Public Education vs. Private Education

When considering the difference between the government controlling a market or the private aka free market being able to work without a heavy hand dictating what it can and can not do.  I think the best illustration of this in our time is public education vs. private education.    The public education system has been around in some way, shape or form since the inception of our country in the USA.   The difference is, which level of government and which source of funding it comes from.

In early public school systems, all the way up to 1980, schools were funded often by tax dollars, but at the local or state level.
Shorty after the USA formed a constitution, this is the product of how education was designed and funded based on constitutional guidelines.

Two of our constitutional amendments played an important role in public education. In 1791, the 10th Amendment stated, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”  Public education was not mentioned as one of those federal powers, and so historically has been delegated to the local and state governments. public education

During this time in American history, our public education system was ranked at the top of the world in developed nations for education.   Even up until 1980 when the Department of Education was formed, our public education system was at the top of the charts.


“a public-education system that was the envy of the world”  Time Magazine

The Program for International Student Assessment, or PISA, collects test results from 65 countries for its rankings, which come out every three years. The latest results, from 2012, show that U.S. students ranked below average in math among the world’s most-developed countries. They were close to average in science and reading.

“In mathematics, 29 nations and other jurisdictions outperformed the United States by a statistically significant margin, up from 23 three years ago,” reports Education Week. “In science, 22 education systems scored above the U.S. average, up from 18 in 2009.”

America has fallen far from its place as a leader in math and science, experts said during a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Diversity Symposium on Capitol Hill on Wednesday.

“International comparisons place the U.S. in the middle of the pack globally,” said Debbie Myers, general manager of Discovery Communications. Myers said in order for the U.S. to compete in the global market, we need to a do a better job of inspiring children to develop that desire for discovery and encourage minorities and girls especially to get involved in STEM.

My conclusion, is that the Department of Education (which started in 1980) is overseeing and funding education now since the last 37 years (as of 2017).  The expenditure is significant, and the results are extremely weak.

In 1980 the Department of education spent;  $3,215,593,000  (3.215 billion) on education  PDF
In 2016 the DoE spent;   $15,409,802,000 (15.4 billion) on education, which is about 5 times the amount of money spent in 1980 PDF

Yet our population has no where close to have grown 5 times since 1980.  Our population in the USA in 1980 was 227.22 million, the population in 2016 is 323.64 million as of November.
That is about a 42.43% increase or about or a little less than 0.5 times as much as before, not a 500% increase.  Yet our education system is spending 500% more than in 1980 and we are at the bottom of developed nations for education, down from being #1 in just 37 years.

This failure is monumental!
For example if a company invested five times as much money to improve a product than it took to develop a product and the return was 18 times less as the original sales.
Or for example if a company invested $100,000 in a product, in 37 years later they only received $18,000 total return on the product, that would be considered a significant failure.
Such is our education system.

The solution is obvious, return education to the free market.   The private education system in the USA is top notch, and the USA is the #1 destination to study abroad in the world.
Higher education is mostly privatized and therefore has less government intervention.   This is symbolic of when K-12 was funded at a local level with less federal intervention, and was ranked #1 in the world.

Reference to the higher education system;

Also private K-12 schools in the USA rank very high as well.

Some how though, the USA spends more per student than anywhere else in the world for public education, and we get the worst results out of each dollar spent.

I was inspired by Sal Khan, of Khan Academy.  My kids are home-schooled, and they often use Khan’s courses.

Khan Academy

Main article: Khan Academy

In late 2003, Khan began tutoring his cousin, Nadia, in mathematics over the internet using Yahoo!‘s Doodle notepad. When other relatives and friends sought his tutoring, he moved his tutorials to YouTube where he created an account on November 16, 2006.

The popularity of his educational videos on the video-sharing website prompted Khan to quit his job as a financial analyst in late 2009.  He moved his focus to developing his YouTube channel, Khan Academy, full-time with the aid of close friend Josh Gefner. Khan consequently received sponsorship from Ann Doerr, the wife of John Doerr.

His videos received worldwide interest from both students and non-students, with more than 458 million views in the first number of years.

Khan outlined his mission as to “accelerate learning for students of all ages. With this in mind, we want to share our content with whoever may find it useful.” Khan plans to extend the “free school” to cover topics such as English. Khan’s videos are also used to educate rural areas of Africa and Asia.

Khan published a book about Khan Academy and education goals titled The One World Schoolhouse: Education Reimagined.

Khan Academy, initially a tool for students, added the Coach feature in 2012, promoting the connection of teachers with students through videos and monitor tools.

Benie Sanders Free vs. Sal Khan free

Benie Sanders Free vs. Sal Khan free

More reading on this;

Thomas Sowell – Education Issues – YouTube

Follow up  01/07/2016

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