Would you choose a school full of bullies?
Parents and local governments looking to disincentivize bullying could look for a federal solution, but a totally private education market would solve the problem.
This article from the local newspaper points out how schools that don’t address bullying might lose federal funding from the Department of Education. I think it’s good that people are recognizing the importance of incentives here, but I think it’s unfortunate that people are looking for top-down solutions. I’m not sure how effective a threat of lost federal funding will be. It will probably result in a lot of programs and initiatives, but I don’t know that it will lead to a serious reduction in bullying.
If there’s a solution, it’s competition. This would make schools accountable to those to whom they should be accountable: the parents and students they are supposed to serve. I predict that in a totally private market for education, schools that have reputations for being places where students are bullied for any reason will lose a lot of business and a lot of community support.
Here’s an op-ed Mike Hammock and I wrote last summer in which we take on the issue of school competition. We summarize a little bit of the research on charter schools, vouchers, and educational outcomes. In light of the controversy over bullying, a natural extension would be to look at how the introduction of competition of virtually any kind affects discipline problems, bullying, and harassment.
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