I'm no fan of Rick Santorum. He's against free-trade, I'm against him. The NY Times has a story this morning quoting Santorum as saying schools run by federal or state governments are anachronistic. I'm sure he'll get nine kinds of grief for this, but other than forgetting to mention local government run schools are anachronistic, I agree with him.
I've never heard a robust defense of public education. There are many cases where it works great. Worked for me, worked for my daughter. Complete failure for my son. And it wasn't because the schools did anything right or wrong, it was just lucky myself and my daughter were adaptable enough to learn with the public school limits, and unfortunate my son was not.
But the inability of the public school system to accomodate kids that are outside of the mainstream is one of its largest failings. Parents essentially get locked into funding a public education via property taxes and it becomes much less possible for them to afford the kind of school their child needs. It crowds out choices that would be available if there were a robust free market in schools.
Of course, public schools do the most damage to those who need it most, the poor and powerless. And the typical response is, since public schools are doing such a poor job, let's give them more money. A head scratching response. Quite simliar in fact to Obamacare. Since Medicare is going to bankrupt the country, let's make it bigger. Huh?
I'm sure Santorum will be roundly criticized for this. Like I said, I'm no fan. But he has a point on this one.