Monday, September 04, 2006

They didn't earn it, they want more, should we give it ?

I refer to this article headlined: Billions needed to help schools

THE public school system needs an extra $2.4 billion a year of government funding for students to meet the educational goals set seven years ago by the nation's education ministers.
Why should they get it ? Supposedly to meet these education goals. Why is it necessarily important for a school to meet these goals? Isn't it really up the parents as to the levels of education their children receive ? Shouldn't they be the ones to decide whether to spend less, more or the same ? How do we know the school system hasn't been totally wasteful and inefficient on its spending, and they we are just rewarding its largesse with further public money ?

Each of these questions show an inherent flaw with the concept of publicly funded education.

With competitive free markets, you've got to compete against other schools and this has a benign outcome of driving down prices and improving services. It also has the benefits of schools trying to offer variety and differentiate themselves from the competition. Just like Coca Cola comes in so many flavours, school that are free from burdensome regulation can follow in the same footsteps. Some can offer the best music facilities, some focus on sport, and then many will focus purely on academic performance in VCE because that is what parents tend to value the most.

Take a step back for a minute. I've got nothing against parents spending an additional $2.4 bil per annum on education if its voluntary. If its voluntary, at least you know that they have decided to spend the amount after prioritising. Prioritising and decision making are *the* definitive component of economics. If these families had trouble paying for basic groceries and heating bills, then it would be very understandable if they didn't choose to pay more for education services.

But taxes do not take individual families needs into account. They confiscate the income, using force and coercion, backed up by the threat of violence. If you don't pay your taxes, you will end up being fined and threatened with prison.