Try saying that in any café, restaurant, branded coffee shop or private home. You would probably get a funny look and then be bombarded with a series of choices. Latté, cappuccino, Americano, macchiato? Skimmed milk, semi skimmed or whole, fair trade, decaf, semi decaf, flavoured syrups, drink in or take away? The list seems almost endless.
Try getting your children into a school. Even if you are in a position to pay for their education don’t think that you are holding all the aces, assessment days and waiting lists will greet even the most affluent of parents.
If you don’t have the money for private education the choices are even more limited. Pray that your local state school has a good track record, some parents they just pray that it doesn’t have a drug or crime problem. Even then you may well find that school heavily oversubscribed and the council allocate your child a place on the other side of the borough, or the borough next door.
You could move to a house next door to the best local school, but that will come at a premium, you could try to get into the local church school but you might need to pretend to be religious.
You have many options but not much choice.
How have we come this? How is it that even mediocre schools pick and choose which children they take in and parents have to take what they can get?
It’s a sellers’ market, that’s why.
A market which has more buyers than sellers. High prices result from this excess of demand over supply.
Education vouchers may well prove to be part of the solution but there will not be change throughout the market until there is a massive increase in the supply of education. Indeed there needs to be a surplus of supply, otherwise the parents with sharp elbows will get the choices and the meek will once again get what they’re given.
It would be wrong for the public sector to run service provision at surplus capacity, I don’t want to pay tax to fund half empty schools. This means that there must be a massive expansion in the private and charity run sector. Then education vouchers would make sense because all parents, irrespective of geography or wealth, would be able to send their child to a good school.
Poorly performing schools would whither and others would fill the gaps if they close down. Good schools would flourish and if they reach capacity the surplus demand would be taken up by a new school in the area.
In the future, you will get a funny look and a list of choices. Girls only, boys only, co-educational, academic or vocational? Arts specialisation, languages, sports, science, technology or business? Religious, secular, etc. etc. etc.