Education and Bureaucracy: National Testing and School Privatization
10 Pages Posted: 22 May 2011
Date Written: May 17, 2011
Criticisms of education are being voiced widely and vociferously from virtually every quarter. The sounds of supposedly viable solutions, however, are seldom, if ever, heard and typically resonate solely from within the very tired and battered halls of education responsible for the problems in the first place. The most common voices these days clamor for "accountability," which virtually everyone sees as required but few seem to know how to measure. In fact, this concept has in many ways degenerated into the application of nationally standardized tests created and administered by government bureaucrats and educational thought police. Instead of a step in the positive direction, we view accountability in the form of standardized national achievement testing to be a further debilitation. "Solutions" of this sort will only move us further along in the deterioration of our already floundering schooling system.
In this paper, we view the challenges of education utilizing the Austrian analysis of bureaucracy, and make suggestions for improvement on the basis of it. From our perspective, the current malaise can best be addressed through a program of radical decentralization and privatization. We begin by addressing in Section II the underlying assumptions and practices of the current approach, and then in section III offer some potential solutions based on Austrian economic thought. We conclude with section IV.
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