April 05, 2004
The Economist on the economics of home schooling

I missed this when it was first posted. It's called "A Free Market in Education", so it's right up my street. It's about the economics of home schooling, and the fact that the Economist is impressed by said economics.

One homeschool family started a homeschool retail business in 1994, and spent the last 10 years learning how to successfully serve other families that teach their own children at home. Nathan and Lindley Rachal have decided to take what they learned as homeschool entrepreneurs to serve other homeschool businesses. They have founded the homeschool books and business association, with a trade journal, "The Connection," and a website at www.hsbba.com. Their mission is to make sure that other homeschool families don't have to "reinvent the wheel" as they step out to bring new products to market.

Free minds and free markets have made America great, and homeschoolers are well on their way to establishing a lasting tradition of entrepreneurship in education. As more families choose homeschooling and more homeschoolers serve this market, the "Economist" story will not be the last on homeschool capitalism. Next stop, Wall Street Journal?


To be a bit more serious than that, one of the fatal defects of the "progressive" tradition in education has been its besottedness with "democracy" - used pretty much as a code word for socialism, state control, etc. – and its hostility to "capitalism". And the problem with that is that this means favouring freedom in education, but opposing it everywhere else, because "capitalism" is what free people do when they are left to get on with doing what they want with what is theirs. The marriage of progressive educational thinking with entrepreneurial and pro-capitalist thinking is thus a switch of great historic significance.

The fun really starts when entrepreneurial thinking starts to penetrate the lives and thoughts of children, with a continuum being established between the education of themselves that they boss at their schools (or whatever) and the larger enteprises they later boss in the big wide world out there. At the moment, you pretty much have to drop out of education to become any sort of serious entrepreneur.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 04:43 PM
Category: Economics of educationEducation theory