Friday, March 7, 2014

Who Pays for Education?

Some have put forth the theory that by charging money for school, individuals will value it more, try harder, make better educational decisions.   This idea supposes that the individual, if self reliant, will do better for themselves.

If this theory is true, then all schooling, from daycare to high school graduation should be paid for by the person being educated. The earlier a person would start to have debt for education, the better.

Self Financing Education?

This self financing theory of education has several issues to overcome which, to date, it has been unable.

First, ignorance breeds ignorance. Those who are uneducated make poorer decisions. Allowing the uneducated to self direct their education will reduce the net knowledge of the society.

Second, those with unfair advantage will pass it on. If we wanted to build an aristocracy of wealth, then allowing the richest to educate their children better and the poor to educate their children worse will be self reinforcing. In a few generations a society that allows extreme differences in education will cease being a democracy and evolve into oligarchy.

Who Spends on Education?

Third, education is not just about money. Knowledge about art, philosophy, morality, ethics, etc. provide value to us which can not be quantified. Education is about becoming a better person, not just a better earner of dollars. The side effect of being a better person is one ought to be able to earn better too. Money is a side effect, not the primary purpose of education.

Who Benefits from Education?

The entire society benefits when one person graduates from college. Education of each of us contributes to the whole. 

Oppositely, ignorance by one drags us all down. 

It is in our own best selfish interest to have as many people as highly educated as possible. 

Which Economies Do Best?

When I was a child, many states provided college educations for free. Those states that did so boomed; the entire state flourished.

Not all human activity can be reduced to financial currency. The tragedy is that we have allowed it to become so.

The countries with the most social and government support for education do far better in measures of happiness, length of life, and individual prosperity than those who allow education to be market driven.

No comments:

Post a Comment