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February 2014 Policy Study, Number 14-1


Educational Freedom – For Your Child, My Child, All Children


"Average Is Over"



Tyler Cowen, professor of Economics at George Mason University and New York Times bestselling author of the book Average Is Over, Powering America Beyond the Age of the Great Stagnation, discusses rapidly changing technology and how the relationship between man and intelligent machines is impacting both work and education.  He documents how machine intelligence is both replacing some human labor and enhancing its value in other fields.[22]  Cowen also discusses how worldwide competition from people who want a better life and are willing to work very hard to achieve it will result in some people in the United States being very successful and some failing completely.


A key part of this change is that “average is over.”  In order to compete and succeed in this global labor market, our children must be the best they can.  It is imperative that parents and policy-makers understand this and insist that our children have every opportunity possible.  We must not allow our children to think that average is “good enough,” we must not “settle” for average, and we cannot let our schools settle for average.  There are millions of people worldwide competing for the same jobs.  Doing what we have always done before in one-size-fits-all government education and hoping for a different result is not good enough. 


Public-policy decision-makers in many countries around the world recognize this and are supporting school choice.  For example, the governments of Bangladesh, Belize, Chile, Colombia, Czech Republic, Guatemala, Ivory Coast, Lesotho, Poland, Sweden, and the United Kingdom allow vouchers to be used for both public and private schools of the parents’ choice.  State support for private schools is a feature of the systems in most of Canada, including British Columbia, Quebec, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta.  Japan, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, and New Zealand also have state support for private schools.[23] The parents in these countries have convinced their government leaders that the parents are the best decision-makers about their children and what they need to succeed. 




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