Privatizing Education—Profiting Off Our Children’s Future
Since 2008, K-12 education has been cut over $18 Billion in California alone. These cuts are depriving students of any sort of decent education, while making conditions harder for teachers. Meanwhile, parents, teachers, their unions, and the schools themselves are being blamed as failures. But alongside the attacks on public education, one sector of education is growing – education for profit. While politicians claim privatizing schools is an attempt to rescue education, the truth is that public education is being handed over to capitalists, turning schools into corporate investment markets rather than places for students to learn.
Legislation Opens the Door for Corporate Profits
In the last decade, both Democratic and Republican administrations have created laws that turn education into an investment opportunity.
Under George W. Bush, a bill called “No Child Left Behind” was passed, linking school funding to student test performance. Students have low scores for many reasons – things like stress at home, unemployed parents, and a poor diet. Are schools to blame for all of these problems? No Child Left Behind set up a system to punish schools for their students’ low scores.
Under Obama– A bill called “Race to the Top” continued the policies of the Bush administration. When students fail to test well, school districts are given emergency powers. They can fire all the teachers and replace them with people who will work for less. They can close schools and force students to go somewhere else. They can even give control of the school to private investors who know nothing about education, turning what was once a public school into a charter school.
Charter Schools – Transforming Education into a Corporate Investment
Charter Schools are public schools that have been handed over to management by private interest groups. Thousands of charter schools are replacing public schools throughout the country.
Charter schools are not required to allow union representation for teachers and other workers.
Charter schools pay less – A charter school teacher earns $31,000 a year, while a public school teacher earns $47,000.
Charter schools don’t accept all students – students with disabilities, or who are learning English can be forced out.
But charter schools make billions for corporations – $500 billion is spent on education in the U.S. every year, and corporations aim to turn that money into profits.
Learning Should Not be About Profit
As private industry turns the school system into a corporate investment, K-12 schools are rotting away as a result. This is because of a system that’s determined to put profit over the learning needs of our students. Families, teachers, and schools are blamed when schools fall apart, and then the so-called solution of the government is to hand schools over to private investors. We should say no to these attacks. Our children’s future is worth more than their profits.