Educational FreedomSeparation of School and State

Providing Educational Options for the Poor

In his book, The Beautiful Tree, James Tooley wrote about his discovery of private schools available to very poor families in India, Africa, and China, schools that existed in spite of governments and regulations. Families sacrificed to pay the meager tuition, and schools sometimes operated in whatever sheltered spot they could find. Still, children were getting an education worth paying for, even when a free, government-run school was available. Government-run schools were often plagued with teachers who didn’t show up or didn’t teach and other issues that made them a worthless option. This 12-minute interview with Tooley beautifully summarizes the book.

It’s time we expand our thinking in the United States to help create options that work for the poor, even if they aren’t perfect. Otherwise, we continue to expand the gulf between the haves and have nots.

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