Ep. 254: Big Ideas – “Really Good Schools” with James Tooley

June 4, 2021

James Tooley—senior fellow at the Independent Institute—joins us to discuss his recent book, Really Good Schools: Global Lessons for High-Caliber, Low-Cost Education. We discuss school choice, school shutdowns and more.

Jason Bedrick: Hello, and welcome back to EdChoice Chats. I’m your host, Jason Bedrick, director of policy at EdChoice. And this is another edition of our Big Ideas series. Today, I’m honored to be joined by Dr. James Tooley, the vice chancellor of the University of Buckingham in England, where he also serves as professor of educational entrepreneurship and policy. He is the author of a new book titled Really Good Schools: Global Lessons for High-Caliber, Low-Cost Education, which is the subject of today’s conversation. James, welcome to the podcast.

James Tooley: Thank you for having me.

Jason Bedrick: I should start by saying that one of your earlier books, perhaps your most well-known book, The Beautiful Tree, which explores these low-cost schools all around the world, was a major influence on me and also many people that I know, as well as one of your, I think perhaps a lesser known, unfortunately lesser-known books, at least in the United States. I don’t know, maybe it’s very popular in the UK, Government Failure: E.G. West on Education. You really, I think, introduced E.G. West to the modern education policy scholar. And in some ways I would call him the Milton Friedman of the United Kingdom. So it’s great to have you on the podcast.

James Tooley: Thank you.

Jason Bedrick: Your book opens with the story of Malala Yousafzai, the brave young girl who won the Nobel Prize for her efforts to promote education after she was nearly murdered by the Taliban. Malala is commonly portrayed as a champion of public education, but you know that that’s not quite right. So what do you draw as the real lesson of Malala’s story?

James Tooley: Yeah, Jason, it’s really strange, the Malala story. So Malala, if you listened to the teaching unions, if you listen to the international agencies, the story goes she was on her way to the school where her father was the headmaster, the administrator, when she was shot by the Taliban. And I looked into this a bit and found out actually her father was not the headmaster or the administrator of the school where she was going, which is commonly assumed in American parlance to be a public school. That’s the common assumption.

He was actually an educational entrepreneur who had created what we call now a low-cost private school. And this private school was one of 400 low-cost private schools in the Swat Valley, that part of Pakistan where Malala lived. And he in fact became the president of an association of these schools. So as you say, Malala is often held up as this symbol of, yes, the importance of public education. And in fact, her own life story was one of this alternative sector, the alternative to the government sector, which is commonplace across the developing world now, the low-cost private school sector. And she is adamant in her autobiography, which she published a few years back, that government schools are just not good enough for families like hers—poor families, ordinary families.

They’re just not good enough. The teachers don’t turn up and if they do turn up, they don’t teach. So it’s a very interesting introduction into the way the teacher unions and international agencies can distort something for their own end. Malala was the product of low-cost private education. It’s something I celebrate in this book and in the book you mentioned, The Beautiful Tree.

Jason Bedrick: Yeah. And so that’s a good segue because this book really, in some ways, at least part one, is like a sequel to The Beautiful Tree in which you describe all these low-cost private schools that are serving some of the most destitute children in the world. And how most NGOs and academics and government agencies had a hard time believing you that these schools even existed, let alone that absolutely destitute parents could or would pay for them, or that they serve students better than the free government-run schools.

So, my first question is in the decade-plus since you published that book, have policymakers and philanthropists actually started to embrace the fact that these schools exist or are they still mostly incredulous?

James Tooley: Yes. And by that book, you meant The Beautiful Tree, which as you say is over a decade ago now. Yeah, exactly. This new book, Really Good Schools, has got three parts. And part one is, in a sense, a sequel or bringing-up-to-date, bringing The Beautiful Tree up to date. And it is really interesting. So, when I wrote The Beautiful Tree, which was published back in 2009, but I wrote it two or three years earlier. I discovered for the Western world… I’m not saying I discovered it for people themselves. Of course not. I discovered for America, for Britain, these phenomenal low-cost private schools.

And virtually everyone at the time was in denial. Government officials, international agencies, NGOs, teacher unions of course. They all were saying… Well, they were basically saying I was not telling the truth. I was dissembling that somehow I was making up the sector or I was exaggerating this sector. Now the evidence is clearly in. Study after study, and I list some of these studies in this new book, show in poor areas 70%, 75%, 80% or more of urban children are going to these low-cost private schools. The highest figure I think is over 80% from Kampala, Uganda. But it’s true across sub-Saharan Africa. It’s true across South Asia. In urban areas, the vast majority of children go to these schools. And in rural areas, it’s still about 30%, something like this.

