American schools are criticized for lack of student preparation and the inability to compete globally. I believe one of the many reasons is that schools are a monopoly with significant barriers to entry.
An assumption of perfectly competitive markets is that there's perfect information. Suppose I was motivated to learn Algebra and found a good, used textbook at the bookstore. As a non-certified user, I cannot obtain an answer key to check my answers. This greatly decreases my knowledge of results and probably kills my motivation. It would be like shooting hoops and not knowing if you're making a basket. So access to materials is a barrier. There are also licensing and accreditation requirements. Furthermore, schools are not open year around and operate 7/24 of a day. Clearly, schools don't maximize full the full extent of their resources. My conclusion is that schools want to maintain their market presence by under allocating instructional resources.
Today, while I was reading Ben Bernanke's textbook, Macroeconomics, I found myself underlining, making notes in the margin, and copying text to my journal. I thought how different I read compared to what students can do in my classroom. They cannot write in the book simply because replacement is a burden to the district. My point is schools can't teach reading the way students read. Wouldn't it be great if students could read on a handheld device that allowed them to write with their fingers to annotate text, copy and paste text to a journal, and NOT destroy the original document? This is the direction that education should take to destroy monopoly power. The text should be interactive, amendable, and the students.
When school resumes in the fall, many students dread the thought of returning. The very nature of a monopoly is a resentment. Can it be that students simply resent schools because schools deliberately produce less education at a higher cost? One of my goals for the summer is to find technology that allows students to breath in my curriculum, keep it, and use it. I welcome any comments on what technology I can use to accomplish this goal.