Privatizing Education

The opportunities are endless when we consider complete privatization of education instead of just throwing money at it, yet never reforming it to the fullest extent.

By “privatization” I mean removing responsibility over education from the government and placing it back into the hands of parents, charities, and communities. Privatization of education actually solves issues where government-funded education creates more problems than it solves.

Privatization accomplishes several things but let me share two important ones. First, it prioritizes the unique and varied needs of the individual child by giving control back to those in direct contact with the child. No one knows what a child needs better than a parent, guardian, teacher or community leader involved in the child’s life. Giving control back to those people instead of legislators in Oklahoma City or Washington D.C. creates a healthier and smarter environment for the education experience. No child is exactly the same yet the American educational system is standardized. My two sons are as different as night and day. Why do we want an education system that demands conformity instead of dignifying each individual and providing for each individual’s needs and dreams?

The further away influence flows the less likely it will accomplish what was intended. That same principle applies to funding. For too long we’ve had socialized education, though we call it public education. It is socialized in that it treats all children the same as if they all have the same needs, and it is funded by all the taxpayers even those who don’t have children. Many people have balked at Obamacare as socialized healthcare not even realizing our education system is basically ran the same way. Socialized education isn’t really free. You pay ridiculous amounts of taxes that are going to fund education for kids in Oklahoma City and as far away as Kentucky even though you live in Tulsa, and you don’t even know how the money is being spent in those schools.

Secondly, privatization would be much more affordable than socialized education. With more local funding and influence there would be more accountability and more resourcefulness involved. The further away the funding flows the less likely it will truly be productive. If I directly give my son $5 he will have all of it. But if I give a child-sponsorship organization $5 by the time any of my money reaches the child in Guatemala it might only be a nickel. There’s less overhead expenses, less opportunity for fraud or waste, and more motivation to spend wisely if education is paid for locally, by those closest to the child. Even for underprivileged kids, the best way to fund their education is through community involvement and networking. Homeschooling parents have networks for support, resources, and events and building similar networks for rural or underprivileged kids or kids with special needs would be tremendously more productive than government-sponsored schools. Like universal healthcare or socialized medicine, government-funded education sounds morally great but it simply fails at its objective.

One of the first steps to privatization should be to abolish the Federal Department of Education and send complete control, including funding and management, back to the states. Then each state should decide how to privatize education from there. Oklahoma should create a 10 year strategy for reduction in statewide influence and funding so that by the end of a decade we’d be providing completely privatized education that offers tremendous opportunities to our children. Privatization wouldn’t need to take half a century to complete and we could start now instead of fighting about how to best prop up the current broken system for a little while longer.

For life & liberty,

– Richard Castaldo

Grove, Oklahoma

Pastor/Libertarian Candidate for US Congress OK-02