So, this phenomenon is ubiquitous. Since I published that book, now people have started realizing, people with power and influence have realized the sector is there and of importance. And they are now recognizing, yes, the sector is there, acknowledging that. But now the debate is about its significance. And I suppose there’s a grudging. I list three possibilities. So there are still those people who say, “No, you cannot possibly have private schools for the poor. They cannot be pro-poor. Let’s get rid of them straight … They are not what we want to be doing in development at all.”

There is a group of people who are still like that, still in total denial this sector is important. But there is another group now saying, “Well, actually we see these schools arising,” particularly in some of the war-torn countries that I’ve been researching since The Beautiful Tree. So I talk about Sierra Leone, Liberia, South Sudan, Somalia, Northern Nigeria. So in some of these parts of the world, yes, private schools emerged and no one can deny that. And when there’s a collapsing state sector or no state sector in a war-torn country, “Yeah, okay, we’ll allow for the private schools to come in and serve the poor, but only as long as there’s not as functioning state. As soon as there’s a functioning state again, then we want a proper department of education with proper public schools.” And these private schools can then disappear.

And then there’s a third group, which perhaps I’m the main person talking along these lines is saying, “Actually, you’ve missed the point here. The private schools are something very, very special indeed. They’re the preferred choice of poor parents. And they are actually the focus. They should be our focus for the future. Not some defunct or corrupt or inefficient state sector.”

Jason Bedrick: Well, how is it that they’re their preferred choice, right? Because somebody will say, “Well, wait a second. You’re talking about people here that are living in Lagos. They’re living in Hyderabad. They are living in rural China up in the mountains.” Those are all actual places, by the way, that Dr. Tooley explores in his book, The Beautiful Tree.

Some of these people are living on less than a dollar a day and there’s a local public school that’s free. How is it possible these people that are barely putting food on the table are taking some of their precious, hard-earned money and putting it toward their child’s education when they can get something like that for free right like down the street?

James Tooley: Yeah. And so as I said, preferred choice of parents. So I quote one parent in Kenya. Now, Kenya had gone through this situation where they’ve got free primary education in the public schools. And there was an exodus from the low-cost private schools. I calculated this, I worked it out, and there was an exodus from the low-cost private schools to the now-free government schools, public schools. And one father told me he moved his daughter to the public school and then moved her back to the private school. And he used by way of analogy, he said, “If you go to the market and are offered free fruit and veg, they’ll be rotten. If you want fresh fruit and veg, then you have to pay for it.”

And that’s the sense in which if you want a decent education, then you’re not going to go to the public school. The free public school is worse than free. It provides something that’s not adequate to a poor parent. So that’s very important. Now, you used an out-of-date statistic. That dollar a day, that was a statistic in the international agencies. It’s now increased from a dollar a day. But what I’ve done in an article and I talk about it in this new book, Really Good Schools is the affordability of these private schools.

I take a family on the poverty line, various of these poverty lines are there, and show that the majority of these low-cost private schools are affordable to families on or below the poverty line, if they’re spending 10% of their income on school fees. So that’s a very interesting finding there. So there are schools that are affordable to the poor. We’ve got to get our heads around this. This is the factual situation in the countries I’m talking about.

Jason Bedrick: So, in part two, you imagine what education might look like if it were fully self-organized rather than designed in a top-down manner by politicians and bureaucrats, just pretty much the system that we have now. I think this is especially helpful because people tend to take for granted that whatever system you have currently is either the best or in some cases even the only way to provide education. So what do you imagine that a self-organized education system without government intervention would actually look like?

James Tooley: Yes. And I suppose that’s what I’m doing in part two. I suppose part two is, as you say, somewhat speculative, but I’m not trying to say this is what I think a system would be like without government intervention. I’m trying to say, if we can get government to pull away particularly from that era of education which we take for granted actually. Most people take it for granted, even if they can see the value of something like vouchers or funding through the private sector, people still tend to say, “We need the state. We need the public sector to regulate, to provide the framework of assessment and curriculum.” Particularly in countries in the developing world, they typically have a national curriculum, a national assessment system, compulsory education, all these things we take for granted.

