John Stossel

OK, some countries spend a lot of money and do well. But that very same OECD study said that no fewer than 20 countries that spend less money than we do achieve better scores, and that "Spending alone is not sufficient to achieve high levels of outcomes." The United States spends $83,910 per student from ages 6 to 15. The Slovak Republic, which outperforms the United States in this study, spends $17,612 per student.

The NEA also claimed I'm not objective because I make speeches for money. I do, but I donate the money to charities. For example, I give money to Student Sponsor Partners, an organization that pays for poor kids to go to private school. You might say I put my money where my mouth is -- unlike the teachers' organizations, which often put their mouths where the money is.

Perhaps the most fundamentally flawed idea is this all-too-common one: "Public schools were created to provide a 'public good': education for all, regardless of a family's ability to pay ... By contrast, under a voucher system that gives public dollars to completely unmonitored private schools, there is no such right to expect or demand accountability for student performance or how tax dollars are spent."

They don't get it. Competition brings accountability.

Private schools may be "unmonitored" by bureaucrats, but they face the most demanding kind of supervision our society provides: a market full of freely choosing individuals. Parents' desire for a good education for their children is a much more powerful check on schools than any politician's law or union rule. The people who want to control every young American's education like to talk about accountability, but what they want is to make schools accountable to anointed bureaucrats who think they know what's best for all of us. They evade real accountability -- the kind of accountability where if a student or parent realizes a school isn't doing its job, he can find another one.

I could go on; there are plenty of myths. But the most important point to remember is quite simple: If public schools are good, they have nothing to fear from school choice. Students and parents will choose them.


John Stossel

John Stossel is host of "Stossel" on the Fox Business Network. He's the author of "No They Can't: Why Government Fails, but Individuals Succeed." To find out more about John Stossel, visit his site at >johnstossel.com. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. ©Creators Syndicate