| January 6, 2014

It’s a new year, and ‘public education’ is changing

You may have noticed that some Oklahomans are terribly concerned with this matter of increasing per-pupil spending in the public school system. And though I don’t happen to share that concern, last Sunday in the state’s largest newspaper, The Oklahoman, I offered some suggestions on how to do just that. For example, school choice — vouchers, tax credits, and education savings accounts — can incentivize parents to choose nonpublic schools, thus increasing per-pupil funding in the government’s schools.

In fact, the very idea of public education is changing, as I point out in the January 1, 2014 issue of the Oklahoma Gazette. “Public education” simply means we want an “educated public” — and it doesn’t matter if that education takes place in a traditional public school, a charter school, a private school, a virtual school, or even a home school. After all,

A heavily unionized government monopoly is not the best system for delivering mail — or education. And just as email and Facebook are killing the government’s postal monopoly, disruptive innovation is coming to education, too. In the Information Age, parents have more choices than ever. Pennsylvania state Sen. Anthony Williams, a liberal African-American Democrat, calls it an “antiquated belief” that the existing public school system has “the right of first refusal when it comes to educating our children. An innovative and productive public education system can include home schooling, parochial schools, private schools, cyber schools, public charter schools and, yes, traditional public schools — all of which I support.”

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