Opinion: Government, not the free market, is the barrier to opportunity

In this column, University of George economics professor Jeffrey Dorfman makes a compelling case for fostering individual responsibility and tearing down government barriers to success.

One of Dorfman’s most salient points is that public schools should not only teach the basics of reading, writing, and math, but also expand into instruction in a broad cross section of practical life skills:

Education already receives enough funding. The problem is the money is spent on the wrong things. Too much money is wasted on bureaucracy; not nearly enough of the money reaches the classroom to pay teachers and buy supplies. Beyond that, our public schools are not teaching the tools needed for success.

We need lessons on time management, study skills, impulse control, personal finance, and other life skills so that students can make the most of what they are being taught and the financial resources that they do have. Then schools should add a course or lesson series on entrepreneurship so that kids understand how to turn an idea into a business and what it takes to stay in business.

If students realized that for a business to succeed it needs to earn a profit, they might not think of profit as something evil. Without corporate profits, we would have no iPhones, no Coca-Cola, and no life-saving drugs.

Yes, schools need to teach the core subjects they have always taught: math, reading, history, science, and foreign languages. Those are still important basic building blocks for life. But we cannot stop there. If children are taught how to seize the opportunities presented to them, they will be more successful and we will all be better off.

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