Monday 12 January 2004

Say no to government schools

Jean Walker has commented about this previous blog as follows:
And exactly what do you suggest we do with all the students who are "got rid of" because of disruptive behaviour? For some schools this would constitute 40-50% of their enrolment. Where do they go?
and again:
No one seems to be able to answer my question - if ALL schools are privatised and therefore able to "get rid" of all children who are not willing to learn or behave appropriately, where will they go? Who will educate them? Will the private sector then set up special schools with special teachers with special salaries (and therefore at a very increased cost) to cater for this fast growing group of students, and if so will students be forced to attend them and who will pay, as these students generally come from the poorest homes?
There are two things to consider here. First, should government be paying for education at all? Second, if so, should it run its own schools?

I make no bones about it: education should not be funded by government. The only legitimate function of the state is to protect citizens against those who initiate force or fraud. That means the provision of the armed services to protect us from external aggressors, the operation of local police forces to protect us from domestic aggressors, and a court system to try those accused of aggression and punish those found guilty. Whenever possible, criminals should make full restitution to their victims.

Everything else done by government should be privatised.

If most people want education to be funded by means of taxation, that's what will happen, even though I would argue that such provision is morally wrong and damaging for society. Government funding of education does not however require that schools be operated by the state. The provision of vouchers to be spent on private education is far preferable to the present system. And yes, private schools would be free to decide on which children they would teach. If the state wished to educate those children who cause disruption, then private schools could provide such services at a price. It is quite wrong that the majority of children (and their teachers) be terrorised by a mindless minority. When taxpayers are able to see the real financial costs of educating the troublemakers, there will be a justifiable outcry. We may then start asking questions like: Should education be compulsory? Answer: No - almost all children went to school when attendance was voluntary and not funded by government. Should the welfare state be abolished? Yes - it encourages the lack of responsibility shown by the parents of disruptive children. Should we get rid of the ludicrous minimum wage laws that keep young people from entering the workforce thus combining formal education with learning on the job: Obviously yes.

We won't solve the problem of disruptive children unless we re-examine the whole question of state education. Privatised education is making great strides throughout much of the world. Why shouldn't Scotland show the way here in the UK?