8 votes

Free Market Charter School

Alright, I'm having trouble with this idea that keeps plaguing my brain and not letting me think about anything else because it seems very important.

I get very upset about the current state of education in the country, and that's probably one reason I support Ron Paul so much. His vision to eradicate the Dept. of Education would allow for private education to truly grow, prosper, and provide a higher quality education. This brings me to the idea that's been stuck in my head and won't leave me alone.

I feel a strong calling to put together a charter school which operates as its own microcosm free market economy. The idea would be to provide distance learning programs and computer based learning for core competencies and to rely on community volunteers to "mentor" the young people at the school on how to operate their own businesses. These student operated businesses would basically form their own economy.

The currency would be used not only in the interactions between businesses, but also for "purchasing" their grades.

Creating a system this complex would be a chore, but I think it would help give young people a greater understanding of how competencies, certifications, and other skills are actually utilized in the actual workforce.

It would also teach students that if a market for what they really want to do is already saturated, that they have to expect that their compensation isn't going to be very good.

There's just so many directions I'd want to see this go, and I've spent so much time thinking about it that I don't know where to go or what to do with it. The only rational outlet to me seemed to be to talk with other free-market minded folks to see if this style of education would be well suited to a 14-18 age group of about 500 students.

If nobody here has questions, ideas, or interest, I'll know I should start trying to figure out a better idea. Because, as I said, this is tormenting me as I am starting to feel a real calling towards making a radical innovation to change the way Americans educate by producing an outstanding new program...

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Thank you!

Thanks to everyone who posted recommendations for additional resources!

I really need to get to studying on this to make it happen, as non-profit work now does help establish a base for putting stuff like this into motion, I still need the economic knowledge to pull it off.

Start testing your ideas ASAP

The sooner you begin your school the better. Strike while the metal is hot. Here's an idea for starting it immediately: begin by putting a special class together for homeschoolers, or as an after-school program. You could begin testing your ideas, without all the paperwork, commitment, financial requirements, etc of actually starting a charter school.

Also, consider writing your ciriculum as a book for other educators to try in their own schools -- for biggest impact on the world...

That's the current status

It's too big an idea to be used as a club probably...

But the current status is as you suggest. It's going into book form, and will be introduced as a "project". Many schools have quarter, trimester, or semester-long standing projects which students work on across multiple subjects in order to utilize specific skills. That's intended to be the "easy to swallow" and easy to sell portion of the book. What follows that marketable idea is the concept for this entire education system that operates as its own economy.

The problem is that I'm an easily distracted writer and have little to no experience with planning curriculum...

Here is a recent post

from Lew Rockwell's blog. It might not be exactly what you were thinking of but it's an interesting read.

Right Thinking = Good Writing

Classica Cottage School

A resourse I use quite often.

A resourse I use quite often. I hope you will like it as much as I do. Enjoy !


This is not entirely in line

This is not entirely in line with your excellent idea but one of my favorite results from an 'experiential education' program. Plus ... if you can find all the books you will have a hard time putting them down.


Trust in God, but tie your camel tight.

"Socialism needs two legs on which to stand; a right and a left. While appearing to be in complete opposition to one another,they both march in the same direction." - Paul Proctor

Thanks for the suggestion!

It looks like I have some reading material to hunt down on experiential education!

Of course, you just might

Of course, you just might find kindred spirits at Mises too ;)


Trust in God, but tie your camel tight.

"Socialism needs two legs on which to stand; a right and a left. While appearing to be in complete opposition to one another,they both march in the same direction." - Paul Proctor


I was planning on giving students interested in public policy and politics an enrollment in the academy courses there.

Only makes sense to give them the truth from square one, right? ;)

what i'm waiting for

is for someone to write a children's book about austrian economics. i mean for elementary age and below. there's a conservative children's story out there called "the fisherman's catch" and it's pretty good. i think to really get the free market idea across, writing for the next generation would be beneficial. just putting this out there.

For ages 10+

Read "Whatever Happened to Penny Candy?" and the other books in the Uncle Eric series written by Richard Maybury.
I homeschool and I have read these books aloud with my children and highly recommend them.


thank you! i would love to see the market saturated with "early economic" teachings. need many more...


While not a children's book, I still feel pretty strongly about a "Ludwig von Mises Charter School"

Odds are it'd put any neighboring "Keynes Public High School" out of business pretty quickly...

no doubt.

and it's a fantastic idea. :)

Intruiging Idea!

(I don't want you to get discouraged, so I'll take time to write a thoughtful reply) Very unique, creative, fascinating idea!

I just watched a documentary film on the failure of the US public school system called "Waiting for Superman". It was a random choice, it's not a topic I generally think much about, but it made a huge impression on me, and I see the critical need for more charter school options. And also with educational resources like The Khan Academy -- a true game-changer in education at all levels -- I definately see education as we know it today going through a fundamental change. I know if I were starting a school it would be something really different and creative and real-world-work oriented.

Whenever someone asks Ron Paul what specifically they should do to help the R3VOLution, he always starts with education, and then he says you should do what you feel impelled to do.

Joyous day!!! Looks to me like you have your marching orders!!

