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School Choice

Prior to the 1990s, most government-funded school systems in the developed countries operated on a model giving parents limited choice over where their children should attend. The most common arrangement was for government officials to allocate children to schools on the basis of their place of residence. Many systems allowed for some limited choice within that model; for example, the English system included schools run by religious organizations, and single-sex schools, into which parents could opt. Most systems allowed for choice beyond the government system: Private schools have always been an option in most countries for those willing and able to pay for them.

As early as 1955, the economist Milton Friedman proposed a radical alternative, removing the government entirely from allocation decisions. The underlying principle ...

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