Front Page Titles (by Subject) Educational Equality - Literature of Liberty, January/March 1979, vol. 2, No. 1
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Educational Equality - Leonard P. Liggio, Literature of Liberty, January/March 1979, vol. 2, No. 1 
Literature of Liberty: A Review of Contemporary Liberal Thought was published first by the Cato Institute (1978-1979) and later by the Institute for Humane Studies (1980-1982) under the editorial direction of Leonard P. Liggio.
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The Free Market Approach to Educational Reform. The Rand Paper Series. Santa Monica, California: The Rand Corporation (1978) 37 pp.
Can the present system of public schools provide educational equality or would a free market approach allow American education to realize more surely the goal of “equal interest and concern with the education of every child?”
The critique against public education has intensified in recent years for many reasons: rising costs, deteriorating academic performance, depersonalization of the educational experience for students and teachers alike, educational faddism, and bureaucratism. Free market education offers a moral basis and economically efficient system based on consumer choice and competition to counteract these ills of public education.
Would private or free market education preserve the cherished democratic value of educational equality of opportunity? Yes, once we carefully remove from educators the imposed responsibility of “social reform.” Frederick Mosteller's and Daniel P. Moynihan's work, On Equality of Educational Opportunity (1972) has debunked the myth that public money and resources can create equality of a child's educational opportunity. Neither teacher-pupil ratios nor per-pupil expenditures correlate with academic achievement. American public schooling has failed to produce intergroup equality of socioeconomic status.
But should “our schools shoulder the primary burden for. . . decreasing disparities in incomes and opportunities associated with race and social class?” It makes more sense to question whether the purpose of education is to achieve an equality of income or social status. Even if it were true that “the quality of one's education correlates positively with socioeconomic occupational achievement,” it would seem likely that a flexible free market educational system would be superior to the public school system in equalizing opportunities of minorities in jobs, income, and status. But again, the more important question is not so much socioeconomic “social reform” as educational quality.
Private free market education contains the economic incentive system to make more available the truly educational ideal of guiding one's pupils, to help them “learn to think clearly and independently.” To fulfill this ideal requires “an equal interest, concern, respect, and love for all children.” Once freed from the responsibility of socioeconomic reform, education in the free market will be competent to pursue the ideal of encouraging true learning on a fairer, more equitable basis.