glyph 574: book, James Tooley, education, poverty, enterprise, private schools for the poorest, India, Africa, China


The Beautiful Tree, by James Tooley: Education for the Poorest

informal private schools from Ghana to India to China

Max Borders reviews James Tooley's The Beautiful Tree for Foundation for Economic Education (FEE):

In the poorest parts of the world you'll find private education. From Ghana to India to China, private schools are sprouting up everywhere. There are new schools opening where none were before. There are also new schools where government 'free' schools already exist but languish. Why? Simple: Parents want the best for their children. They realize that one of the keys to escaping poverty is a good education. The best education, they understand, comes from entrepreneurs who offer higher quality to stay in business and prosper.

But how can desperately poor people afford it? How can the education market work in countries rife with corruption and institutional barriers to innovation? Why haven't we heard about this phenomenon before? And if private education can rapidly spread in the developing world, couldn't it also in the rich West?

In The Beautiful Tree, James Tooley answers those questions. He offers readers a firsthand account of schools all over the developing world. The book isn't just academic research; it is also a kind of travelogue. We meet the real teachers, students, and parents who constitute the delicate educational ecosystems under constant threat from bureaucrats, do-gooders, and naysayers. Tooley, a former university professor who now works full-time to help start free-market schools, tells their stories as if at our side, coloring straightforward prose with rich stories and quotations from people he has met. — the complete article
June 24, 2017

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