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Washington Knows Best

Here’s a letter that I sent to the New York Times:

While applauding government-imposed national standards for schooling, you give no credence to the argument that each set of parents – rather than government – is in the best position, and has the strongest incentives, to determine whether or not their children are being educated well (“National School Standards, at Last,” March 14).  Indeed, the only persons you mention as being parties interested in the successful education of children are school superintendents, state governors, and members of Congress!

Not a single mention of parents or families – an omission that’s more than passing strange.

With genuine school choice, procedures to determine if any school is performing well or poorly would be no more complicated, and every bit as effective, as is the procedure we use today to determine if, say, any particular supermarket is performing well or poorly.  That procedure is competition among private, unsubsidized suppliers for customer dollars.  If consumer choice and competition serve well to maintain the quality of supermarkets (and of restaurants, and churches, and hotels, and…), then why do you think that tweaking, with national “standards,” the subsidized and largely monopolistic government schools that haunt the land today is the best way to transform these dysfunctional institutions into effective ones?

Donald J. Boudreaux