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A liberal approach to public services

By Alex Chatham
June 27th, 2017 at 9:42 am | Comments Off on A liberal approach to public services | Posted in education, health, Uncategorized

Perhaps the one thing that politicians of all ideological persuasions can agree on is that running, and funding, public services is a challenge. They tend to disagree about how much funding should be given and how our schools and hospitals should be managed. This argument has been going on for decades. The post-Thatcher consensus appeared to be that British public services should receive a high level of funding while reforms took place to organisational structures and the way the services were delivered.

Reforming public services isn’t easy. People don’t like change and worry that the services will worsen. So what we get is tinkering and slowly declining services. Part of the problem is that hospitals and to some extent schools are run on a ‘command and control’ basis. Liberal reform would see far greater autonomy for both organisations and funding in the hands of parents and patients. This doesn’t mean ‘privatisation’ although privately run and public funded institutations could work.  The key though is autonomy for the organisation and individuals deciding where to spend the money. After that the Government should step back and let things evolve. The temptation to tamper would be great but far better, and liberal, to let people find ways to respond to the needs of the patients/parents. Trust people and we will end up with a far better system.

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Full School Choice In Nevada

By Sara Scarlett
June 15th, 2015 at 11:36 am | Comments Off on Full School Choice In Nevada | Posted in education, US Politics
As of next year, parents in Nevada can have 90 percent (100 percent for children with special needs and children from low-income families) of the funds that would have been spent on their child in their public school deposited into a restricted-use spending account. That amounts to between $5,100 and $5,700 annually, according to the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. Those funds are deposited quarterly onto a debit card, which parents can use to pay for a variety of education-related services and products — things such as private-school tuition, online learning, special-education services and therapies, books, tutors, and dual-enrollment college courses.
Notably, families can roll over unused funds from year to year, a feature that makes this approach particularly attractive. It is the only choice model to date that puts downward pressure on prices. Parents consider not only the quality of education service they receive, but the cost, since they can save unused funds for future education expenses.
I’ve been wanting to see how a full school choice model will work and now we finally get a chance. It’s a profoundly egalitarian model that gives access to all whilst still allowing the markets to function freely and obliterating the flailing government monopoly on education. Despite record investment in education, the USA’s public school system remains an inconsistent, mediocre, zipcode lottery.
School choice interests me because it’s one of the policy areas that should be loved by Libertarians and Social Liberals alike. To me, it’s a policy that schould distinguish the Social Liberals from the Social Democrats. The way it will be enacted in Nevada, it makes the State’s poorest completely equal with the majority of the Middle Classes. The more affluent Middle Classes will still be able to top up these funds, of course, but this is a hitherto unknown level of education equality. Local government ensuring equality of access to services whilst fully exploiting the benefits, decentralisation and pluralism of the markets. This should be the dream of a Social Liberal. Sadly, SLF’s declared hatred of monopolies never seems to extend to failing government monopolies…

David Laws: first comments on education

By Editor
October 25th, 2012 at 9:24 pm | Comments Off on David Laws: first comments on education | Posted in education

H/T We note via The Telegraph that David Laws has made his first comments on education.

Teachers, colleges, careers advisers have a role and a responsibility to aim for the stars and to encourage people to believe they can reach the top in education and employment,”

That’s not happening as much as it should do at the moment

We have not read the full piece yet – just the political editor’s spin. Still from what we have read so far, we reckon that David is just saying what a lot of us are thinking.

Its nice to have him back.

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The role of prices in education

By Tom Papworth
April 2nd, 2012 at 11:40 am | 3 Comments | Posted in education

The government’s Free Schools policy is widely regarded as a significant innovation; a radical shake-up of state education. The next logical step – permitting for-profit providers to deliver state-funded education – is still hotly contested and is unlikely to emerge in this parliament.

Yet even if profit-making providers were able to deliver state-funded schooling, this would hardly represent a free market in education. For one thing, almost all discussion of voucher schemes and for-profit provision assumes that prices will be capped.

This misses one of the most crucial benefits of allowing markets to operate.

Read the rest of the article, and leave any comments, at the IEA blog.

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Ed Miliband’s tuition fees policy would favour people on £72k pa

By Julian Harris
September 27th, 2011 at 6:30 am | Comments Off on Ed Miliband’s tuition fees policy would favour people on £72k pa | Posted in education, Government, Labour

Liberal think tank Centre Forum has been busy crunching some numbers, and their findings don’t make happy reading for Labour’s seemingly-doomed leader.

Ed Miliband has made a big socalist play of his alleged plans to force nasty bankers to subsidise cheaper degrees for the bright teenage children of  hard-working families.

Yet through its complexities, Miliband’s plan would typically benefit “graduates in their fifties earning £72,500”.

The study says: “Virtually no one in the bottom half of the earnings distribution, and virtually no one under the age of 35, will stand to gain from Labour’s plan.”

The policy of lumping further taxes on the financial sector “will be harmful during a period of economic recovery”.

It also adds: “Given the way that the student loan system works, the majority of the gains are illusory – what government gives on one hand, it takes back on the other.”

Indeed. Taking with one hand to give back (less) with the other. Nice to know someone else has noticed that.

Anyway, it looks like Our Vince is happy with the report:

“I would urge anyone attracted to Labour’s proposals to read this very informative analysis,” Vince said. “It makes clear that the policy only benefits wealthier, older graduates, and it exposes Labour’s claim that they want to help young people as completely false.”

You can read the report BY CLICKING HERE .

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