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Full School Choice In Nevada

By Sara Scarlett
June 15th, 2015 at 11:36 am | No Comments | 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…
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David Laws: first comments on education

By Editor
October 25th, 2012 at 9:24 pm | No Comments | 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 | No Comments | 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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Oxbridge should just leave the state system

By Andy Mayer
April 13th, 2011 at 10:03 am | 7 Comments | Posted in education, Social Mobility

For Oxford and Cambridge there is a very simple solution to the issue of political interference in their admissions processes, leave the state system.

The Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister’s interventions this week, claiming race and income discrimination on the part of elite universities, are so evidence-free and infantile they barely merit comment.

Suffice to say the spectacle of the Coalition’s leading Oxbridge-educated figures behaving like socialist worker leaflet pushers ranting about social justice, is unlikely to inspire many youngsters that the route to success involves making a thoughtful case based on evidence. Something they teach in elite universities.

Access to selective education should be based on merit, and that’s all there is to it. What merit means should be up to the institution concerned, whether by competitive examination or interviews to root out untrained potential.

If groups are under-represented or failing to compete for places at age 18 is not the fault of the institutions concerned. Nor is it their role to correct it. All that means is denying someone who deserves a place on the grounds of ability, in order to give it someone less able who fills a quota.

That is not ‘fair’.

Nor is there any way of sensibly determining what a fair distribution of opportunity looks like. What ratio of children from Richmond to Barnsley attending Cambridge represents success in the mind of the DPM? 

Further the whole thrust of Liberal Democrat education thinking in the last decade has been that early intervention matters far more than late. That is point of the pupil premium. University access codes are in that regard are unlikely to be either effective or good value for money. 

But this is a tiresome debate. Politicians are politically motivated, such interference and nudges will continue so long as politicians run universities. The politics in this case concern promoting the absurd tuition fees compromise that is supposed to link price to pro-poor tokenism rather than supply and demand.

The threat made then is ‘do something about this or lose public money’.

Oxford and Cambridge should call their bluff.

The UK’s two best universities should not struggle to thrive in the private sector. Fees would rise, but then so would bursary schemes to offset the impact on those without the means to pay, revenue from venture research, and private sector sponsorship. Alternate private sector loan systems would emerge to facilitate payment, many less expensive than the RPI+3% charges in the government’s pseudo-graduate tax.