So, what I’m trying to say in part two is if we were able to push government away from those areas, what opportunities for entrepreneurs, the educational entrepreneurs would emerge. And I point to a few areas in terms of assessment and curriculum and ways of measuring the effectiveness of education. So that’s what I’m trying to do in that sector. In terms of assessment, I say, okay, we don’t actually have to imagine what a purely private sector in assessment, educational assessment would be like because we have it in various ways in various forms around the world.

And in England, not so much in America, you haven’t got this, but in England we have the assessment system for music exams, purely private, never has been part of the state, never was. And you’ve got their competing boards of music, which offer quite a similar fare. They typically offer eight grades in an instrument with one foundation grade. And what’s really interesting for me and perhaps I labor this in part two, but what’s really interesting for me is they are not age approximate. Grade five in piano you can take whether you’re aged 5, 15, 25 or 55. You don’t have to have them grade four before you get grade five to be there. You do great five when you’re ready for grade five. When you and/or your teacher feel you’re ready and want to put yourself forward for that level.

And I contrast that with what I see as the rather negative system where we go through schooling. And when we’re 5, 10, 15, there are places we should be in the schooling sector, whether we’re ready for them or not, whether we’re past the level for those, we’ve got to go for those levels in the state system. And I contrast that and I say, well, actually, this has very numerous negative impacts particularly in the developing world. Why are we stuck in that system when the private system could be very different, very much focused on children as individuals very much focused on flexibility, the flexibility of learning? And I think that’s a very good contrast.

Jason Bedrick: This is a problem we see a lot in the United States that people confuse government regulations with accountability. So if you’re in favor of accountability, it means you’re in favor of the state mandating one test for all schools. And if you’re against that state test, that means you’re against accountability. But it seems that what you’re arguing is that accountability can take multiple different forms. You can have the government might provide their system and we might call that accountability.

But if the government doesn’t do that, it’s not that there will be no accountability, there will be no assessments. It’s that actually, there’s going to be more space for the private sector to find different ways of providing accountability. There might be multiple different types of tests. Some tests might take one approach. Some tests may take a different approach. Is that essentially what you’re arguing?

James Tooley: Yeah. And even more extreme than that in a way that education itself is a contested subject, contested topic. And some people legitimately believe that the essence of education cannot be tested or is distorted if you go for those state tests in a way that just completely destroys what you’re trying to be after. And what I’m saying in the book is the accountability that we need in education like in most areas of our lives is the accountability that comes from the market, from the spontaneous order.

If schools and school chains and so on are not delivering what parents and children want for themselves now, and for their future lives for future human flourishing, then parents won’t go to those schools. Then parents won’t patronize those schools. And the accountability that comes within that spontaneous order is so much stronger, so much better and does not distort what is an offer. I give the example there of international tests like PISA and TIMSS and so on, which purport to sort of measure how countries are doing compared to one another in education, but they’re not measuring education. They’re not measuring the outcomes of education because put in this broader sense and I discuss it more fully in the book.

The outcomes of education are human flourishing in all its many manifestations. The outcome of education is not how will you do on a math test. However important that might be or may not be for human flourishing. And I’m not coming to a conclusion that in part two of the book. I’m saying, actually, if this was part of a spontaneous order, then we’d have a multiplicity of ways of defining what makes for good education. And that would be the best ideas were went out in the spontaneous order as they do in every other spontaneous order.

Jason Bedrick: So essentially you want a system where education providers have the greatest freedom and flexibility to try new ways of educating children. Parents then have a freedom to choose from among a variety of different providers. And that over time, the system is going to evolve based on parents’ choices, right? The schools that seem to be doing a better job however parents assess that are going to have an incentive to expand.

Other schools that are not attracting parents have a strong incentive to change what they’re doing to improve or perhaps to copy the more successful players. And that over time, you’re going to have a system that improves in terms of its quality and also has a great deal of diversity in terms of the offerings. Is that sort of what you’re imagining?

James Tooley: Yeah. It’s sort of just with three caveats I think. One is the schools themselves might expand, but maybe part of what makes for this really good school in this spontaneous order is that it’s small and it’s focused on… So that school might not expand, but that school will provoke, imitate.

Jason Bedrick: Will be replicated and a bunch of small schools, right.

