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School Liberation

Ten Benefits of School Liberation by Marshall Fritz and Cathy Duffy

When government involvement with education is ended, we can prudently predict at least ten changes in America’s schooling systems:

1. Choices. Parents who feel like their children are “trapped” at the local government school will now have a vast array of learning opportunities to choose from, ranging from traditional schools through online classes. Parents can choose schools or classes that are most convenient for them and their children. They can select more reading instruction and less science or vice versa. All of the major decisions return to where they rightfully belong–with parents.

2. Time efficiency. Eighth-grade graduates in generations past mastered subject material beyond that covered by many of today’s high school graduates. Hours per day, days per year, and years per child have all increased providing more employment for teachers but less learning for most students. Removing compulsion and government funding will restore the drive to accomplish more learning in less time.

3. Children will be safer. One of the greatest fears parents have today is their children will be
attacked at school. Independent schools don’t tolerate violence because parents rarely voluntarily
send their children into unsafe situations. Schools that are unsafe will lose customers and either end the danger or go out of business.

4. Individualization of learning. No longer will children have to “adapt to the herd” in the timing and style of their learning. Learning opportunities will include one-room schoolhouses, tutors, online classes, homeschooling, and other options that parents can mix-and-match to suit the needs of each child. Teachers will know their students, and most will have great flexibility to meet individual needs. Schools and teachers can specialize to meet various learning preferences a hands-on school for kinesthetic learners, a literature-based unit study school for voracious readers, and schools that embed learning in music for musically-inclined, auditory learners.

5. Support for parental values. The diversity of American parents will be reflected in schools just as it is in restaurants, magazines, and churches. This variety will mean that most parents will have the choice of different teaching methods (Montessori, Waldorf, Traditional, Modern, etc.), different religious orientations, and even different ethnicities for families who wish to preserve their heritage (Amish, Hasidic Jews, Cajun, Mexican Americans, African Americans, etc.). The number of schools in the U.S. can grow from 110,000 to 500,000 within a year of School Liberation.

6. Teachers/schools are truly answerable to parents. Today’s tax-funded schools decry the lack of parental support, but what many educators want is a servile parent who brings cupcakes, limits the children’s TV time, and votes for all school-tax increases. With School Liberation, parents will be the customers and, sometimes, the employers. In order to attract customers, each school will have to provide what parents want rather than what Washington D.C., Sacramento, Albany, or the school employees’ unions demand. Parents and teachers will truly work together to provide the best education for each child.

7. Your state and local taxes will be cut by 50%. Most tax-funded schools today cost at least
$4000-$7000/pupil/year (some eastern states are $10,000). The change to a free market will reduce costs 50 to 60 percent. Appropriate use of technology is likely to reduce costs at least another 10 to 20 percent. The concept of blending campus-, cooperative-, home-, and self-schooling has the potential of further reducing costs while increasing quality and satisfaction. As a result of these predictable changes, many high-quality schools, especially in urban areas, will be available for $1000-$2000 per year.

8. The poor will have access to a good education. Private scholarships are likely to expand to $20 billion per year to make sure that children in low-income families have access to better schools than today’s. This is a prudent expectation, as Americans donate over $30 billion per year now to colleges, and that is before the $300 billion tax cut resulting from School Liberation.

9. Teachers can concentrate on children, not bureaucratic rules. Principals, business people,
teachers, and parents who share worldview and education philosophy will start their own schools,
sometimes by renting space in formerly tax-funded school buildings. Like physicians and other
professionals, they’ll hire assistants and business managers, not superintendents. Teachers will be
free to teach without the mountains of additional duties, rules, and regulations that hamper good
teachers in today’s tax-funded schools. Private teacher credentialing services will prevail, like those for Montessori and Waldorf today. Private school accreditation services, such as A.C.S.I and A.A.C.S., will expand to help assure parents that schools are meeting their stated objectives.

10. Both the economy and businesses will benefit from truly educated graduates. Graduation will again become a meaningful term as education providers are forced by the marketplace to provide true value to their customers. In addition, businesses can help fund schools that focus on skills needed for particular careers essential to those businesses. Students with specific career goals can match up with like-minded business-sponsored schools for apprenticeships or internships as part of their education. As businesses become more efficient because employees are better educated for their jobs, higher productivity for the entire economy will demonstrate to the whole world that free markets work best in education.