3/31/2008

Tufte's comment on education

Professor Tufte mentioned today that, after controlling for other factors, teacher salaries are higher when private schools are located close by. It seems that the teacher representation monopoly held by unions may be in danger and the prospect of lower economic profits may be somewhere over the horizon. So let’s all pick up the cause for school choice, considering that teachers benefit from higher wages and smaller bureaucracies, and students are better off by higher levels of completion. After all, Milton Friedman’s Choir already has provided an anthem.

6 comments:

Rearden said...

Last year the student voucher system was placed before voters and lost by a small margin. I have yet to hear a solid argument against the voucher system; and after today's discussion on the monopoly power that public schools have, I am even more interested in why it didn’t win public support.

Lily said...

I would be interested to see the pay differences for teachers that teach in public schools rather than private. I would agree that the public school compensation is much lower, but I would like to see if the margin decreases the closer the schools become geographically. I bet urban public schools have to compensate more equally to prevent teachers from leaving to an adjacent private school that pays more.

John said...

Competition makes sense to us business students. It seems pretty clear that in order to have wages increase, class size decrease, and education quality to increase there needs to be more competition from private schools to rid the state of it's monopoly on education. Part of the problem is that most voters are not business students, in fact most of those that opposed and voted againts the vochers this past November had no idea what they were voting for. They were simply doing what the PTA told them to, because the PTA is looking always looking out for what's best for the teachers, parents, and students (using my sarcastic voice here) and would not steer parents wrong. Well now the uneducated voters will be paying for it, I recently read in the Daily Spectrum about a $38.5 million dollor bond to expand public schools in Iron County.

Jacques said...

I think opponents to the voucher system would point out that resources ought to be more focused on our current public school system, rather than private school alternatives.

A little off the subject, but another problem with teachers' salaries is the systemic pay increases attached to experience (or number of years having taught and education). Our public school system would retain its more talented and merited teachers if this approach were revamped.

TheFindlay said...

We forget the main principle behind all of the “public vs. private” school debate. Private schools are inherently evil and deplorable in nature. Seriously though, private schools gave this great nation the Clintons, John Kerry, and sister Pelosi to name a few! Good business sense or not, do we really want to support institutions that produce such excrement? We do not need more educational competition in the form of private schools; America needs politicians with spines that stand up for the common educator.

Dr. Tufte said...

Actually, private schools pay less and offer fewer benefits.

What I said was that avoiding employer monopsony is good for compensation. For teachers, this almost never happens. In fact, I think a union is a good thing to help mitigate such a situation.

I don't actually think that much of our education problem has to do with salaries. I think the bigger issue is merit pay, and the ability to fire people who don't work out.