Sunday, 25 July 2004

The market for education

The government nationalises most education. Naturally, there is a market response:
PARENTS are paying up to £80,000 extra for properties in order to get their children into the leading state schools in Scotland.

The figures quoted may be a bit overdone:

Parents pay the extra believing it could save them thousands of pounds in private school fees. Houses near Jordanhill school, in the west end of Glasgow, were selling for an average of £152,103 - £40,000 more than the city-wide average
Well, yes, I'd expect houses in the west end to be considerably more expensive than elsewhere in Glasgow even if schooling were not a factor.

But the quality of local state schools clearly does make a difference:

Williamwood High school in Clarkston, to the south of Glasgow, helped house prices reach an average of £154,445 - more than £10,000 above the typical price for the area.
It is impossible for all schools to be of equal quality, whether run by the state or otherwise. Nevertheless, schools in the private sector benefit from market mechanisms that make for continual improvement. I believe that all schools should be privately owned and that they shouldn't be funded by the state. In the meantime we could give parents vouchers to be used in a privatised education system. That way everyone can get access to a sound education without having to run the risk of a catastrophic loss in the value of one's home whenever some bureaucrat redraws the catchment area boundary.

1 comment:

David Farrer said...

Comments made on previous template:

Geoff Matthews (
Medicine Hat could easily run multiple schools. Seven Persons, which was a good half-hour drive outside, had to run a school with another neighboring town. There were other hamlets in the area that sent their kids on hour+ bus rides to go to elementary school (K-6). All of them sent their grades 7-12 kids to Medicine Hat, even if it meant 2 hour bus rides (I knew some of them). They could afford to run their own elementary schools, thanks to money from the provicial government, but they wouldn't be able to without it. And it was a waste of time to even try to run a high school in these areas. Not enough children.

26 July 2004, 18:08:58 GMT+01:00
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Andrew Duffin (
Geoff, a town of 30,000 couldn't afford to run a school? 
That seems a bit hard to believe but maybe I've misunderstood your post.

26 July 2004, 12:28:40 GMT+01:00
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Geoff Matthews (
One draw-back for the universal private school issue is for rural areas. I grew up in a moderately small town (~30,000) surounded by farming communities that would often share schools, if not feed their children into schools into the metropolis of Medicine Hat. These towns were dependent, in part, on provincial funds to operate their schools. They wouldn't be able to raise the money themselves, and the population couldn't support competing schools.  
For urban areas, private schools are a nice argument, but for rural, backwater areas, public schools would often be the only game in town.

26 July 2004, 05:23:01 GMT+01:00
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Andy Wood (
On a more positive note, as a person with no children does this mean I can get a cheaper house if I buy in an catchment area with a rubbish state school in it? 
Perhaps, but you'd still end up paying for it in your car insurance.

25 July 2004, 23:33:38 GMT+01:00
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Neil (
What you want to do is buy a home with a rubbish state school which is targeted for rebuilding in the reasonable future. However part of the £10,000 increase may be not because of primary demand for improved education but because it is perceived to be a good investment area. Paying £154,000 for a house & seeing it rise at 18% pa is a better deal than paying £144,000. This, of course, assumes a speculator's market will continue forever.

25 July 2004, 21:23:25 GMT+01:00
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David Malloch (
Yes Squander Two, like Tony B Liar and Sam Galbraith. Wonder where Gordon Brown will be sending his son? 
Hypocrite lefties always seem to think that providing the school is in the state sector then their conscience is clear. The fact that they have to spend extra thousands on their house doesn't seem to matter. 
On a more positive note, as a person with no children does this mean I can get a cheaper house if I buy in an catchment area with a rubbish state school in it? Hope so.

25 July 2004, 17:26:17 GMT+01:00
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Squander Two (
Can't find the link, but I think Stephen Pollard wrote a piece about this a while ago, pointing out the nasty hypocrisy of the well-off left-wing middle classes, who insist that it would be a terrible evil for the quality of a school to depend in any way on the amount of money spent by its pupils' parents, but who carefully spend ten of thousands of extra pounds on ther houses in order to live in the right catchment area.

25 July 2004, 13:21:05 GMT+01:00