Bill 115: IS EDUCATION AN ESSENTIAL SERVICE?
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By removing the right to strike from teachers with Bill 115, the government is treating them the same as police and firemen, in essence, declaring public education an essential service. Given that the vast majority of families have no choices in where or how their children are educated, this is a logical step. If education is not an essential service, one must ask why the government is providing it.
Food, shelter, and clothing are essential to our lives, but strikes do not jeopardize our ability to obtain them, thanks to competition in these markets. The government is only involved in helping low income families pay for these services and for setting safety standards. If education were provided by a variety of organizations competing for students by offering the best education at the lowest price, parents would have alternatives. Teachers and employers would have an incentive to resolve employment disputes without disrupting their clients’ education.
The Ontario Libertarian Party believes that education is no more an essential service than food, clothing, or shelter. Government has taken responsibility for educating our children away from parents; the very people who care most about how well their children are educated. This responsibility can only be returned to parents if they have real choices, choices that can only be provided by entrepreneurs and organizations competing to provide what parents want at a price they can afford.
As a step towards introducing a competitive education market, the Ontario Libertarian Party would promote the idea of parents directing taxes for their children’s education to the school of their choice. They could choose to send their children to the government school or a free market school, depending on which school best meets the needs of their child. (Schools boards would no longer receive funding directly from the government.) Over time, as the education market develops and costs become more competitive, the need for the government to tax citizens to pay for education would be diminished. Ultimately, only low-income families would require education assistance. It is likely that philanthropic and religious organizations would step forward to provide free education for those in need, once government returns responsibility for educating children back to their parents.
The Ontario Libertarian Party has been a registered political party since 1975. We advocate free markets, property rights, limited government, and voluntary interactions within communities between individuals and groups. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org, @LPOntario, http://www.libertarian.on.ca/