Monday, October 20, 2008

Should We Risk a Free Market in Education?

This from Diane Ravitch at Bridging Differences:

...For the past 15 years or more, we have heard a steady drumbeat from the business community and their allies that the schools need a strong dose of businesslike methods. They need choice, competition, accountability.

They need to be more like Kentucky Fried Chicken and Burger King, they need to fight for consumers, they need to be shuttered if they can’t get customers. In short, let’s turn the schools over to the free market. And, of course, we must measure relentlessly, shaming and humiliating those teachers whose students are not constantly getting ever higher test scores. Test scores, I suppose, are the equivalent of a sales target or profit margins.

And of course schools should be deregulated, so that the competition can be as fierce as possible.As the free market lies in shambles around us, bringing down with it many people’s life savings, I wonder if its advocates in the education arena will stop and reconsider whether they are importing free-market chaos and free-market punishments into the lives of children?

And who will stop them before it is too late?

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