Monday, August 28, 2006

Perilous Privatization Pitfalls

It's been a long time coming. For years the far right has been fanning the flames of privatization from education to health care and beyond. They point to bureaucratic bungling and inefficiency to make their case for smaller, less-capable government.

Charter schools are institutions that have broken free of the usual, public school board system. They operate autonomously, typically with per-capita government funding. The idea is that, freed of the bureaucratic shackles of the public school system, charter schools will produce a higher standard of education.

It all sounds good in theory, especially if you have that ideological bent, but it has sure fallen short in practice. A U.S. federal study has found that charter school students generally score significantly worse in both reading and math than their public school counterparts. The concept of charter schools is that they are to be measured by performance and they must outperform the public schools. Hmm, what now? This is a red meat issue for the far right so don't expect much reaction.

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