Thursday, April 2, 2009

Idea #4: Free The Service Districts

Hopefully, most of you read the fine print (or the date) on my proposal from yesterday ( Now let's get back to some real ideas for improving the cost-effectiveness of our education system. Here's one I heard in a random chat that sounds quite sensible to me.

In Oregon, many supplemental services for schools such as speech therapy, special ed, etc., are provided by ESDs, or Education Service Districts. These districts are each tied to a specific set of school districts, with a monopoly on services for their selected schools, and centrally funded. As we all know with monopolies, this means they have little incentive to cut costs or improve their service.

Why not give the money to the school districts, rather than the ESDs? We could then allow each school district to shop around, and have a choice of ESDs to purchase services from. The healthy competition would increase the business for the more efficient service providers, and force the others to examine their operating procedures to catch up.

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