The benefits of competition

The Flint Michigan public school system is being pro-active in its desire to attract students, according to an article by Tait Russell from the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, and the driving force is competition from a charter school called Linden Charter Academy.

The advertising campaign, which began in the summer, featured the most outstanding students and graduates from Flint Community Schools, in an attempt to show the purported advantages of sticking with the traditional public schools. [...]

Since 1999, when the first Michigan charter school opened locally, Flint school officials reportedly figure they have lost 3,000 students to charter schools. Because state money follows the students wherever they are enrolled, charter school competition has cost the school district more than $21 million. Linden has 680 students.

This is a clear demonstration of one of the key benefits of the free market: enterprises that deliver a product that is not desired fail. Resources are diverted to those places where they are most urgently desired.

Advocates of public schooling often say that the downside to school choice is money being taken away from public schools. They are entirely correct; that is how the real world works when people have the ability to choose. If the Shawarma King makes food people don't want, they go out of business, and the Bangkok Basil across the street attracts more busness.

It is a benefit to society that the Flint school system lost $21 million. I realize that is a hard fact to swallow for staunch public school supporters. But the direct corollary is also that those schools that deliver what parents actually want gained at least a part of those $21 million, and most importantly, it is the customers - parents and students - that win, as their preferences are acted upon and their resources are competed for.

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"It is a benefit to society

"It is a benefit to society that the Flint school system lost $21 million."

I don't mean to quibble Jonathon, but the only benefit that society gained is competition. The $21 million was still coerced from society's pockets. The shell game continues.

You're absolutely right.

You're absolutely right. The $21 million would be better off in the hands of those who justly owned it prior to coercion. But, once it is in the govt's hands, those individuals from whom it was stolen are better off being able to have a say in what happens to it instead of not having a say at all.

I may sound like a

I may sound like a Stalinist-apologist, but that $21 lost could mean a much better future for students later. As a public school student, I resorted to joining the IB program(which is the best choice for inner-city schools) because of its international standards. School competition can only help the poor(me, well I'm not too poor, lower middle-class I guess) and I'd be all for it.

Predating my highschool IB experience, school was a taxpayer-money-wasting joke. I learned nothing, and only found intellectual stimulus through conversations with my P.H.D. dad(heh). Similarly, all non-IB classes I've seen are terrible in highschool.

And remember kids, Allah kills one kitten for every wasted $50 on the public school system.

John & Jon - we, as a

John & Jon - we, as a society, have a VERY great interest in a well educated population. I can't think of all the great ideas that move society forward by myself. I need help, and there's no telling where the next Bill Gates will come from. I think this competition is great, but Jonathen's contention that it's a shell game of stolen money is completely off.

All nations pay taxes - we are lucky that in a Democracy we get to chose how much and how it's spent. I invite you to take a moment and imagine what it would be like to not have Police or Firemen, or a Military that protects us from foreign threats.

Education is THE single greatest investment any nation can make. Education for all, doubly so. Without that you're cutting your potential for future economic growth - and wasting enormous amounts of human capital.

As 'economic' folks you should be for anything that doesn't waste potential resources. Resources that benefit YOU.