How to know you’re doing something right

by P

Worth checking out Matthew Ladner’s guest post on Jay Greene’s blog in which he argues that we need to create more space within the education system for market forces to bring down cost and increase quality.

It lists some of the pro-business (e.g. more private & less public, let the market solve our problems) arguments and those of us who don’t agree (including me) need to be prepared to argue the other side. The post also has a good thread of comments that cover some of the shortcomings of the pro-market positions (see one example below). I would add that other countries with strong public education systems (Northern Europe for example) do not exhibit similar cost increase in education. And the US health care system, which is highly market driven, is running up costs even faster than education. Both points suggest that this is not an economics problem, it’s a US problem.

OER is in an interesting space in this debate. I have seen “open” come under attack from both sides -> one side called it a right-wing effort to undermine the public education system by letting non-experts participate, others label it a socialist conspiracy that is out to destroy the publishing business.

You know you’re doing something right when you irritate all of the incumbents.

Example comments:

George Mitchell says:

“Parry says ‘I think the whole premise of this post is disingenuous. If it were the “public” in public education that was holding back this imagined productivity growth curve, one would expect to see private schools figuring out how to make the productivity happen.’”

Wow. Where to begin? In Milwaukee, independent research documents that private schools do as well or better with low-income students, and those students graduate at higher rates, than their peers in public schools. Yet private schools operate at a fraction — I estimate 2/3 — of the cost of public schools. Those are clear productivity gains that would soar if there were a true open market.

Reply >> michael mazenko says

George, the private school market has numerous advantages in cost – the primary one being they have no responsibility to provide additional, extremely costly services under the Americans with Disabilities Act. They have a right of refusal on their applicant base, and are dealing with no consumers who did not choose them. They don’t have to compete with Title IX requirements, nor do they have the same security concerns. The tit-for-tat cost between public private is a gross overgeneralization.

Thanks to Carolina Rossini for pointing me to the article.