November 7 2011
By Carrie Lukas
We all know our education system isn't working as it should. During the last forty years, per pupil spending on public K-12 education has tripled, after accounting for inflation. Yet test scores have stagnated. Too many students leave U.S. schools without needed skills.
Our education system simply fails to encourage innovation or reward success. We need to fundamentally change incentives to encourage real progress and better outcomes. Putting education consumers—parents and students—in control of the resources we already spend on education would encourage real dynamism, as providers compete to provide the best service at the best price.
For-profit entities should be among those providers competing for education dollars. Defenders of the status quo recoil from the idea of for-profit education companies, but there is no reason why the profit-motive will be any less effective in encouraging innovation in education than it has been in improving other aspects of life.
The good news is that innovative new education strategies already exist that have the potential to help children (and adults!) learn more. The even better news is that if we unlock the money we already invest in American education, we could see a revolution in education leading to better prepared students.