Unless popular myths about capitalism are challenged, school reform will stall well short of success.
—From the introduction to Education and Capitalism "This is a thoughtful, thorough examination of the virtues of capitalism and free markets as a way to organize elementary and secondary education in a democracy."
—Milton Friedman Senior research fellow, Hoover Institution Nobel Prize winner in economic sciences For parents, teachers, policymakers, taxpayers, and scholars who want better schools for children regardless of their race, social background, or parents' income, this book asserts that, if schools were "privatized" (moved from the public to the private sector), they could once again do a superior job providing kindergarten to twelfth-grade (K12) education. Drawing on insights and findings from history, psychology, sociology, political science, and economics, the authors reveal
- Why schools and past efforts at school reform have failed
- Why capitalism can be trusted to produce safe and effective schools—and why economics is an appropriate tool for studying how schooling is delivered
- What history tells us about the government's role in schooling—and why keeping most schooling in the hands of government does not help achieve equality and democracy
- How guidelines for voucher programs that protect the poorest and most vulnerable members of society otherwise work as well as their proponents predict
- Why conservatives and libertarians should support school voucher programs
The authors show that, unless popular myths about capitalism are challenged, school reform will stall well short of success. Without a broader understanding of how and why markets work, the small steps in the right direction taken at the end of the twentieth century risk being swept away at the start of the twenty-first.