Education and private enterprise – making the match?

This post appeared on a listserv (the first quote is what the writer is responding to):
> “Education in the factory model already instills into it the forces behind
> capitalism.”
> Education with a government monopoly will eventually result in getting rid of the very course you and I love. Competition (not capitalism) will allow parents to choose schools. When parents are allowed to choose, Latin will become a draw for schools that offer it.”

I responded to these with:
I wonder how long this thread will be allowed to continue. Anyone want to make a comparison between education-for-profit and anything else in the news recently? (I’ll stop – promise)

Broadly, I am referring to the conservative mantra that government is no good and private enterprise always provides the best service at the best price – competition and all that.

But that’s the problem we continually have: can everything be left to free enterprise when the job of free enterprise is first and foremost to make a profit? Pro-vouchers, private/charter schools people will point to the wreck of our public school systems and ask: “Can private enterprise really do any worse than that, cause more damage?” But what are the origins and proximate causes of the situation?

We have to recognize that well-financed schools in stable neighborhoods do a good job, putting our students i.e. those in that type of school, well into international competition (see The Manufactured Crisis). What schools provide the horror stories? Would it surpirse you to discover that those schools are found in poor and minority neighborhoods?

If we want to level the playing field, we must first recognize that the public schools in those neighborhoods must be well-served. If a private company cuts costs there, the children will have no more protection than they do now b/c their parents do not have the political and economic clout to force government to do the job right. Neither will they with private corporations.

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