Money & The EconomyOpinion

Georgia Public School Board Blocks Charter School Due to ‘Competition’

After raising enough money to purchase 40 acres of land, King Randall seemed poised to realize his dream. 

Randall, a 21-year-old Christian and Marine veteran from Albany, Georgia, felt called to start “The X for Boys,” a program dedicated to addressing the problems facing black boys in his community. His projects include teaching at-risk youth vocational job skills, giving them proper education, and rescuing them from unsafe environments. Many of the children in his custody are fresh out of abusive homes, homelessness, and/or juvenile detention centers. To expand his operation, Randall set his eyes on purchasing a defunct school building in Dougherty County to turn into a private boarding school for the children in the organization’s care. In a video fundraiser for the X for Boys “Life” Preparatory School, Randall shared why he is on this particular mission.

“Our communities are being plagued by death. Our young men are falling by the wayside. They are becoming dead mentally, and a lot of them physically,” says Randall. “They are becoming a modern-day Lazarus, but as one scripture says; it took one man to stand up, and say ‘Lazarus! Come forth!'”

Randall’s plans, however, hit a sudden snag.

A Life-Changing Alternative

After negotiating with the public school board to buy the building for $500,000—a steep price to pay for a building scheduled for demolition—Randall received a contract with the stipulation that he must use the public school curriculum instead of his own.

Last month, as a guest on Lawrence B. Jones’ show on FOX Primetime, Randall claimed that the Dougherty County School System refused to donate or sell the abandoned building with no curriculum requirements attached to The X for Boys due to “competition.”

Randall alleged that a board administrator told him that his organization, which holds the motto “Make men great again,” is seen as “competition” which is why he was against simply donating the school building. 

However, Dougherty County may have reason to fear competition from private schools such as Randall’s. Dougherty County Public Schools are ranked in the bottom 50 percent of all 212 school districts in the state of Georgia based off of 2017-2018 math and reading proficiency data. 

The X for Boys, on the other hand, is demonstrating the great impact that the organization has had on the lives it has already touched. Randall points out those who go through the program have a 86 percent reading comprehension rate, a 91 percent improvement in grades, an 82 percent proficiency in general contracting, and a stunning 0 percent rate in criminal recidivism.

A Philosophy of Self-Responsibility

What accounts for such impressive results? One possibility is the program’s philosophy. 

“Do for self,” the catch phrase Randall instills in his kids, emphasizes personal responsibility and using the free market to get ahead in life without relying on politicians or the government.  Randall’s curriculum includes skilled blue-collar work, such as plumbing, electrical, construction, car repair, etc. None of these subjects have an adequate public counterpart within the regular Dougherty County high schools. All of the statistics and programs offered using the X for Boys Motto point to the Life Preparatory School potentially being a formidable competition for the government-run school system. 

And apparently for some, fighting back against the competition that a private alternative would provide to public education is more important than student achievement and turning around the lives of at-risk boys. 

“We wanted to partner with the local school system in order to help the children, unfortunately, we are being forced to be handcuffed to buy the property,” Randall tells FEE. “I no longer wished to try and negotiate after certain comments were made by one of the highest ranking officials on the Dougherty County School Board,” referring to the administrator who is concerned about “competition.”

The Education Monopoly

This outrage is a perfect example of how the public school system is a state monopoly in education. Instead of rising to the challenge of able competitors, state monopolies simply ban the competition or cripple them with regulations, like how the Dougherty County School System is crippling “The X for Boys” by requiring them to adopt the state’s own failed curriculum.

In his 2013 book The School Revolution: A New Answer for Our Broken Education System, Ron Paul explained in advance exactly what the Dougherty County education monopolists are doing here:

“The state uses tax funding to build schools, and it uses the regulatory system to restrict the creation of rival schools. This is the classic mark of a monopoly. (…)

Bureaucrats in the field of education, which is almost exclusively nonprofit education, have a bias against price-competitive academic programs. They assume that these programs are of low quality. They think it is a good idea to close the market to sellers of any kinds of curriculum not certified by educational bureaucrats. They have greater control over the content and structure of education when they can restrict entry into the marketplace. In the name of helping children, these promoters of self-interested restrictions on entry conceal the fact that they are able to exercise greater power over education and then charge more for the privilege of doing so.”

Tragically, such self-interested exercises of power by education monopolists block education entrepreneurs like King Randall in their efforts to uplift the youth in their communities.




This article was originally published on FEE.org

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