The only quality standards or accreditation requirements I could find in California law for private schools is that the instructors must be "capable of teaching" (Education Code, section 48222). This is a breathtaking lack of oversight, but one can expect the parents to exercise due diligence.
It would certainly seem unnatural and intrusive for the government to directly provide food and shelter to children. We would agree that parents are in the best position to select the appropriate individualized care for their children.
Let us ignore the status quo for the moment and ask, in an ideal world, who should be responsible for providing an education to the child. As with other necessities, it seems natural and reasonable for the parent both to select the type of education and to pay for it. There is no inherent necessity for the government to provide education, any more than the government should feed and shelter children. In fact, the documentary Waiting for "Superman" illustrates the failure of several major public school systems, failures which are often related to the bureaucracy of the governments that run these schools.
The tax relief that this proposal would provide would fall both to parents and non-parents. It is debatable to what extent non-parents should be taxed to support the costs of raising children. I believe that if the actual costs of raising children are made to fall on their parents, members of society will be able to make a more informed decision when choosing parenthood.
Some argue that this situation would result in a poorer quality of education in poorer areas, as parents there sought to scrimp on education costs. The current system of collecting money for schools through taxes has the effect that money for schools can be distributed more evenly than it is collected. The distribution of money to schools is subject to a political process, and there have been debates over how evenly it is, or should be, distributed. Under my proposal, the people who argue in favor of a more even distribution would still have the option of soliciting donations for needy schools. Non-parents should also be given the opportunity to donate to education costs. Colleges and universities have long relied on donations to cover much of their costs. Raising money through voluntary donations, rather than coercive taxes, is a principle of libertarianism that increases our freedom and ennobles our humanity.
The nonprofit status of schools is another discussion, but for this proposal I don't propose changing it.
This page was last updated on 5 Sep 2011.Written by Charles R. Landau. Copyright (c) 2011. All rights reserved.