Private Schools for the Poor
The results sound extraordinary. In slum areas of countries such as Nigeria it appears that a majority of poor children are being educated in private schools, charging on the order of five dollars a month. Parents are willing to pay that because they believe they are getting, in various ways, a better education for their children than in the free public schools. Tooley tested a random sample of both private and public school children, and confirmed that opinion; the children going to the (inexpensive, slum) private schools consistently tested higher than the children going to the public schools.
His talk reminded me of E.G. West's fascinating book Education and the Industrial Revolution, where he describes a very similar pattern among the English working poor in the early 18th century—in that case with no free public schools available.
As a libertarian I found the talk, and the accompanying video, encouraging, not merely because it provides evidence to support my beliefs but because it suggests that, however difficult the push for libertarianism may be in the political arena, we have allies--billions of human beings applying their intelligence to living their lives as best they can, frequently below the radar of their governments.