How Education Could Work in a Libertarian Culture

By Manuel Martin | United States

Politicians and the government currently have a monopoly on education. This allows them to change the past, control the present, and design the future. We are failing our youth by giving politicians (of all people) a monopoly on our children’s evolving minds. To submit the youth to political education is to ignore the reality that politicians have zero interest in teaching a social values system based on human respect and peaceful persuasion. Rather, the basis of their influence is founded upon controlling citizens through the social values of coercion reinforced with gun violence. After all, politicians ultimately reinforce all directives with violence. Education, without a doubt, works no differently.

If there was ever a sector of the economy that should be subject to the customer satisfaction free enterprise system (and liberated from political coercion), it’s education. Our youth deserve teachers, administrators, and business professionals focused on customer satisfaction instead of bureaucrats following political directives.

Libertarians want to end the government’s involvement in education. First and foremost, this is because our youth deserve better than teachers giving them (even if subliminally) a social values system of coercion over persuasion and collectivism over individual human respect.

Freedom of Education

Educational freedom will liberate entrepreneurs from political restrictions. This will indubitably result in a diversity of educational options. Moreover, parents will be free to choose a school that fits their child’s personality.

If your child is rowdy, bursting with energy and loves to play, there will be a school for your child. The school may offer two or three hours of recess, or other activities to suit your child’s needs. Is your child a baseball or soccer protégé? Well, there may also evolve schools designed to cultivate your child’s athletic potential. If your child is inclined to entrepreneurship, there may evolve schools designed to help your child become a business tycoon. If your child has artistic inclinations, schools will evolve to help your child become a professional artist. Freedom in education will give parents the ability to shop for a school tailored to their child’s personality, instead of shopping by zip code.

The great paradox in our current educational system is that politicians believe their educational mandates promote fairness. However, there is nothing fair about forcing youth into a one-size-fits-all monopolistic system. In fact, this system which promotes inequality, as the students who do well in the government method will outperform other students who may perform well using other methods. Students who aren’t receptive to the sit down for 7 hours and listen to a lecturer method have no choice but to underperform. After all, the government forces them into this system that does not cater to their personality.

Multiple Learning Methods

Let’s assume there are five different learning methods teachers can use to teach children. In reality, there are infinitely many more. Regardless, America’s “Prussian lecture system” is just one, but students who may do well with other method are often labeled as dumb, lazy, ADHD, or other insults by the system. These same children may excel in an interactive, seminar-based, or outdoor system, instead.

Our young are caged into a one-size-fits-all system where they are denied the opportunity to learn according to their personality. How receptive to learning would you be if your instruction did not align with your learning style?

What if politicians regulated the automobile industry in the same way they standardize education? They could, for example, mandate that companies can only sell vehicles with two doors and a four-cylinder engine. Would you be okay with this limitation on your freedom to choose products that entrepreneurs made to meet your needs? I’m guessing not, as you may want the option of a V6, V8, SUV, four doors, or perhaps a truck. Most recognize the benefits of competition for their automobile needs, yet most don’t make the connection that students are being denied the benefit of market competition.

Politicians are stripping entrepreneurs of the ability to provide parents the freedom to choose an educational model that suits their child’s personality. This is a disgrace that history will look back on as barbaric.

Ending government’s involvement in education will not only free parents and children from monopoly control, but also free young adults wishing to start their professional careers.

Career Jumpstarts

Want to be a lawyer? Have you ever asked yourself why can’t you just start law school at 14, 15 or 16 years old? Or, why do you have to go to law school in the first place? Why do you have to pass a coercively mandated state bar exam? Why can’t you just study law, start a law practice, and allow your customer results to publically prove your industry knowledge?  Your customer results, not a government certificate, are proof of the value which you generate for others.

Want to be a chiropractor? Political mandates dictate that you must sacrifice four years of your life earning a bachelor’s degree before you are “free” to learn from doctors wishing to teach you chiropractic medicine. Think about that for a second; we live in a time when a group of individuals is forcing those who wish to learn medicine (and help others), to sacrifice four years of their life earning an unnecessary degree. Are those your values? Do you honestly believe one person should have the ability to control four years of another?

Libertarianism is true compassion, compassion to give people human respect to design their own lives.  In a libertarian culture, you could apprentice under your local chiropractor for a year or two. Once the local chiropractor thinks you’re ready to go on your own, he will certify your abilities. In his community, his reputation will be enough to certify your abilities and gain you customers. If you try to go outside his local community, then his certification may not carry much weight. As a result, you may need to go to a traditional chiropractic school. Or, you may have to develop a positive reputation and customer reviews through regulating channels (like Yelp), which allow you to move outside his community.

Traditional Chiropractic schools will, of course, still exist. But, there is no reason to think it would take ten years to become proficient in chiropractic medicine (or regular medicine). The curriculum may take two, three, or four years.

A World of Possibility

The vibrancy of free markets will lead to an unlimited amount of educational models meeting the varying needs of educational consumers. True progress is lifting political chains and freeing people to meet the educational needs of our next generation. Progress is not forcing individuals into a uniform system denying entrepreneurs the freedom to teach according to a student’s dynamic personality.  Our youth and young professionals deserve the human respect to be free of the educational monopoly.

Here is a plan that can act as a blueprint for how to dismantle the governmental educational complex. An assumption here is that we have evolved our culture to the progressive libertarian ethical standard and are working to efficiently and virtuously dismantle federal and state governments. Moreover, I assume that first, society has eliminated the income tax and replaced it with a sales tax. Lastly, I assume that educational spending does not have a sales tax on it.

The Libertarian Educational Plan

Step One: Eliminate compulsory education laws. If a young adult feels they would rather spend their time working than sitting in class, they should have the human respect to make that decision.

Step Two: Eliminate all federal and state laws and regulations that limit the creation of new schools. Entrepreneurs should be free to build as many schools as they need to meet market demands.

Step Three: Eliminate curriculum standards. How much English, math, Spanish, or geometry is necessary should be up to parents, entrepreneurs, and market competition to decide. The State should have no say in the matter.

Step Four: Transition all federal government spending on education to a voucher system. Parents, in this system, choose the school, and the school cashes the voucher. Vouchers will be in place for two years, after which they go away and schools will (like every other private sector business) stay afloat by attracting voluntarily paying customers.

Step Five: Eliminate all mandates on professional certifications. To clarify, colleges that teach professions such as law, medicine, and engineering will still exist. Without a doubt, there is clear market demand. On the other hand, we are simply getting rid of government involvement. For example, if someone is 17 years of age wanting to study medicine and there is a medical school willing to teach him, he can go to that school, regardless if he has a bachelor’s degree or not. Schools will be free to design the length of their curriculum. Does med school really need to be ten years in length, or can one complete it in five? Who knows? After all, there isn’t a free market competing to meet the needs of educational customers.

Also, aspiring professionals can apprentice under other professionals, either to gain experience and increase one’s chances of getting into professional schools or to start their own profession.

These reforms will result is an educational system that meets the needs of all educational consumers for all income levels. With the market free to build schools, the income tax eliminated, colleges free to educate as they see fit and with the two-year voucher system directing money to the schools which are most efficient, the market will be ready to meet the needs of educational consumers without political influence.

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