Dear Commons Community,
Gail Collins comments on the privatization of public education in her New York Times column today. Some of us have been discussing this for several years now. After continuing the joke of the New York State Eight Grade Reading Exam with questions about a talking pineapple, she focuses on the testing industry and specifically Pearson. For example, Pearson has a testing contract with the state of Texas worth a half billion dollars a year.
“We’re now in a world in which decisions about public education involve not just parents and children and teachers, but also big profits or losses for the private sector. Change the tests, or the textbooks, or the charters, or even the rules for teacher certification, and you change somebody’s bottom line. “
One interesting quote was attributed to New York State Education Commissioner John King.
“We’re a capitalist system, but this is worrisome,”
Yes it is especially when your agency insists on trying to give no-bid contracts worth tens of millions of dollars to companies such as Rupert Murdoch/Joel Klein’s Wireless Generation to establish education data-driven decision making systems throughout the state.
We can thank No Child Left Behind for creating much of this situation but we also need to include all of the players (education management companies, charters, the media, corporate-affiliated foundations such as Gates, Broad and Walton, the US Department of Education and a host of individuals and organizations) that see public education and our children as the vehicles for returning huge profits to stockholders. Welcome to the great American education-industrial complex!!!