank you.

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