Instead, effective school reform must address the structure of public education. Public schools monopolize the market for affordable education and, therefore, are not held accountable for their performance. Consequently, they have little incentive to improve quality or control costs because even the worst public schools are protected by the system.
Schools can be effectively reformed through parental choice programs that empower parents rather than school bureaucracies. Parental choice embodies two principles. First, any system which provides more parents with more choices will be superior to one that assigns children to certain schools based on zoning rules. Second, competition ensures that customers receive the highest quality product at the lowest price. If parents are given the financial ability to remove their children from failing schools, these schools will be forced to improve their quality if they want to remain viable. Competition essentially takes away the guarantee that classrooms will remain full regardless of a school's performance or quality.