America loves capitalism! Why wouldn’t we? Thanks to the free flow of capital, along with a rules-based marketplace and credible courts to call balls and strikes, America has developed the largest, wealthiest middle class in history.

One of the best aspects of capitalism is choice. Capitalism gives us many choices and a world of variety, thanks to competition. When someone lands on something people want, others jump in to take advantage of this new market or product. Some of them will innovate. It’s why we have 100+ flavors of delicious coffee at H-E-B, as well as nearly every other thing we shop for in this country.

America hates socialism! Why wouldn’t we? Socialism is a system of constraint, using government force to impose government’s wishes, whether we want them or not. Force is a monopoly. Only the government may use it. And since the government has no competition, there is no innovation. There is no evolution. There is no opportunity to dream and build something better. Instead, you get stagnation and decline.

The government ALWAYS spends other people’s money (tax dollars) on other people (recipients of a benefit). As a result, quality and value, the results markets seek, aren’t the priority.

In most markets, choice, variety, and competition rule. But in one market, perhaps the most important, we have turned off our brains, denied our lived experience, and conceded the argument to the socialists.

I am, of course, talking about the marketplace of ideas called education. In this, America is a socialist country, and we are really bad at it.

The United States today spends more money per public school student than any country in the world. Despite this largesse, our educational outcomes are embarrassing and getting worse.

Socialism is an ideology of diminishing returns. As our socialist education systems become more bureaucratic and inefficient, the bureaucracy seeks to preserve itself. Instead of cutting wasteful, unnecessary staff, it’s the programs for the kids like music, art, and FFA that get axed. Thus, the system perpetuates a downward spiral of diminishing quality and expectations.

Just look. What programs have been cost cut from your kids’ district?

Since education was nationalized in the 1960s, America’s public schools have been producing diminishing quality and competitiveness, as any review of international outcomes over time will confirm.

The rise of public school unions has further entrenched the socialist system and created a class of citizens who benefit from the status quo. These are petty fiefdoms that jealously guard against reforms that could weaken their power.

As other countries are getting better at educating kids, America is getting worse. This is a recipe for sustained decline far beyond just education. And that’s before even talking about the woke, anti-American garbage being forced on our hostage students.

I am not speaking ill of the millions of hardworking and well-intentioned educators—God bless y’all. It is an indictment of a failed system. My wife, Debra, and I were public school teachers long before politics.

It is discouraging to see so many of my fellow Texas Republican elected officials insist that only this dreadful socialist system has the legitimacy to deliver education to our kids and that any kind of capitalist market reform to bring variety, choice, and quality to education is a betrayal. What horse hockey!

The education marketplace shares the characteristics of every other marketplace. Every other marketplace has been strengthened by competition and freedom. So will education. In fact, the biggest beneficiary of such reform is the public school system itself. Finally forced to cut costs and focus on quality education, competition could save this failing model.

If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you have always gotten. Today’s public school system is not worthy of our kids. It’s not worthy of our ambitions. It is not worthy of Texas.

We know that path. We must simply have the courage, convictions, and integrity to walk it.

This is a commentary published with the author’s permission. If you wish to submit a commentary to Texas Scorecard, please submit your article to submission@texasscorecard.com.

Sid Miller

An eighth generation farmer and rancher, Sid Miller is the 12th Texas Commissioner of Agriculture. He was elected to a third term in November. Sid is recognized as a leading voice in support of private property rights in Texas.

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