I want to change that in the New Year. I hope, beginning with January 2 (too much happening over the weekend to start right on New Year's Day), to post at least once a week and hopefully every other day!
In the meantime, perhaps to get things going, here's a rework of a letter I sent to my local paper recently. It's a response to their support of certain portions of the report that came out of the Gates Foundation about the future of education:
You cite the Gates commission report, I assume approvingly: "Public schools should be run by private contractors...."On a practical level, I would have thought our nation's experience with the likes of Halliburton and Bechtel in Iraq had taught us a valuable lesson about outsourcing government operations (still paid with taxpayer funds). I would have thought such experience made it clear that the private sector is neither more efficient nor less corrupt than the public sector. Apparently, I was wrong, if a respected newspaper can still suggest that privatizing K-12 education makes sense.
On a philosophical, ethical level, I am equally troubled by the notion of turning education into a profit-making business. Are our students, our children, nothing more than widgets to be turned out at the lowest cost, with the highest return on investment? If so, what happens to those children who it will never be profitable to educate? What happens to the children whose needs are so great, so costly to meet, that they can never "turn a profit" for the private concerns chosen to run our school systems? Do we go back to the institutionalization of such children? Do we return to 18th- and 19th-Century models for dealing with the disabled, the handicapped, either mentally or physically?
I hope not. But we have seen how private business deals with the unprofitable--it abandons it, as it abandoned, for example, the unprofitable transport of passengers by rail, eventually turning over to government the service it had failed to maintain because there was no "profit" in it.
Can we afford to have the education of our children, 25 or 50 years from now, turned back over to government, after private enterprise has let it fall further and further into disrepair, because maintaining it at a high level was simply "unprofitable"?
Comments are, as always, welcome.