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Conference on Investments

July 25, 2013

Today I am missing an opportunity to attend a national conference on “Private Equity Investments in For Profit Education”… not that I had $1495 to get the walk-in cost or even the $995 early bird fee. Diane Ravitch has blogged on this on several occasions, and last week’s post prompted me to write the following comment:

There was a time not so long ago when people working in national retail chains worked predictable hours, made decent wages, and even got pensions and health insurance. Their prices were a little high, though, so Walmart came in and lowered costs by introducing “efficiencies” in the form of lower wages, just-in-time-scheduling, and DIY pensions and health plans… Businessmen and investors who admire Walmart (and those who shop there to get bargains) see public education as a place to save money and earn a healthy profit by introducing the same kinds of efficiencies… and politicians who want to take tough stands against unions, make “tough decisions” in the name of austerity, and want to avoid any tax increases love the idea of converting public schools to for-profit chains…

In short, all of this “reform” has nothing to do with improved testing or improving student learning: this is about making money for shareholders…

Her excoriation of for-profit schooling and my attempt to put it in perspective are nothing new or different… but until I stop getting blank stares and outright astonishment when I tell people that there is a movement afoot to privatize education I feel like I have to keep up the drum beat on this issue. My fear is that even once folks realize that this movement is occurring they will be indifferent to it, the way many people seem to be indifferent to the mass of data available to government agencies like the NSA.

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