After telling a gathering of the American Federation of Teachers that he opposes school voucher programs ... Senator Obama added that: “We need to focus on fixing and improving our public schools; not throwing our hands up and walking away from them.”The reason one should favor school choice is that our public school system is a monopoly and monopolies tend to be inefficient. Competition forces institutions to improve or die. Monopoly allows them to stagnate.
Senator Obama sends his own two daughters to the private “Lab School” founded by John Dewey in 1896, which charged $20,000 in tuition at the middle school level last year. Though he says “we” should not be “throwing up our hands and walking away” from public schools, he has done precisely that.
That is his right, and, as a wealthy man, it is his prerogative under the current system of American education, which allows only the wealthy to easily choose between private and government schools. But instead of offering to extend that same choice to all families, Senator Obama wants the poor to wait for the public school system to be “fixed.”
America's colleges have to compete with each other, so it is not surprising that our college system is widely considered the best in the world. Our local public school monopolies face almost no competition, so it should not be surprising that America's public school students generally rank quite low on international tests.