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Addition and Subtraction: State and Local Regulatory Obstacles to Opening a New Private School

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Publication Date: December 2004

Publisher(s): Reason Foundation

Author(s): Bahaa Seireg

Topic: Education (Education financing, facilities, and equipment)

Type: Report

Coverage: California


Government restrictions make it very hard and very expensive for people to open a private school. These costs are largely passed on to the customer. The high price of private schooling in California today can be traced to a lack of competition, which itself can be traced to government restrictions. Basic economic theory says that, with less supply, the price will go up. The opponents of government schooling are right to focus on making private schooling viable, but almost all the attention has been on demand-side reforms like vouchers and tax credits. Even if demand-side reforms were to succeed, the situation on the supply side would prevent those reforms from succeeding. Ultimately, for schools to be competitive and performance-based and for parents and students to have real choices in their education, the supply of private schooling must be dynamic and competitive as well.