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Saturday, January 07, 2017

A Closer Look at the Education Marketplace | Education Week (blog)

Walt Gardner's Reality Check

Photo: Walt Gardner
Walt Gardner, taught for 28 years in the Los Angeles Unified School District and was a lecturer in the UCLA Graduate School of Education argues, "Critics of public education invariably urge the establishment of an open marketplace as a solution ("Free Market for Education? Economists Generally Don't Buy It," The New York Times, Jan. 1).  But the idea of running schools like a business is a contradiction in terms."

Here's why:  Public schools have to admit all who show up at their doors regardless of ability or motivation.  Businesses do not.  Public schools cannot fire those who are late, perform poorly or are disruptive. Businesses can.  Public schools rarely fire failing teachers.  Businesses can, but those executives walk away with lucrative compensation packages that teachers do not. 

In short, if public schools were truly allowed to operate like businesses, then perhaps a case could be made. I know what critics are going to say.  What about the success of charter schools? Although they are publicly funded, charters are exempt from most of the rules governing traditional public schools.  As a result, comparing the two is an exercise in futility. 

Source: Education Week (blog)