Free To Choose 1990 – The Failure of Socialism –  Mini Schools

For three years parents at this school could choose to send their children to any of several specially created mini-schools, each with a different curriculum. The experiment was designed to restore a choice to those who were most closely involved, the parents and the teachers. DON AYERS, FORMER PRINCIPAL: Probably the most significant thing that happened was that the teachers, for the first time, had some power, and they were able to build the curriculum to fit the needs of the children as they saw it. The state and local school board did not dictate the kind of curriculum that was used in the McCollum School. The parents became more involved in this school. They attended more meetings. Also, they had a power to pull their child out of that particular mini-school if they chose another mini-school. FRIEDMAN: Giving parents greater choice had a dramatic effect on educational quality. In terms of test scores, this school went from 13th to 2nd place among the schools in its district, but the experiment is now over. When school resumed after the summer vacation, this was just another public school, back in the hands of the bureaucrats. Giving parents a choice is a good idea, yet it always meets with opposition from the educational establishment.

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