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.

Illustration / Kirk Lyttle / Newscom / File
Bullying has received a lot of public outcry and attention, but few workable solutions. Privatizing all schools would allow parents to choose, and few would choose a school with a reputation for allowing kids to get picked on.

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.

Add/view comments on this post.


The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of the best economy-related bloggers out there. Our guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor and the views expressed are the bloggers' own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs. To contact us about a blogger, click here. To add or view a comment on a guest blog, please go to the blogger's own site by clicking on the link above.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.
QR Code to Would you choose a school full of bullies?
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today