James Tooley: Yeah, exactly. So that’s one from there. Secondly, they might not be schools of course. This is something that I don’t dwell on much in this book, but I’m aware educational opportunities are different complexions by image, but schools may well be part of that. And third, yeah, will diversity emerge from this or not? Who knows really because we have examples of this spontaneous order, which is the subject of part three. Maybe we’ll come to that a moment, but the historic examples, and also we have a constrained spontaneous order now with the sort of these 70 – 80% children going to these private low-cost private schools in the poor areas of these countries we’ve listed constrained by the state regulations, but nonetheless relatively free.

And they do tend to converge on historically and practically, but they have a lot in common. So it may well be just as supermarkets relatively converge on a sort of model. Your local coffee shops converge on a model. It may be that they converge on a model. That’s something that remains to be seen and is part of the excitement when you think about how this spontaneous order could emerge and grow. Would it focus on roughly similar things or would they be quite diverse areas, quite diverse things emerging? That’s something that we don’t know.

Jason Bedrick: So, in the third part of your book, which is to a great extent about spontaneous order, you also you turn to America and you specifically address the education reform movement here. Before we dive into that though, I want to turn to a key anecdote on which you spend—appropriately so—an entire chapter, which is how the research of E.G. West, we mentioned earlier, changed Milton Friedman’s mind about the necessity of state aid in the form of school vouchers to guarantee universal access to education.

So just for our listeners, we’ve got 1955, Milton Friedman writes his seminal essay on the role of government and education. And he basically says that the key insight of this essay is that even if you hold that government intervention, a government subsidy, is necessary to make sure that every child has access to a quality of education, because some parents just are not going to be able to pay. Therefore, you need the government to subsidize it. It does not follow from that, that the government should be the one that runs all of the schools.

So, you can separate these two functions, the subsidy function, and the management function. Let the private sector handle the administration of the schools and the government will subsidize it. But after you read the work of E.G. West, it called that first assumption into question. So what was it that E.G. West discovered that Milton Friedman’s found so compelling?

James Tooley: Yeah. And I think it’s even stronger than the 1955 essay. Milton Friedman comes out and says even if you think government should fund it, he says government should fund because it was for the sake of democracy. He wanted universal vouchers is very important for the part of my argument. He wanted universal vouchers and the only way he could see that would be through government funding, providing universal schooling or education. Yeah, he was also aware education could come in various shapes and forms.

So yeah, he was very strongly about that. Then he read the work of E.G. West, and E.G. West you mentioned at the beginning. And E.G. West, Edwin George West, he’s been my mentor when I discovered him when I was doing my Ph.D. 30 years ago. What he looked at—and he looked at sources which are widely available in the book I focused on—the Newcastle Commission report of 1861, but for England and Wales and a similar discussion about the American situation, the state got involved in England and Wales in 1833, but that was through some subsidies. And it really got involved in 1870, so 151 years ago now.

And what E.G. West showed was that before the state got involved, there was more or less universal schooling, absolutely crucial figure. And the Newcastle Commission sets it outright clearly they did their research, very good research. It would pass muster now they’d be able to get published in an eminent economics or education research journal. They did really good research. They showed that it was roughly 95% of children were in school for nearly six years. That’s what they showed and doing proper research around the countries in England and Wales and E.G. West took that figure, and he said, “Well, look, the state got involved in education as if it was jumping into the saddle of a horse that was already galloping.”

It wasn’t needed. And in fact, it was quite explicit. Forster in 1870s, Forster Act, he said, “We want the state to be involved in education to mom and pop.” That 5% of children who weren’t getting an education to make sure that there was universal, completely universal. Well, when Milton Friedman read about that, there was a seminar on the states somewhere in Friedman was friends with Eddie West. And when he heard the evidence from there and from the American states, he said, “Well, I hadn’t realized that. My assumption in 1955 has been that if you don’t have state education, public education, then you won’t have schools and education.” And that was basically the premise. It was a silent premise, but nonetheless the premise of my work.

If you were showing me now that in America and Britain before the state gets involved, you have almost universal education, and that small proportion is roughly the proportion that are out of school anyway through truancy and so on under a universal system. Then the whole basis of my argument dissolves. It’s no longer valid. And so he then started talking about vouchers not as the end point, but as a stepping stone in order to get to the end point of a purely private system, because that’s what the historical evidence said had been there before.

