*The following essay placed second in the 2016 Milton Friedman Essay Contest
Lilly F., Matthew Gagnon
“Few institutions in our society are in a more unsatisfactory state than schools. Few generate more discontent or can do more to undermine liberty.” -Milton Friedman
In 1635, the first public school opened its doors in Boston, MA. By the nineteenth century, there were more public schools than private ones. At one point, America had one of the highest literacy rates in the world. That has since changed due to teaching standards and government involvement in the school system. This is why a man by the name of Milton Friedman wanted to change the way our schools operated.
With school choice, our schools would be more efficiently managed. There are currently thirty states which offer school choice, those states have excelled educationally, whereas the others have not. If we increase the school choice program to twenty more states, it would have a greater impact on our country.
With school choice, the parent has a choice to either send their child to public school, private school or be homeschooled. When the parent decides where their child will attend school, their tax dollars follow the student to whatever school they choose.
Many public school teachers are against school choice, thinking that it will decrease the number of students and increase the number of private and homeschooled students. Milton Friedman, an economist and presidential advisor, wanted the school system to be fair and just. Many parents agreed, and still agree today, that school choice is the best way to get our education system back on track. Milton Friedman tried very hard to get school choice, but it sadly has not come to fruition in every state.
School choice would open a new door for a better education for the student. If School choice were implemented, when a public school has a very low-performance rate, the number of students would decrease, in that case, the school would have to bring up their performance rate.
Parents whose children are homeschooled or attend private schools pay taxes that go towards the public schools where their child does not even attend. With school choice, if the child decides to attend a private school, or be homeschooled, the taxes would go towards tuition or the books purchased for a curriculum.
Our system now is very unfair to the taxpayers, in particular for those who are homeschooled or attend private schools. Milton Friedman wanted to change the way our tax money was being spent on the public schools. School choice would have a positive impact on our education system. It is a fair, just system that all schools and states should implement. School choice would help our country out in many ways socially and economically.
I have been homeschooled for the past nine years. My parents know how unjust the system is now. My parents decided to take my sister and I out of the public school. We were taken out of the public school system because of the teaching standards, and because American History was not being taught. The teachers would not talk about Christmas or God either.
I believe that education is not a one-size fits all, and everyone learns differently. The way some schools teach makes it difficult for some children to learn and understand. Some students need a multi-sensory approach to education in order to learn.
I believe that school choice would push the public school system in the right direction, and the students would receive a better education. School choice should be part of every state.
*Lilly F. is a 10th grade student from Bangor, Maine.