People say public schools are “one of the best parts of America”. I believed that. Then I started reporting on them.
Now I know that public school — government school is a better name — is one of the worst parts of America. It’s a stultified government monopoly. It never improves.
Most services improve. They get faster, better, cheaper. But not government monopolies. Government schools are rigid, boring, expensive and more segregated than private schools.
I call them “government” instead of “public” schools because not much is “public” about them. Members of the public don’t get to pick their kids’ schools, teachers, curriculum or cost.
By contrast, supermarkets are “private” yet open to everyone. You can stroll in 24 hours a day. Just try that with your kid’s public school. You might be arrested.
Now a school choice movement has given government schools a sliver of competition. Private schools, charter schools, vouchers, education tax credits and the Web offer competition. Not all the alternatives work, but with competition, bad alternatives die and good ones grow.
This will help all kids.