He also didn’t have much use for teacher unions.
The problem there of course is the unions. The unions are the worst thing that ever happened to education because it’s not a meritocracy. It turns into a bureaucracy, which is exactly what has happened. The teachers can’t teach and administrators run the place and nobody can be fired. It’s terrible.
Going to a full voucher system would improve public schools.
I’ve been a very strong believer in that what we need to do in education is to go to the full voucher system…. One of the things I feel is that, right now, if you ask who are the customers of education, the customers of education are the society at large, the employers who hire people, things like that. But ultimately I think the customers are the parents. Not even the students but the parents….
I believe very strongly that if the country gave each parent a voucher for $4,400 [1995 interview] dollars that they could only spend at any accredited school several things would happen. Number one schools would start marketing themselves like crazy to get students.
Secondly, I think you’d see a lot of new schools starting…. The third thing you’d see is I believe, is the quality of schools again, just in a competitive marketplace, start to rise. Some of the schools would go broke. A lot of the public schools would go broke. There’s no question about it.
Whatever the intermediate pain, it would be better than our present system.
It would be rather painful for the first several years, but far less painful I think than the kids going through the system as it is right now. The biggest complaint of course is that schools would pick off all the good kids and all the bad kids would be left to wallow together in either a private school or remnants of a public school system. To me that’s like saying “Well, all the car manufacturers are going to make BMWs and Mercedes and nobody’s going to make a $10,000 car.” I think the most hotly competitive market right now is the $10,000 car area.