And of course my work, I mean, Eddie, just missed my work when it was moving into the developing country situation. But they would find that so powerful, not only did it happen in Victoria and it happens now in the slums of South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Jason Bedrick: And so by the time Milton Friedman publishes Free to Choose and Capitalism and Freedom, he is talking in that way. He’s not making the same argument. He’s still advocating for universal vouchers, but now he’s saying, he’s being somewhat subtle, but he says that, “This is not the ultimate goal. This is a means to an end.” So I think both you and Friedman and us here at Milton Friedman’s organization that he founded 25 years ago to push for school vouchers and other forms of educational choice have the same sort of end in mind, right? That educational freedom, that system of spontaneous order.

And so, the big question becomes what is the best way to get there? And so, you have a whole chapter where you talk about two different types of “School Choice,” school choice with a capital S and a capital C. We’ll call that the Milton Friedman vision, right? You push for school vouchers or today in education savings accounts, tax credit scholarships, what have you or maybe even charters. Although, Milton Friedman and you both have some critiques of charter schools.

The other one you call school choice with a lowercase S and a lowercase C, and that is private citizens choosing and paying for their child’s school without any government assistance or interference. You argue that those who want to see more educational freedom should essentially abandoned the former, the Milton Friedman type approach and do more to encourage the latter, more spontaneous order, parents alone without assistance approach. So why do you make that argument and how should they go about encouraging that?

James Tooley: Yeah. And that’s really well put, actually. So absolutely Milton Friedman had that goal, as you say, slightly subtly, but nonetheless that was the goal. And it’s the same goal that I have in mind, that sort of spontaneous sort of education. How would you get there? And I was obviously very sympathetic to the whole idea of school vouchers and the School Choice movements, that capital S, capital C before. It was partly finding this alternative expression of the spontaneous order in Lagos, in Accra, in Nairobi and Delhi that made me realize, “Okay, the spontaneous order can emerge spontaneously from the grassroots up. It doesn’t need governments pointing down from top.”

But I think for me, perhaps the most significant thing was just doing my little bit of mathematics in the back of an envelope using your data from your organization, an excellent organization, and coming up realizing that the number of American school children enrolled in voucher programs. I got the figures from 2017, the most recent for this book was not quite 0.36%. So less than half of 1% of American school children on vouchers, around half of 1% are there on tax credits, not quite .02% percent were on education savings accounts. So the total was less than 1% and I did a sort of calculation.

Again, it’s a back of an envelope calculation. We’re quite happy for it to be disputed, but I said even with all the voucher programs that are going now, it’s still you could only get what’d I say two or 3%, something like that? Or less than 2%, yeah. By 2033, I reckon you’d only get to less than 2% because the current voucher programs are not universal typically. This one I was writing in the book. Universal voucher programs are proposed. Milton Friedman talked about the one in California. I talked about one in Utah, they’re proposed. They almost get there and then they’re stopped typically by action of the vested interests.

So, my question is if you’ve got less than 1% possibly can never get more than 2% with current sort of programs, which are the only ones that seem politically feasible. Now I’m willing to be proved wrong and maybe you can give me an example of something that’s happened more recently, but you definitely only got less than 1% now. Then I look to children in private schools, children homeschooled, they’re already what? Five times that. 11. Is it 11%? They’re already a much bigger percentage. And then I look to what’s happening overseas and then I looked to the possibility of creating a low-cost private school standalone, possibly a chain.

So, I’ve started doing up in the north of England and saying perhaps that’s a better place to put your money, to put your energies rather than trying to do voucher programs, which will always come up against the teacher units, which were always come up against the Department of Education. Maybe you’re better focused on that grassroots movements. That’s the question, I leave it as a question really. But you can see which side I come down on, but I’m not sort of saying I’m right. I’m saying could I be right.

Jason Bedrick: Right. And sure, it’s a debate at this point over tactics. So I will push back on that part a little bit. All of that was true of course when you wrote the book, but not by the time you published it or that we had this conversation. So yes, still nationwide, it’s a very, very small percentage, but there are now a few states that are breaking out. So for example, in both Arizona and Florida, you now have between 5 and 7% of students that are on either the education savings account or receiving a tax-credit scholarship or a voucher.

In Arizona, you also have about 20% in charter schools, that’s the most in the nation. And Arizona also has interdistrict public school choice. That’s another about 30%. So actually in Arizona, you’ve got more than 50% of students that are attending a school other than the one that they are zoned to. And more than a quarter that are attending either a charter or a private school using these funds. And just this year, we are in the midst of what we’ve been calling the year of educational choice.

