Peanut Butter, Education, and Markets

By Olsen, Darcy | Ideas on Liberty, November 2000 | Go to article overview

Peanut Butter, Education, and Markets


Olsen, Darcy, Ideas on Liberty


Have you ever thought of petitioning Congress about the quality or quantity of the peanut butter you eat? Have you ever thought of creating a reform movement around peanut butter? Or have you ever wondered why there isn't a federal department of peanut butter? Maybe it's because if customers don't like Peter Pan, they can buy Jif, and if they don't like Jif, there's Skippy. We can get it chunky or smooth. We can even get low-fat peanut butter, of all things.

Why are there are so many variations on a product that in the scheme of life is pretty insignificant, but when it comes to education--a product that determines our children's future incomes and the very character of our society--America still relies on a Soviet-style monopoly that provides almost no choice, variation, or freedom?

Student achievement has been stagnant or falling in almost every subject for the past 30 years, as measured by several tests, including the National Assessment of Educational Progress, the International Evaluation of Education Achievement, the Young Adult Survey, the National Adult Literacy Survey, and the International Adult Literacy Survey. And it's not because we don't spend enough. Over the same 30-year period, real spending has doubled, increasing from $4,000 to $8,000 per child.

Why? One reason is that K- 12 education in America is a legally protected monopoly--it's protected from competition by its guaranteed tax base, and it's bereft of the profit motive that spurs innovation and efficiency in every other successful industry in the country. America desperately needs an education system where the customer is king. And when the customer is not treated as a king, he should be able to take his business elsewhere. Let's call this customer-driven education.

Naturally not everyone shares that vision. Vice President Al Gore's biggest-ticket education item is federal preschool for all 3- and 4-year-olds. Lost on Gore is the fact that 70 percent of preschool-aged children already attend preschool, and, call it old-fashioned, but some parents still prefer to care for their preschoolers at home. This flexible approach to early education arguably is the best part of the American education system. According to the Department of Education, U.S. preschoolers have a strong start. On factors that kindergarten teachers say are among the most important for school readiness--physical health, enthusiasm, and curiosity--today's kindergartners are in top shape. As they enter kindergarten, more than 95 percent are in good health; nine out of ten are eager to learn; and about 85 percent work and play creatively. In terms of concrete knowledge, 94 percent are proficient at recognizing numbers and shapes and counting to ten. Two in three know their ABCs.

It's also in the early years when American students are most competitive internationally. Consider France, England, Denmark, Spain, and Belgium--any number of European countries with universal preschools--where more than 90 percent of 4-year-olds attend public preschools. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Peanut Butter, Education, and Markets
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.