Is it time to abolish public schools?

Brian Phillips in an article in today’s Capitalism Magazine online uses a supply and demand argument to support a case for abolishing public schools.

Education is always going to be a sensitive issue. We are told that we need public education for the greater good of society. Government tells us that only they can do it to provide the way forward for society, especially to uplift the poor. However, it is very clear to most everyone, that the failed program/experiment of government run public education is taking society in the wrong direction. To make matters worse, the poor in cities and in rural areas are provided with the worst government schools of all! We see that right here in Jamaica.

In Jamaica, about 25% enter high school illiterate, 40% of high school entrants fail to reach Grade 11; and over 90% who students who sit CXC/CSEC  do not achieve more than 3 subjects. Of course, the solution by the liberal/progressives on the left is for more money to be spent on education. It is interesting to note that the former Minister of Education and Prime Minister, now Leader of the Opposition, home-schools his children.

In an earlier article on this blog, I wrote about the (widely known) superior results in non-government administered vs. government-administered school in Jamaica.

The Govt of Jamaica spends over J$70 billion every year on a failing system. Recently, evidence from the Caribbean has shown that government spending on tertiary education has heavily favoured the wealthy. So why do we tax everyone (including people without children) to provide a sub-standard education for society and benefits the “well-to-do”? I would argue that this is just another way for government to maintain control of our lives and deny us the opportunity to be in control of the education we would want for our children in an education market place, to chart a future of our choosing. Education costs money, less taxation would mean that we could afford to pay for our children’s literacy and training, and if we don’t have any children there would be more money in our pockets.

Do we need to abolish public schools? I think this is a direction we should be heading in, because what we are doing is not working. Education should be for sale. We need government to stay out of education to improve its standards. Read Phillips’ article and see if it what I am saying is making sense.

Kavon Fiennes



Kavon Fiennes is creator of the RightFromYaad blog. He is a 30-something year old ‘Black’, sometimes ‘Brown’, Jamaican. He is a former socialist, nationalist and Democrat, turned Libertarian and semi-conservative since his mid 20′s. He still holds lingering left-wing views on the way society ought to treat the destitute and elderly.


About RightFromYaad

A view from "the Right", as a source of ideas to create a new vision of freedom and what it promises for Jamaicans, to counter the tyranny of the status quo of Jamaica's reality since 1962. Website: Email: Twitter : @rightfromyaad Facebook:
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4 Responses to Is it time to abolish public schools?

  1. Sher Hickey says:

    Radical view Kavon
    One of the fundamental problems with our education system is that we try to develop curriculum that is not specific to the needs of Jamaican children. We adapt curriculum models from different countries that is not necessary appropriate to our culture or learning style. Most of the curriculum models were developed using archaic philosophies and lacks inquire based skills necessary engage or motivate students to learn. Americans, Jamaicans, Phillip and the world should take a look at the Finland Education System that is strongly public and the government pays for education straight to the Master’s degree. That is a system that we should aspire to establish.

    • Dear Sher,

      Thanks for your comment. I find it interesting that in Jamaica this suggestion of mine is not more widely demanded by the public. There is a clear superiority of results in prep v. primary schools, as well as from church and trust administered high schools v govt administered high schools. We have a high level of illiteracy. We’re spending J$70 billion per year, when 40% of students don’t make it to 5th form and 90% don’t get to more than 3 CXC subjects.

      Thanks for bringing up Finland. You should note that their teachers are recruited from the top 10% of graduates, not so in Jamaica. In Finland all teachers are required to have masters degrees to be employed, not so in Jamaica.

      Most importantly the Govt in Finland does not have a heavy hand in the administration of the education. In Jamaica we have a lot of administrators being paid to do nothing. In Finland the individual teachers have great autonomy with the curriculum. We tend to see more of that in non-govt schools in Jamaica, but there should be more. The Finns have the best education system because it’s run by the very best and brightest graduates who become teachers. Govt major role is funding the whole thing. Very important.

      I suppose I will need a follow up post to explain the role government should play in schools…which is to fund it, but stay out of administering and dictating curriculum and evaluating standards.

      Thanks for reading and keep posting.


  2. George says:

    The answer is yes. Public education needs to be abolished, completely. It is nothing, but an evil bureaucratic monopoly, very evil, and very corrupt. Public education destroyed my life, mentally and psychologically, because I have learning and comprehensive disability problems that public education never help me with. Public education disables the minds of children who have learning and comprehensive disability problems, which still exists today in public education. Therefore, I am for the complete abolishment of public education. The government does not know how to organize public education, except making it more and more evil and corrupt.

    • The Teachers’ Unions are the major hindrance to the abolition of public education. Additionally teachers’ salaries go up and up at cost to the taxpayer while the quality of education remains the same.

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