Now We Know Our ABCs. And Charter Schools Get an F.
Charter Schools: As with all free market systems, privatized education will set the price high enough to ensure a profit.
Milton Friedman’s 1955 article, “The Role of Government in Education,” argued for a voucher system that would allow parents to purchase the school of their choice for their children. Just as Friedman’s supply-side free-market beliefs have been proven wrong, so also the notion of privatizing education is doomed to failure.
The evidence against charter schools is overwhelming. Their relative ineffectiveness is documented by studies from Stanford University, the Department of Education, Johns Hopkins University, and the RAND Corporation.
In addition to their poor performance, charters are more segregated, less likely to accept students with disabilities, and conducive to a widening of the racial and rich-poor education gaps.
Also, charter school teachers have less experience, and their turnover rate is higher.
Yet the media-supported myth of school privatization persists. Charters sustain this myth, according to noted education scholar Diane Ravitch, by “skimming off” the most motivated students from disadvantaged neighborhoods. They claim to select students randomly. But astudy of the highly regarded KIPP Charter School chain shows a pattern of “selective attrition” in which underperforming students are “counseled out.” About half of Kipp’s students leave between the 5th and 8th grades.
Charters can pull off their charade of success, because the privatization myth keeps disillusioned parents waiting at their front doors. There are currently about two million students in 5,600 charter schools throughout the U.S., with 600,000 children on the waiting lists.
In the end, perhaps the strongest argument against charter schools is that they’ve never been scaled up to a level that accommodates the majority of students. The profit motive wouldn’t allow such equality of opportunity without drastic cutbacks in teacher salaries and student support costs. After all, the people at the top need to grab their salaries first.
Things that should not make you concerned for the world’s population:
- The fact that there are now approximately 7 billion people on the earth
Things that should make you concerned for the world’s population:
- General disregard for the environment
- Forced sterilization
- Inequality and oppression
- Privatization of land, water, and other natural resources
The problem is not that there are too many people, but that a small percentage of humans consume in ways that are inconsiderate, inhumane, unnatural, or unnecessary.
Little Sheep, After The Privatization Of 15% Half-Liter Founder Continued Rengu Dong ! http://newish.info/195545-little-sheep-after-the-privatization-of-15-half-liter-founder-continued-rengu-dong
Graph of the Day: Privatizing Government is Bad Business
By Benjamin Landy
The unparalleled efficacy of the free market is the kind of conservative shibboleth that rarely involves qualification or nuance; for the modern GOP, the competitiveness of the private sector is nearly sacrosanct. The private sector can do anything cheaper and more effectively than the federal government, they argue, because private employees—with their typically lower incomes and worse benefits—face economic incentives to succeed that federal employees—with their inflated salaries and cushy pensions—need not concern themselves with. But when the independent non-profit organization Project on Government Oversight (POGO) investigated the issue, they found that privatizing government is actually far more expensive in practice than in theory. In fact, the average price paid to contractors is 83 percent higher than if the federal government had simply paid their own employees to do the same job.
Instead of focusing on the public-private pay differential, POGO examined the actual cost of the contracts auctioned to private businesses compared to the estimated cost of the same job being done in-house by public employees. After looking at 550 contracts across 35 different sectors and agencies, they found that in 94 percent of cases, the average billing rate of the contractors was nearly double what the government would have paid to do the job itself.
The most egregious example of waste was the money spent on Claims Assistance and Examining, which involves the “examining, reviewing, developing, adjusting, reconsidering, or recommending authorization of claims by or against the federal government.” What should have cost the federal government $57,292 per year for a public sector employee (including benefits), or $75,637 for a fully compensated private sector employee, actually cost an average contractor billing rate of $276,598—nearly five times the in-house rate and 3.66 times the price of an outsourced private employee.
The authors of the report conclude,
“The current debate over pay differentials largely relies on the theory that the government pays private sector compensation rates when it outsources services. This report proves otherwise: in fact, it shows that the government actually pays service contractors at rates far exceeding the cost of employing federal employees to perform comparable functions.”
This is a serious failure of cost analysis and a major drain on the federal budget. Nearly a quarter of all discretionary spending now goes to service contractors. If, as POGO estiamtes, contractors cost the United States government an average 1.83 times more than if public sector employees had done comparable work, then many billions of taxpayers’ dollars are being wasted each year. According to the Washington Post, the number of federal contractors grew from an estimated 4.4 million in 1999 to over 7.5 million in 2005; that number is undoubtably even higher today. With over $320 billion spent on service contracts in 2010, it is high time we significantly reevaluate those outsourcing policies and start paying closer attention to the true cost of privatizing government.
“Students at an Attleboro, Massachusetts, middle school went hungry this week, if they had a negative balance on their pre-paid lunch cards. Five cents of debt was enough for cafeteria employees at the Coehlo Middle School to instruct kids at least one day this week to dump out the food they would have normally eaten, CNN affiliate WJAR in Rhode Island reported.”—
Interesting relevant fact: Food at that school is provided by a private company instead of the district.