Stay in motion on this. Do some action every day towards making this a reality. Bit by bit, this will come together -- maybe even faster than you think. You'll have to do a lot of work before other people will really understand your vision, but at some point, others will join in and help you make it happen.

Let us know when you have something clear and concrete to show for your work! I'm sure this community will support it once it looks like it could really happen. Best to you!


I think the main problem today with Education is that the big government realizes how important controlling education is to their continued bloated existence.

The idea of this school would be to show kids that economies work without a federal influence and that its local people, not a federal government, that propel an economy.

The best part is the teachers wouldn't have to lecture them to teach them that as the kids would find it out for themselves being mock business owners and employees.

Why "mock" businesses, not real ones?

Wouldn't it be more interesting and motivating for the kids to create REAL businesses? Even if that's a lemonaide stand, why not do it as a real business? Kids get really excited when it comes to making real money. I liked what you said about the kids having to earn their grades. :-)

If you haven't seen it, you should definately watch "Waiting for Superman". There's also an interesting proposal in there about teachers' salaries being tied to the sucess of their students, which is pretty radical, with the potential that good teachers could earn 6-figure salaries! Another game-changer, as it would draw people to your staff who would never otherwise be teachers.

Your school could become the Harvard Business School of the 21st Century!


Mock businesses for the purposes of them being able to function as a real microcosm.

They would have to use their "credits" to purchase goods or services from each other, and if no business currently exists for something they need, it may spur a student to start a business in that field understanding that there's a demand where there is no supply.

For things there is no supply for, I believe the students would have to use their credits to convince the faculty to use real money to purchase things from the real world. This would likely be commodities mainly. There would have to be a budget in the actual school's figures to account for the fact that students would need to purchase commodities from the real world and the faculty would have to establish an exchange rate based on that budget.

The main problem with the

The main problem with the education is the attitudes of those being educated.

Public school teachers have spoken about the pressure they get from teachers to give their students higher grades. This kind of issue would only be exacerbated in a free market system, where there is a financial incentive to doing the whims of the parents.

Parents see school as a way for kids to get into college...not a way for kids to LEARN things. They have forgotten that, and that can be refleced in the system.

Of course, if schools cater to the whims of parents too much, it will lead to problems down the line. But these problems are often just completely ignored...our society is well-versed in ignoring future problems for current benefit.

Students and parents have too much entitlement, teachers have too little backbone...throwing or cutting money is not going to solve this issue. Privatizing the schools won't solve the problem. It needs a change in attitude.

Plan for eliminating the national debt in 10-20 years:

Overview: http://rolexian.wordpress.com/2010/09/12/my-plan-for-reducin...

Specific cuts; defense spending: http://rolexian.wordpress.com/2011/01/03/more-detailed-look-a

Attitude change

That's kind of what I'm proposing.

I expect that children who are intrinsically motivated to succeed and learn will feel more motivated to do so in an environment where they are rewarded for the things they learn and the success they find in implementing those newly acquired skills.

Nothing rewards personal development like the free market.

I don't think the current

I don't think the current system does not have that motivation. Indeed, some students are extremely motivated.

Education is a huge reward. It may not be imminent, like playing video games or getting wasted, but down the line, it provides huge rewards. Personally and profesionally. The fact that students are still not motivated is because that message is not being communicated to them by their parents.

Secondly, free-market education would definitely be geared to the desires of the parents, not the student. And its the desires of the parents that are flawed. That is a cultural change that is needed....not an economical or governmental one.

Plan for eliminating the national debt in 10-20 years:

Overview: http://rolexian.wordpress.com/2010/09/12/my-plan-for-reducin...

Specific cuts; defense spending: http://rolexian.wordpress.com/2011/01/03/more-detailed-look-a

I tend to disagree

I definitely believe some students will be satisfied taking positions doing the book-keeping for a larger firm in the school, but they won't continue doing it if they have another passion. They would definitely be encouraged to turn that passion into a business.

Some will certainly figure out pretty quickly what the demand is for their passions though... and I think it'd be better for them to learn that at 17 than when they're in college or worse... in the real world.

It's really a system I think would be wholly driven by the students currently in the program. This motivation and drive is certainly something professionals and business owners in the community will be able to identify with and donate a few hours a week to help promote.

That would be the case if it

That would be the case if it were the choice of the student. But it isn't. College does work on the choice of the student, and that is why there is SO much choice in post-secondary schooling.

pre-college, you are dependent on your parents, including their choices.

Plan for eliminating the national debt in 10-20 years:

Overview: http://rolexian.wordpress.com/2010/09/12/my-plan-for-reducin...

Specific cuts; defense spending: http://rolexian.wordpress.com/2011/01/03/more-detailed-look-a


Considering that it would take parental initiative to enroll in this school, I'm sure we'd have to do tours like most colleges do, except we'd have 8th graders touring...

My guess is any parent that sees teenage kids doing more complicated real world type work than even their boss's boss does... they hopefully see value in that...

or not...

too much text?

last bump

I promise, unless by some divine providence someone shows enough interest to comment as well...

except for this one

because it looks like there's some liking going on for the thread even if there's no comments