Educational Freedom in North Dakota
North Dakota large in part is a conservative state and is arguably the most libertarian state in the country. If a poll were taken amongst North Dakota conservatives and libertarians whether they support abolishing the Federal Department of Education, I think it would be very fair to say an overwhelming majority would be on board. Ultimately, conservatives and libertarians are against government control of education and believe in educational freedom. Homeschooling, private schools, and parochial schools have had a long, proud and historically more successful tradition of education juxtaposed to a public model.
Budgets Will Cut Themselves
The largest problem with government is the precedent of creating a reliant tax-consumption population. Much like how every merchant hates high prices except their own; tax-recipients want lower taxes and lower spending except for the programs they like. Hence, why it is tough to shut the spigot of tax dollars once the valve is open. However, with this sensible and radical approach, there is a way to out-maneuver the political pressure around education. Most unique, this approach does not require immediately slashing funds and creating a panic amongst those on the public payrolls. On the other hand, it does create a pathway towards educational freedom and a smooth unwinding of state monopoly over education.
The Individual Mandate
The philosophical and economic similarities between Obamacare and Public Education are remarkably similar. Both rely on compulsion (force). If you choose to not participate in Obamacare, you are fined (tax), and ultimately if you fail to pay the fine (tax), you can be incarcerated for tax evasion. North Dakota law demands the Department of Public Instruction approve/disapprove all curriculum in public/nonpublic systems. Education is a bureaucratic boondoggle and is more about creating jobs than education. If you choose not to enroll your child into an approved school (including private/homeschool), you are subject to expensive fines, imprisonment, and loss of custody due to compulsory attendance laws. As a result, Obamacare and Public Education rely on the threat of force for the program to be “operational.”
Open The Market
There are many problems with Obamacare such as the individual mandate, the mandated services (essential benefits), lack of choice, no market competition and higher premiums. Doesn’t that sound exactly the same problem with education? Look at the similarities: compulsory attendance, mandated curriculum, lack of choice, no market competition and higher public budgets. What is the solution to Obamacare? No individual mandate, no mandated services, more choices, more market competition and lower prices. Consequently, the solution to Obamacare is the solution to public education; healthcare freedom and educational freedom.
Removing compulsory attendance laws and abolishing the practice of government regulating private education would open the door to a smooth transition out of the Public Education sinkhole. Additionally, tax credits should be issued to all who opt-out of Public Education since they are no longer users. The combination of this ability for parents and households to have more of their own money (tax credits) and educational market participants will serve as a more efficient and moral means of education. Furthermore, an educational marketplace will now compete against bloated bureaucracies.
Parents will choose to forgo sending their kids to public schools. They will find better and cheaper means of education that are most suitable for their family. Public schools will be forced to compete; which they can’t. Without profit, there is no way to tell if a business is a success or failure. With the allowance of tax credits (not a subsidy) in addition to repeal of compulsory attendance and regulation over private education will drive students out of public schools and into a more meaningful private education.
When leftists were making the rounds telling everyone, “Obamacare is so great,” one of my favorite replies was, “If Obamacare is so great, then why force it on everyone.” That was the perfect response to overload and fry leftist’s circuit board of talking points. Most North Dakota Republicans have at least once said something along those lines. Therefore, if that is true then why not apply that criticism to Public Education? If Public Education is so great, then why force it on everyone? If Public Education is so great, let them compete against an actual free market.