Happy 100th Birthday to Milton Friedman!

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Happy Birthday to Milton Friedman, who would have been 100 today. A great way to understand Friedman’s contribution to the field of education can be summed up in the following series of videos associated with his renowned Free to Choose series on PBS. This series of six YouTube segments covers (in the first three) the actual documentary/commentary of the Free to Choose on the idea of scholarship vouchers for students to attend K-12 schools, as well as a fantastic roundtable debate on the then controversial idea.

The FTC special on education opens up with a look at a Hyde Park school that was in the 1980s already plagued by the need for uniformed police, metal detectors, and other safety features.

The series on education then moves to a focus on Harlem Prep — a school that initially embodied many of the virtues Friedman had hoped to see in urban school choice.

In the final part of the documentary, Friedman makes a full-throated case for school choice:

Parts 4-6 are an informative debate including legendary leaders of the American federation of Teachers Al Shanker, former Massachusetts Commissioner of Education Gregory Anrig, and an official from the National School Boards Association, as well as Milton Friedman debating school choice. What’s most interesting is how few of the arguments have changed since the filming of the Free to Choose program and the subsequent debate.

That’s a great line-up of participants in the debate. Happy viewing.

Crossposted at Boston.com’s Rock the Schoolhouse blog. Follow me on twitter at @jimstergios, or visit Pioneer’s website.