July 8, 2013

Monopsony: Why Teachers Should Support School Choice

On April 9, former journalist-turned-middle school teacher Randy Turner published a blog titled “A Warning to Young People: Don’t Become a Teacher.” Shortly after, Turner was removed from the classroom and placed on leave. It was initially believed that he was being persecuted for his criticism of the Joplin School District and his political musings (it later come out that there were more serious accusations and he would subsequently lose his job).

Early on, I penned an op-ed. Not in defense of Turner, for I didn’t know the details of his case, but in support of school choice. How, you may ask, does Turner’s story mesh with the topic of school choice?

Like this:

The Joplin School District has the corner on teaching jobs in Joplin. In economic speak, this is called a Monopsony. Whereas a monopoly means having a single provider of goods or services, a monopsony means having a single buyer of goods or services. Buyers or employers with a monopsony control the market and are able to dictate terms to the supplier — in this case, the teacher. In most cities, public school districts have a monopsony on the teaching jobs.

You see, in a school choice system, it is not just students who have options; teachers have greater options as well.

Essentially, school choice breaks up the monopsony that districts have on teaching jobs. It gives individual educators more freedom to seek out the teaching post that best fits them and it increases the market competition for their talents.

You can read the full op-ed on our website.

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