ing has often become de-emphasized because of the preferencenfor “cooperation” over competition. In contrast,nprivate schools have, on average, defended the traditionalnstructure of education where competition and grading arenessential features.nThe NIE also found that larger schools experience morenviolence and vandalism than smaller ones. Since, on average,nprivate schools in the U.S. have smaller enrollmentsnthan public schools, we should find the former less crimeprone.nAlso, there is a greater chance with a market systemnof schooling that the issues of disruptive behavior andnviolence will be resolved through the greater exercise ofnparental choice of schools. Where competition betweennschools is reasonably effecHve, a school that cannot maintainndiscipline will lose its students to one that can, and gonbankrupt if it can’t improve.nIn a system in which it is difficult to dislodge ineffechvenschools and principals, it is predictable that independentnopinion surveys would not show a high degree of publicnconfidence. The most recent poll shows correspondinglynthat in 1988 only 23 percent of the public rated the nation’snpublic schools A or B. And this has changed little sincen1983, the year of the report by the National Commission onnExcellence in Education.nIt is likewise predictable that when teachers are asked theirnopinions of the major causes of student difficulties in thenschools they will, in self-defense, resort primarily to deficienciesnin non-school influences. The Metropolitan Life Surveynof the American Teacher (1987) reported accordinglynthat teachers placed at the top of their list 1) children left onntheir own after school (51 percent) and 2) poverty in thenstudents’ homes (47 percent). It is interesting, nevertheless,nthat a significant percentage of the teachers surveyednpointed to defects in their schools. Thus 47 percent of thenteachers found that automatic promotion to the next gradenwas a major problem. Another 43 percent blamed teachersn”who were not adapting to individual student needs.”nOne-third of the teachers pointed to “a boring curriculum.”nOut of six proposed strategies to solve school problems,nthe four that were school-initiated, such as “having thenschool noHfy the parents immediately about any problemninvolving their child,” were favored by parents more thannteachers. Parents are obviously seeking ways of protectingnand helping their children while getting better service forntheir (tax) money. More market discipline and greaternchoice would obviously provide them with much more ofnthe information they evidently crave. Such increased freedomnwould undoubtedly result in parents moving out ofn”problem-area” schools in search of alternatives.nSociologists James S. Coleman and Thomas Hoffer’snPublic and Private High Schools (1987) presents statisticalnfindings that show that Catholic high schools bring aboutngreater growth for the average student in both verbal andnmathematical skills than do public schools. Other privatenschools bring about greater growth in verbal skills than donpublic schools, though a growth diflFerential does not appearnin mathematics. These results were obtained after familynbackground and academic program were statistically controllednfor. The achievement growth benefits of Catholicnschools, but not of other private schools, were especiallyn20/CHRONICLESnnnstrong for students who were in one way or anotherndisadvantaged: poor, black, or Hispanic.nColeman and Holfer focus on the proposition that thenCatholic schools compensate better than other privatenschools for what they call the depressive eflFects of functionalnor structural deficiencies among many families. This propositionnis strongly supported by the finding that the dropoutnrates at Catholic schools are strikingly lower than those atnpublic schools or other private schools.nWhile economists focus on education’s role in creatingnhuman capital, Coleman and Hoffer emphasize the importancenof what they call “social capital.” Social capital existsnin the relations between people. The social capital of thenfamily is the relationships between children and parents andnother close relatives. Coleman and Hoffer describe structuralndeficiency in the family as the physical absence of familynmembers, seen especially in the single-parent family. Evennthe nuclear family can be deficient when grandparents,naunts, and uncles do not live close by. Functional deficiencynis the absence of strong relationships between children andnparents despite their physical proximity.nThe Catholic school environment compensates for suchnfamily deficiencies, Coleman and Hoffer suggest, and in sondoing has the beneficial effect on education that shows up inntheir statistics. The religious community, they argue, is onenof the few remaining strong bases of functional communitynin modern society that includes both adults and children.n(By contrast, neighborhoods have undergone a steadyndecline.)nNevertheless Coleman and Hoffer conclude that theirnevidence “does not point unequivocally to widespreadnbenefits of policies that would increase freedom of choice inneducation, such as vouchers that could be used in any publicnor private school.” Their hesitancy is due to the fear thatnnondenominadonal private schools are usually not based onna “functional community with intergenerational closure.”nThe possibility must be entertained that “the very individualismnthat is embodied in the choice of a private school mayndestroy some of the remaining social capital that can still benfound in residential neighborhoods, and impose costs uponnthe student whose family makes such a choice. “nFrom my perspective there would be virtue in destroyingnthe social relations of some neighborhood public schools,nespecially those riddled by disruptive behavior linked withnviolence and drug abuse. The problem with many publicnschool communities is that they exist, not by “natural”nchoice of individual families, but by the coercion of a publicnschool system that assigns students to schools within administrativelyndecreed zones. There is no evidence to show that,ngiven a real choice, parents would not choose to send theirnchildren to a nearby school. A free market, indeed, couldnultimately result in schooling that is typically within thenchild’s immediate neighborhood. But the difference wouldnbe that schooling would be continually contestable by othernpotential suppliers. It is the absence of this “safety valve”nfrom the present system that prolongs the public schoolnproblems that Coleman and Hoffer find objectionable.nFinally, it is largely because government is replacing thenfamily as the provider of basic welfare services that we findnfunctional deficiencies in families and the consequent loss ofnsocial capital that Coleman and Hoffer complain of Restor-n