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UNF Spinnaker

Commentary: Free-market economics benefit students, staff

In times of economic downturns and the complete removal of free-market principles from macro-economics, an instance of resourceful capitalism is a refreshing sight, especially since this solution came from a government worker.

Tom Farber, a San Diego high school teacher, was recently faced with a serious budget crisis: his copy budget for tests and quizzes was cut by one-third. He estimated his expenses for the school year at more than $500 while his budget was reduced to a little less than $300.

Rather than complain about a lack of educational funding while either paying for copies out of pocket – which isn’t a possibility for some educators considering their paltry salary – or simply omitting the exams – to the detriment of the students – he decided to sell advertising space on his copies.

Farber charged $10 per ad on quizzes, $20 per ad on chapter tests and $30 per ad on semester finals, according to USA Today. And he has already generated $350 in ad revenue. The USA Today article reported approximately 67 percent of the ad sales are inspirational messages paid for by parents while the remainder is bought by local businesses.

This free-market solution is the embodiment of applied liberty as it relates to economics. It relies only on voluntary donations, rather than further extorting the American public by paying for a failed educational system.

Local businesses will also benefit from an improved labor pool due to the improved education students receive from their funding. It is an excellent example of parties benefiting from participation in voluntary exchange: students benefit from the improved education; parents are grateful for improved standardized testing; and businesses benefit from a stronger labor force and a well informed customer base.

This is unhindered free-market capitalism at its best.

The success of this program only underscores the viability of economic freedom, even if the system is inherently flawed by government bureaucracy. Furthermore, this is proof small businesses understand the importance of a well-educated student population and are willing to provide funding for such a valuable resource.

Ad revenue is not the only source of funding for schools, but it is an important example of a way to provide excellent education without extracting funds by force.

Currently, everyone is forced to provide funding for schools, regardless of how dismal the reading and math levels are. Under a private system, various schools would compete for students and for funding. Both parents and business owners would be more willing to devote their resources to the betterment of schools.

Students would be the ultimate beneficiaries of such competition, like every other sector of government and private institutions.

E-mail James Cannon at [email protected].

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