So, West Virginia passed a universal education savings account program, Indiana expanded their voucher so that now 90% of students qualify. Probably about three quarters now qualify in Florida, they just expanded theirs. We’ve got so far nine states that expanded their programs or passed new ones this year. We’re probably going to get close to 15. So we may be having a moment.

But that being said, there are still a bunch of states where they don’t have any school choice options. They are not likely to have any for the near future. And so I would argue for a both/and approach. I mean, I would like to see more of these low-cost private schools you’ve been talking about. But the question to me is why hasn’t it happened already? I mean, we’ve seen some like Acton Academy tried to do this low-cost classical education microschool. If you look at their individual schools, I’d say they’ve had tremendous success. They haven’t been able to bring it yet to scale in the United States.

James Tooley: Yeah, okay. So on the first part of your question, okay. I still think it’s too early to say because the striking example is Arizona and I think on vouchers, it was 20% you said?

Jason Bedrick: So, there are between 5 and 7% are using taxpayer scholarships, or K-12 education savings accounts, which are sort of like voucher plus.

James Tooley: Five and 7%.

Jason Bedrick: Between five and seven, yeah. They are close to seven now, and then charter is other 20.

James Tooley: Yeah, okay. Yeah. So it’s still a very, very small percentage, isn’t it? And remember, Milton Friedman his argument collapses if you don’t have 100% or 95% using vouchers. His argument for them could completely collapse. So forget his change of mind, the argument collapses because they’re about democratic equality. So that’s the first point, but absolutely this is an empirical discussion and absolutely I will say mea culpa, I got that wrong if these things expand. But I’m still not convinced they will expand beyond that sort of number you’re talking about.

And across America, maybe that won’t affect that 2% figure. Maybe that might be pushed up a little bit who knows. And you’ve talked about quite a lot of programs that have been accepted, but they haven’t yet come into implementation. I think I talk about in this book, the Utah program that I’d written in a previous book called E.G. West, where I talked about the Utah program, it’s going to go ahead and it was virtually universal. It was stopped. It was stopped at the last minute. And I think Friedman talks about stuff in California as well.

So yeah, but what you’re saying is so… Absolutely there’s lot’s happening. And part of why that’s been happening is because of lockdowns, isn’t it?

Jason Bedrick: That’s right.

James Tooley: Because now this is the interesting thing that’s happened as my book was published and which will have a profound impact on both the School Choice, with capital S and capital C, and school choice with small S and C. Your question is why hasn’t it happened before? And my answer was always perhaps the public education system is not bad enough or it’s not seemed to be bad enough or not seemed to be inadequate enough. Whereas in Lagos or Delhi, absolutely it seemed to be completely inadequate by ordinary parents. Maybe lockdowns have made parents realize that the public system is inadequate to their needs.

There’s evidence, isn’t there? Showing the private schools catered under lockdown much more, that they looked after the children, whereas public schools tended not to, tended to abandon their children. A lot of parents are now used to homeschooling and they see. So two things happen with homeschooling. One was, you’ve got to see what the school, public schools are pushing down your children’s throat and you didn’t necessarily like it very much.

And second, you’ve got to realize actually this is rather different from, “Why am I letting my kid go to a public school when clearly they’re thriving in this environment?” So, all of those pressures, yes, have led to the reforms you’re talking about. They have also left, I think, I get phone calls, I get messages from people in America saying, “Can we do something along the lines you’ve been saying? Why don’t we do that rather than send our children back to public schools?”

So, I think these lockdowns have been horrific, COVID has been horrific, but nonetheless, this could be a silver lining to this. This could be the silver lining and maybe what you’re suggesting happens in the reform movement is also happening in this spontaneous order movement. And maybe we will see both thriving and that would be a very positive state of affairs I think.

Jason Bedrick: I think so too. Well, James, it has been a pleasure having you on. Again, our guest today has been Dr. James Tooley, the vice Chancellor of the University of Buckingham in England. His book is Really Good Schools. It’s a really good book I should note. You should read it. Really Good Schools: Global Lessons for High-Caliber, Low-Cost Education. James, thank you so much for coming on the podcast.

James Tooley: Thank you so much for inviting me, Jason. I’ve really enjoyed it.

Jason Bedrick: And another edition of EdChoice chats. If you have any ideas for authors you’d like us to interview for the Big Ideas Series, please send them to media@edchoice.org and be sure to subscribe to our podcast. Follow us on social media at @edchoice. And don’t forget to sign up for our emails on our website, edchoice.org. Thank you. We’ll catch you next time.