Bildungsreform und Werteerziehung: Eine ökonomische Betrachtung
Recent articles of the public choice literature emphasize the socializing role of education in order to explain the widespread practice of publicly run schools. In schools pupils are not only provided with basic skills, e.g. literacy and numeracy, but are also instilled with norms and values. Since successful economic transactions are assumed to be more likely the more homogeneous the cultural background of agents, a centralized education system with a common curriculum might be the optimal choice of a constituency that cares for the economic wellbeing of its descendants. Hence, the socializing role of education might be used as an argument against the introduction of market mechanisms into the education system, e.g. the use of school vouchers that could lead to social segregation. This article critically analyzes this line of reasoning and tries to reveal its shortcomings. For example: If a common cultural background were really that important to economic development, how could the phenomenon of international trade be explained? This and other arguments developed in this paper question the need to trade off potential gains in educational achievement due to market-driven education reforms with potential losses in social cohesion that such reforms might provoke.
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