Focus Point - School Choice and CompetitionCommentary by Pete du Pont
October 24, 2000
I'm Pete du Pont with the National Center for Policy Analysis. One of the key reasons for trying school choice isn't the direct effect on students, but the effect on schools, something Nobel Prize winner Milton Friedman recently outlined in the Wall Street Journal. Choice would turn education into a competitive service.
Existing private schools would be more competitive and could use the additional funds to further improve their product, while educational entrepreneurs would have more opportunities to try better ways to educate and parents would have more choices..
I know this language -- "competition," "better services", "choice" -- bothers some people when used in the context of education. But education isn't some hothouse flower. It exists in the real world, and when protected from competition it becomes as stale, rigid, insulated and indifferent to consumer demands as any monopoly -- consumers in this case being parents and children. Choice would open the market.
Better schools, and thus a better education for kids, would be the result.
Those are my ideas, and at the NCPA we know ideas would change the world. I'm Pete du Pont. Next time, compounding interest in social security reform.