Professor Zingales talks about "regulatory capture," which has been evident recently in the battle between the SEC and global Wall Street banks over regulating money market mutual funds. Corporate lobbyists have been pleading to sustain inefficient domestic sugar manufacturing and favoring the ethanol industry, which has been an economic and environmental albatross. Examples abound in the book.
When the educational sector is discussed in the media, the word "lobbying" is always replaced by "activism," or "advocacy." Their regulatory capture is nothing different or nobler: it is just lobbying. As Zingales writes,
"...the most destructive cronyism that uses lobbying to extract money from the American people in exchange for a product that doesn't meet their needs is the public school system.Some of the causes identified by researchers include inefficient teaching methods, and technology is the next large topic identified as something which can increase both efficiency and student performance.
In the 2007-2008 election cycle, the National Education Association, the union representing public school teachers was the biggest lobbyist in America spending $56 million.
...as the teachers union defends the status quo in education, it is killing the American dream for much of the population.
...the U.S. spends more per capita than almost every other country, with little to show for it. Between 1980-2005, public spending per U.S. student increased 75% in real terms, with little or no impact on performance."
I think that it's a lot more complicated than giving every student an iPad. Meaningful competition would be the best medicine to improve the public schools.