Liberty Explained: What would education look like in a libertarian society?

Chris and Julia discuss how education will function when libertarians design the system.

• First, as with everything we discuss, we are not talking about a utopian vision of education. Every effort involving human beings will be flawed because humans are flawed. We strive for the optimal outcomes for students. It is hard for one person to predict how education would unfold once the monopoly is lifted because markets empower millions of individuals to collaborate using their talents. One mind is less adequate than a million minds. This powerful creative opportunity is at the heart of a libertarian schooling model.
• Despite opposing government schools, we are not anti-school. We are pro-teacher, pro-education, and pro-parent. We believe a new way of educating students must flourish in the internet age. Rote memorization is no longer adequate for knowledge work. Students need skills in critical thinking, problem solving, and a structure that supports self-discipline. The future is gig work, and we need a system that supports a new way of working.
• Let’s define education. We often think of it as sitting in a classroom for 8 hours a day in a physical building. But education is really the expansion of an individual’s mind. If the old way of education produces no real growth in understanding for a person, it cannot be considered education. We firmly believe that every individual is a genius at something. Our goal is to empower parents to help their child excel at their natural abilities. Imposing the traditional “sit in a chair for hours on end, listen to a lecture and read this textbook” model handicaps the creativity of both the teacher and student.
• The internet gives us a model for innovation. A cheap and low barrier to entry thanks to little government interference allows for rapid innovation, change, and adaptation.
• From a broad view, K-12 schools may not look much different than they do now in terms of the subjects taught. The difference will come in smaller classroom sizes, more options for schools closer to parents, happier teachers that earn more based on effort and skill, and greater selection in curriculums and teaching methods.
• The classic liberal arts education is still relevant despite an emphasis on specialization. Exposure to, understanding, and mastering the broad spectrum of human knowledge enriches the life and potential of a students while helping them learn where their emphasis might be placed. While a person may not be proficient in math, English, history, or science, it is still beneficial to a growing brain.
• Parents, teachers, and administrators would work together to adapt their educational style and curriculum towards the needs of the student and community at large. Gone would be the days of Washington bureaucrats setting standards for 370 million Americans. One-size-fits-all does not work in the highly individualized world of education.
• Teachers will also have more control over their classrooms. Many are unhappy due to low wages and limited employment opportunities. As new schools flourish, their interests will align with their students.
• One example of what we are talking about is called Hope Academy. It is a charter school in Indianapolis that serves teens struggling with addiction. This high school serves as a safe place for students to grow intellectually and personally.
• One other aspect of the libertarian view of education: Students would not be required to go to school. This is controversial and scary on the surface. The reality is most kids want to go to school, and most parents will send their kids to schools. According to Mary Ruwart’s Book “Short Answers to Tough Questions, a survey was done in Boston in the early 1800’s and 90% of parents sent their children to school/ Noncompulsory education improves the performance of classrooms by removing the students that don’t want to attend. Disruptions prevent barriers to learning.
• Like many ideas offered by pro-government voices, truancy laws are a security blanket that help them feel as if they’ve done something good. In reality, if a student does not want to attend school, they won’t even under out current laws.

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