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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Public Education and Private Profit

Interesting on the radio.

Why do we cut budgets, pass cost on to citizens and encourage a class caste system to develop in America?

Listening to the radio a report from the National Education Policy Center says that Republicans are steering the wrong direction in education because they are steered by the elites.  Wealthy people who can afford to send their kids to pirate schools see reform coming for competition, the marketplace, administrative savings, cost efficiencies, privatization, testing quotas, merit raises, no unions, and youthful newly trained teachers.

The truth is that that eliminated the most experienced teachers, the ability to earn a fair wage and benefits, increased bias on the part of administrators on teachers pay and merit, the reality of the quality of education and other factors impacting individual student populations, and that education cost more so cutting costs only cuts quality and services.

Education is used by private companies to make money, not to enhance services. The quality can be higher at a private school but the pay level and benefits for staff is generally less, yet parents pay large amounts to send their children to these schools.

Poor, even middle class parents, particularly with large families are being asked by the wealthy to pay for their child's education when they have trouble paying mortgage, rent, food, transportation, hearing and for the basics. Wealthy people do not think about that or they believe in "let the marketplace sort it out" other words work houses.

Why aren't we concentrating on pre-school education? Why not lower class size? Why not provide incentives and programs that attractt the best teachers to the schools most in need? Why are we spending on out sourcing and privatization instead of on well researched and proven methods to raise the standard of education.

The broader issue is privatization in general, a goal of most Republicans. The privatization has spiraled out of control, from prisons, welfare,  to use of military mercenary "private contractors" fighting our wars along side US Soldiers. Does it cost or save money? What impact does it have on oversight? What tax payer controls are in place? Whose cronies benefit and why? Has it increased fraud, abuse, corruption? Has privatization really increased costs? And was it done just to break unions and line the pocket of campaign contributors?

Pineapplegate and Privatizing Public Schools 
Pineapplegate and Privatizing Public Schools

The private sector does not do it better...they just do it for profit.

Standardized test questions about a pineapple and a hare have been ridiculed by students, teachers and critics of education reform. Are public schools being privatized at increased cost to taxpayers and the quality of education itself? Also, Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng leaves the US Embassy, and open questions after President Obama's surprise trip to Afghanistan.

Banner image: A young student in looks closely at a math exam in Chicago. Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty

In six or seven states, kids were asked ridiculous questions on a standardized test. Then, New York's 8th graders were asked about a pineapple that challenges a hare to a race. Since the pineapple can't move, forest animals suspect it has a trick up its sleeve and bet on it to win. But the hare wins and the animals eat the pineapple. The moral is: pineapples don't have sleeves. The story — and the four questions kids were asked about it -- are so obviously stupid that education officials have announced they won't count in official scoring. The resulting ridicule helped fuel the growing backlash against No Child Left Behind and other education "reforms" based on tests devised by private corporations. Parents' and teachers' groups, and some churches, are among those complaining that education is being sacrificed to the profit motive at public expense. What are the consequences for taxpayers and — more important — for students?


Additional information can be found on KCRW's To the Point:



1 comment:

Jana said...

I come from a family of teachers. In fact, my mother is a retired teacher, and my daughter graduated over three years ago. However, my daughter became a teacher, primarily, to home school her children and to keep them out of the public school system. Ironically, she married a man who was home schooled, through twelfth grade, by his mother who also became a teacher primarily to home school her children. Because of the budget cuts and wages, my daughter is employed in the medical field. Teachers can utilize their skills in almost any profession.
Jana Henning
Summer, 2012