Are Government Schools Safer Than Private Ones?

Kathryn HickokQuickPoint!

Last summer the Milton and Rose D. Friedman Foundation released a study entitled “Disruptive Behavior: An Empirical Evaluation of School Misconduct and Market Accountability.” Researchers examined the cases of employee misconduct in both public and private schools in the 12 states that have school choice policies.

Some opponents of school choice argue that private schools are not as “accountable” as public schools because they are not subject to all the same regulations as public schools.

This is not true. Using statistical data, the Friedman researchers found that private schools subject to market accountability really are less likely to see their employees engage in misconduct than public school employees subject to government regulatory accountability.

In private schools, parents are free to remove their children for any reason and send them somewhere else. This is a powerful market incentive for private schools to hold teachers and other employees to the highest standards of educational quality and behavior. The Friedman researchers found that for school safety, market accountability works even better than regulatory accountability.

So, if you want safer schools, school choice is the way to go.

Kathryn Hickok is Publications Director and Development Coordinator at Cascade Policy Institute, a think tank based in Portland, Oregon. She is also Cascade’s Director of the Children’s Scholarship Fund-Portland.

© 2007, Cascade Policy Institute. All rights reserved. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is hereby granted, provided the author and Cascade Policy Institute are cited. Contact Cascade at (503) 242-0900 to arrange print or broadcast interviews on this topic. For more topics visit the QuickPoint! archive.

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