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Education: Government can’t even collect data

January 13, 2013

I recently attended a Morrison Institute seminar on education data collection and I was startled by the discussion. We hear repeatedly about the failure of our government schools to educate our children properly in spite of huge amounts of money spent (more per child than any other country). But I was not aware that government can’t even collect the data on student achievement or on teacher performance. Apparently something like $30 million has been spent on this goal over the few decades and we are still failing completely. Now there is another proposal in the legislature to spend another $35 million.

It is mind boggling to me that not one person in that room of over 100 people, many of whom had a terminal degree (PhD or EdD), suggested the idea that maybe education is a function that the government is just not very good at delivering and that maybe we should leave this duty to the private sector, like we do (so far) for distribution of food, a substance just as important, if not more so, than education. Parents could make their own decisions about where their children attend school and charities could subsidize those with insufficient resources. Without the huge government education bureaucracy the cost would be far less and the results far better.

Freedom works. We founded our country on this belief. Let’s try it.

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