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Start paying for success

​The main goal of a business is to earn a profit.
However, in order to do so, it must provide a product or service for which people are willing to pay. There has to be a balance between the quality of the service and the maximum profit.

​If a business provides a poor product, then its profits will be hurt. The business with the better products will increase its profits, if it is operating efficiently.
Any business operating inefficiently will not reach its maximum profits.
​Interestingly, this simple economics lesson seems to be lost on the government, specifically the public school system.
In the past Mississippi legislative session, the defeated charter schools bill received criticism for allowing for-profit educational providers to operate under a charter.
For some reason, people dislike the idea of an organization making a profit from educating students.

​I fail to see why this is a problem, though.
If an organization can produce better results more efficiently, then why should the organization not reap profits?
Under charter law, a for-profit institution that is not producing results will be shut down. If the institution does not operate efficiently, then it will be minimizing profits.

​A for-profit educational provider has operating incentives that traditional public schools and non-profit organizations do not have.
Traditional public schools do not have an incentive to produce better results because they do not face the risk of being shut down. They also do not have an incentive to operate more efficiently because they are not trying to earn a profit.

Government does not have a problem allowing for-profit businesses to build our roads and bridges, but when it comes to education, such a thought is taboo.
It is time that we begin to do whatever it takes to make sure that Mississippi students have the opportunity to receive the best education they can, whether that is from a for-profit institution, online or through a traditional public school.

If your representative is against for-profit educational providers, ask why he or she is not against other public contractors.

Trenton Winford is a junior public policy leadership major from Madison.