The Conservatives must give Swedish-style “free schools” a lot more freedom

The Conservatives’ plans for “free schools” are, arguably, their flagship policy. It is vital that there is no compromise when they are implemented. Schools are a good place to start a free-market agenda. Education reform is politically quite easy – unlike NHS reform – and left wing governments in the rest of the EU accept the premise that the “parent should be sovereign”. In Sweden, left wingers even accept profit-making schools.

Competition will raise standards and the efficiency with which resources are used across the sector, but the potential benefits of education reform to the less well off are perhaps the most important gain…

Read the full article at ConservativeHome.

An interesting essay, Dr Booth. Lew Rockwell’s recent lecture for the Mises Circle, ‘The Misesian Vision‘, makes a welcome addition to the substance of your theme. Rockwell argues that statists base their world-view on the Hobbesian premise of bellum omnium contra onmes, whereas classical liberals are grounded in the freedom of voluntary association; presumably the latter are more conducive for educational innovation–both in teaching and its substance–than the former, since liberty cannot flourish where forgotten. What follows is that free schools are more likely to practise and to inspire freedom than their state school counterparts.

So many ‘politically correct’ notions turn out to be incorrect, if not actually damaging, that the less political input there is to the curriculum in schools the better. I imagine nearly everyone agrees that children should be taught to read and write and do arithmetic to a minimum level of competence (which is a good deal beyond what state schools manage to achieve for all at the moment). But apart from that, a ‘free’ system should provide plenty of ‘diversity’ in what is taught, as well as how it is taught. After all, Hayek said ‘competition is a discovery procedure’, and we could do with some discovery in education.

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