Britain's deprived neighbourhoods do not need more government money and intervention. Instead, there is an entrepreneurial deficit, and a crushing dependency culture, which cannot be mended by politicians, who by their very presence will crowd out any last traces of enterprise. Professor James Tooley draws these conclusions in a new IEA study.*
Tooley says the government's determination to see a much increased role for the private sector in education is evident in its recent White Paper. But opposition, especially from the unions, is growing. There is a general suspicion of the private sector, and ignorance of the opportunities on offer. Many doubt whether the profit motive should be permitted into educational delivery.
Tooley's study confronts misconceptions about the role of the private sector in education and challenges the prevailing wisdom that private education fosters social and economic inequality. On the contrary, Tooley found the private sector, as well as being innovative, in many countries provides creative social responsibility programmes, subsidised places and student loan schemes.
His book explores the role of private education in lifting the most disadvantaged out of poverty. In many developing countries, government schools are in a parlous state. But the poor don't just sit by, waiting for government to make their schools better. Some of the most disadvantaged people on this planet vote with their feet, exit the state schools and move their children to private schools, set up by educational entrepreneurs to cater for their needs. Such schools charging about Â£10 per year are commonplace, and are open to some of the poorest people, including children of rickshaw pullers and costermongers. And, as Tooley p