Tag: School Choice

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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“Liberty is For Everyone” – An Interview With Libertarian Party Vice Chair Candidate Joe Paschal

By Spencer Kellogg | United States

Joe Paschal is a construction manager in the heavy industrial sector where he lives in White Sulphur Springs, Montana. Mr. Paschal is running for Vice Chair of the Libertarian National Party. His platform promotes local governance, free-market economics, and school choice.

 

71 Republic’s Spencer Kellogg spoke with Mr. Paschal by phone and he discussed a range of subjects from the tobacco industry and homeschooling to bitcoin and the environment:

On School Choice:

We homeschool all our kids. In the old days, a community would get together, and they would pay for school and decide who would come teach their children. It was funded by local people and it was a common agreement and they controlled it. If the teacher wasn’t doing their job, they’d get a new one. Now, the federal government mandates what we’re teaching and it’s more of an indoctrination than it is an education. If we want to make a difference in public schools, then we should stop sending our kids. The school gets money for every child enrolled. If you stop sending your kids to those schools, you’re essentially not supporting that system. If you don’t like the state in your life, then don’t give them a reason to be in your life.

On Corporate Governance:

I came up a millwright. I was a boilermaker and a welder. I worked in sawmills and paper mills in Virginia and worked my way up from there. I’ve worked hard, I’m a blue-collar man. I have no problem with free markets but when the free market controls the government it isn’t a free market. The corporations are writing the laws and they own the lawmakers. If you look at the EPA regulations big corporations want them. It keeps the startups and little guys out of business because they can’t afford to operate and compete. I’ve worked in the oil and gas sector. It’s not that I’m against big business but you won’t have a free market until the governments not involved in it.

On the Regulation & Centralization of The Virginia Tobacco Industry:

The 10-acre tobacco farms of Virginia folded because they were only allowed to grow so many pounds of tobacco per acre of property by mandate of the federal government. They could grow 50,000 pounds but if they only had poundage to grow 20,000 pounds, then they can only sell 1/2 of their potential output on the market. If you live in Virginia, you probably know of Bailey’s cigarettes. They’re made by Mac Bailey. Mac Bailey has 900 acres of tobacco in Mecklenburg & Charlotte counties. That pushed the small farmer further down and further down until it got to a point where they didn’t think it was worthwhile to raise tobacco. Those farmers end up selling their tobacco poundage to somebody like Mac Bailey and then that person buys up all the poundage for the whole county. That’s not a free market when the government is regulating it to the point where only a few people can afford to do business.

His Favorite Quote:

It does not take a majority to prevail… but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men. – Sam Adams

On Liberty:

My mother was a Goldwater republican. My step dad never really liked the government. He was drafted into the army, which was something he never wanted to do but he served because he didn’t want to break the law and become a draft dodger. When he got out of the army, he refused to vote anymore. To use an old Mark Twain adage: “If voting mattered, they wouldn’t let you do it.” He never trusted the government. He always paid his taxes, but he hated it. I came from a family that believed “leave me alone and I’ll leave you alone.” We’re not judgmental type people.

I was homeschooled. History was always interesting to me. At 16, I read the Magna Carta. Then I read the Constitution and I would go to places like Monticello and learn about Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and Patrick Henry. Virginia history and early American history are one in the same. All of that formed my political beliefs. It wasn’t until I got older and started having children that I got involved in politics. I realized I could either sit on the bench and complain all the time or go out and do something myself. My biggest mission is to teach people that liberty isn’t just a choice for a few people, it’s for everybody. From the person who digs ditches all day to someone that owns a major corporation. Liberty is Liberty.

On the American Dream:

I’ve been to Saudi Arabia, Columbia, Afghanistan, Dubai, Mexico. There’s good and bad in all those countries. In South America, for example, the energy bills are nothing because it’s a state-owned utility. It’s regulated to be cheap for the people but that sets prices and that creates two classes of people; the working class and the oligarchs. If you’re at the lower level, there is no chance for you to climb up. There is no free market there. Even though we have our issues, there’s always a chance that a poor person can climb up. If you look at someone making minimal wage, they can buy a little piece of Bitcoin every week. A little bit here, a little bit there. In 10 years they could become a millionaire if they work hard to get there. In those other countries, it’s almost impossible to do.

On Cryptocurrency:

I like the premise and I know there is some opportunity there. I don’t know if I trust an online based currency like that because I’m not sure how secure it would be if something were to happen. The way the NSA controls our internet and we don’t know when we’re being spied on or if they’re listening to this very conversation. Let’s say we have another great depression, the market dropped drastically and we had a run on the banks. This happened in Greece, when the economy went bust, they began freezing their assets from private citizens, so they couldn’t get their own assets. My fear is if something were to happen, economically in the world, how would we be able to benefit from owning an online currency? I still think hard currency has a lot of value. Gold and Silver has a lot of real world value. It makes people comfortable because they can hold it in their hand.

On Montana:

I worked in Montana 20 some years ago. I went out and did a project at a power plant. Then I just fell in love with it. Everybody was nice, everybody had guns, and everybody talked hunting, fishing and doing outdoor stuff. 4 Wheelers and ATV’s were riding up and down the street, and it was totally legal. I started researching and found out it’s the 4th largest state in America and it has only a million people in the whole state. The largest city is only 100,000 people. Property taxes are very low. There are zero sales tax on anything you buy. We have a simple tier income tax. The maximum that anyone pays in Montana on state income tax is 6.9%. The way the state looks at homeschooling, you have a right to educate your kids the way you see fit. To homeschool your kids in Montana, you just have to write a letter to the super intendant of the school district in which you live and tell them you’re homeschooling your children and it’s done. There’s no state inspection or testing. On your personal property taxes, you can write off the homeschool amount on your income tax. They don’t mess with you because that’s your right. It’s got some issues but it’s one of the freest states in the country. The biggest issue I have with Montana is they carry quite a bit of federal debt but that’s not even Montana’s fault. Something like 1/5 of Montana is federal land and to maintain that property we have to borrow money from the federal government.

On Automation:

Automation is coming and with a growing population we need to face the fact that there will be less jobs. It’s coming. The first thing most people want to suggest is a Universal Basic Income, but nothing is free and who’s paying for it? We’ve got millions and millions of acres in the United States that are owned by the federal government. If we could homestead that land, then people could stake themselves a few acres of land and have a self-sustaining property and they wouldn’t need to rely on anyone but themselves.

On Monsanto:

People are not sure about the GMO’s that they’re eating. They don’t trust what they’re eating. Don’t even get me started on Monsanto because that’s no free market there. The government protects them. The federal courts protected them when their seeds blew onto a small farmer’s property and then those famers were getting sued by Monsanto for selling seeds they didn’t even plant. The government backed Monsanto in that case. We have to protect our environment and our famers. End of story.

On Big Business:

I support big business and I support the free market. But I also know that we have to protect our environment. I don’t have a problem drilling oil if it’s done responsibly because I’ve worked on oil rigs. I understand that it’s a resource we have to tap but we shouldn’t be dumping it on the ground when we can process it. We have to be stewards as well as business people. Some of the ancaps in our party don’t quite see it that way. They believe the corporations will do good if they have the freedom to good and I’m not sure if I buy into that whole philosophy. I remember about John D. Rockefeller. They didn’t care too much about people or the environment. They cared more about making money and having power.