To those who retain the hope that legislators and school board members may be swayed by "public welfare" cost/benefit analysis The Agenda's author recommends the following:
1. Chubb and Moe, Politics, Markets, and America's Schools.
2. Lieberman, Privatization and Educational Choice.
3. Steuerle, et, al., Vouchers and the Provision of Public Services.
4. Ravich, Left Back: A Century of Failed School Reforms.
5. West, Education and the State.
6. Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom.
7. Spring, The American School.
8. Tyack, The One Best System.
9. Sowell, Knowledge and Decisions.
10. Hayek, The Road to Serfdom.
11. Axelrod, The Evolution of Cooperation.
12. TIMSS Mathematics Achievement in the Middle School Years (1996).
13. OECD, Education at a Glance.
Chubb and Moe (1991) is the one necessary starting point for an informed school voucher discussion. Lieberman provides a close analysis of the current legal environment and the advantages of a profit-driven education industry. The Brookings Institution/Urban Institute/CED study is not confined to tuition vouchers, and so provides useful welfare-economic background as well as specifically school-related analysis. Ravich will horrify readers with her tale of the stunning arrogance and wilful stupidity of State school advocates. In Education and the State, Edwin West delves into the history of compulsory education in the US and England. The chapter "The Role of Government in Education" in Milton Friedman's Capitalism and Freedom outlines a school voucher proposal. Joel Spring's The American School and David Tyack's The One Best System are histories of the US system. Sowell, Hayek, and Axelrod provide relevant background economic theory. TIMSS and OECD are compendiums of international comparative data.
II. Journal articles
Randall G. Holcombe
"Government: Unnecessary but Inevitable"
The Independent Review. Volume 8 Number 3 Winter 2004
"Formal Models of Authority: Introduction and Political Economy Applications"
Rationality and Society, May 1999; 11: 115 - 138.
"The End of the Middle Way"
American Economic Review.
"Anarchy and Its Breakdown"
Journal of Political Economy
III. Web resources and articles
One page. Marvin Minsky comment on school. Please read this.
The Friedman Foundation sponsors research on school choice and makes research available.
David Friedman here considers the welfare-economic arguments for a State role in the education industry.
Here Ted Kolderie considers alternatives to the the current structure of K-12 schooling in the US.
Edwin G. West, "Education Vouchers in Principle and Practice: A Survey" provides an economist's overview of the welfare-economic arguments for a State role in the education business. Here West contemplates the origin of compulsory schooling in England.
Caroline Hoxby's page at NBER lists nemerous studies. Browse Caroline Hoxby's papers on the web here.
Joshua Angrist "Randomized Trials and Quasi-Experiments in Education Research" NBER Reporter, summer, 2003, article describes a school voucher lottery in Columbia. Angrist, et. al. discuss the Columbia experience here also. Introduction: "Colombia used lotteries to distribute vouchers which partially covered the cost of private secondary school for students who maintained satisfactory academic progress. Three years after the lotteries, winners were about 10 percentage points more likely to have Ž nished 8th grade, primarily because they were less likely to repeat grades, and scored 0.2 standard deviations higher on achievement tests. There is some evidence that winners worked less than losers and were less likely to marry or cohabit as teenagers. BeneŽ ts to participants likely exceeded the $24 per winner additional cost to the government of supplying vouchers instead of public school places."
A book review by John Ray...
Andrew Coulson's School Choices site contains well-organized analysis, commentary, and numerous links. He also discusses education policy at the Mackinac center. Here, and here, for example.
Lewis Andrews surveys school choice policies and special education across nations in this Policy Review article.
Please read the Ted Kolderie article and the comment by Marvin Minsky.
The list above will provide interested readers with data and analysis relevant to education policy and the behavior of the State. The Agenda's author recommends E. G. West's book Education and the State on the basis of a cursory glance and on the strength of West's other works, cited above. The other books on the list, the Agenda's author has read cover-to-cover and recommends without reservation (except for Ravich, who is overly fond of classical education and insufficiently trusting of parents and markets).
The above material will be of little use to homeschooling families, who have already seen the light and need no persuasion. To them the Agenda's author recommends Dover publications in subject areas of interest, and the enjoyment of youth while it lasts.