By Patrick M. Byrne
NBC News Education Nation
On international math, science and reading exams, the United States lags behind countries such as Canada, New Zealand, South Korea and Australia despite the fact we spend far more to educate our children than every other industrialized nation. This failure in education translates into less human capital and innovation, fewer jobs, greater debt, and a growing gap between rich and poor.
But what would happen to learning if children stopped being assigned to schools based on where they live or how much their family earns?
My contention, which is supported by evidence and common sense, is that education would dramatically improve. And that is exactly what Nobel laureate economist Milton Friedman said in 1955 when he first proposed separating the government funding of education from the government management of schools.
Instead of running schools, Friedman said, government should allot parents a sum of money so their sons and daughters could apply towards any private, parochial, or public school, leaving it up to parents to choose what schools their children attended. The result, Friedman said, would be a fairer and more effective system of schools.
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