Edited by Geraint Johnes and Jill Johnes
Steve Bradley and Jim Taylor I Introduction The expense of the institutions for education and religious instruction, is likewise, no doubt, beneﬁcial to the whole society, and may, therefore, without injustice, be defrayed by the general contribution of the whole society. This expense, however, might perhaps with equal propriety, and with some advantage, be defrayed altogether by those who receive the immediate beneﬁt of such education and instruction, or by the voluntary contribution of those who think they have occasion for either one or the other. (Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations, Book 5, Chapter 1, p. 298) As we have seen, both the imposition of a minimum required level of schooling and the ﬁnancing of this schooling by the state can be justiﬁed by the ‘neighbourhood eﬀects’ of schooling. A third step, namely the actual administration of educational institutions by the government, the ‘nationalisation’, as it were, of the bulk of the ‘education industry’ is much more diﬃcult to justify on these, or, as far as I can see, any other, grounds. (Milton Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom, p. 89) The debate about the most appropriate method of providing mass education has a very long history, though the intensity of this debate has ﬂuctuated according to the ability of the state to provide ‘quality’ education at any particular time or in any particular place. The critique of state-provided education is often based on the observation of large numbers of young people with no, or low, quali...
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