The Toughest Battleground: Schools

Eric A. Hanushek
In Mark A. Wynne, Harvey Rosenblum and Robert L. Formaini (ed.)
Published Date
The legacy of Milton and Rose Friedman's Free to Choose: Economic liberalism at the turn of the twenty first century
Dallas, TX: Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas
pp. 21-35
Over four decades ago, Milton Friedman published Capitalism and Freedom (Friedman 1962). This insightful little book traveled across a broad range of important topics collected around the theme of how government can best operate within a free society. The message was expanded two decades later in Free to Choose(Friedman and Friedman 1980). At the time, the battle of the ideas introduced by these books was being waged by nations, nations that were willing to contemplate war over how societies should be organized. As we look back on how the world has changed since then, I wonder if anybody guessed that changing the schools would be the most difficult subject taken on. It is useful to look at what progress has been made, what evidence exists on the topic, and what the future might hold in the area of education. The simple question is: Why are the schools tougher to crack than the walls of the Communist bloc?