How was AT&T like the public school system?

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School choice advocates believe in the power of free market competition to improve the quality and efficiency of any industry, including elementary and secondary education.

We like to use the example of an industry that used to be a government monopoly, but is now governed by market competition. That is the telecommunications industry. We old-timers remember when AT&T was a telephone monopoly. We all had black phones. We didn’t own our phones; we leased them from AT&T. It was illegal to install an answering machine to your phone line because it was a “foreign device”. Long distance rates were in the range of $.60 per minute. In current dollars it would be well over $1.00 per minute.

Then “poof”! Competitors are allowed to enter the industry. Now we have answering machines, fax machines, and cell phones. Cell phones are so cheap that kids start getting them in elementary school. Cheap telephone lines allowed us to logon to something called the “world wide web”. You get the idea.

Why would you not expect the elementary and secondary school industry to receive similar benefits if market competition were injected into the system?

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