This week, EconTalk host Russ Roberts welcomed author James Tooley to talk about what he discovered in researching the educational options of the world’s poorest children. What he found is surprising to many, but as Roberts notes, some find Tooley’s work dangerous. Let us know what you think about their conversation, using the prompts in this week’s Extra.

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Check Your Knowledge:

1. What does Roberts mean when he mentions “feedback loops,” and how does Tooley suggest these operate in the realm of private schools in the world’s poorest areas?

2. What does Tooley mean when he suggests he has learned more about economics from poor parents than from reading Friedman or Hayek? Do you think that’s hyperbole or simply a true statement?

Going Deeper:

3. What are the means by which these private schools arise in these poverty-stricken ares, according to Tooley? Why do you think other spheres of the economy do not see a similar pattern of emergence?

Extra Credit:

4. Roberts notes that critics of Tooley’s work may claim that public schools, such as those in Finland, are the ideal. How does Tooley react to this claim? What would you suggest as means to achieve the ends Tooley desires? Explain.

5. What does Roberts regard as the two primary lessons he learned from reading Tooley’s The Beautiful Tree? How would economist William Easterly suggest that Roberts’ second lesson be addressed in the education realm?