Anyone who pays any attention to the debate over public education knows the rap consistently advanced by the pro-vouchers/pro-privatization crowd: “We need to bring the ‘genius’ of the free market to education so that schools will compete with each other and thereby drive up the overall quality of education.” This is the same argument under which charter schools are supposed to be “incubators of innovation” that hatch all sorts of brilliant ideas that then percolate throughout the K-12 system.
A key and obvious flaw in this logic, of course, is its blind and absurd glorification of the private sector. Here’s the real truth about the ”free market” in the U.S.: For all of its many strengths as a wealth producer, it is also frequently a ruthless and cutthroat world in which most new enterprises fail and in which many actors are driven by (and act upon) less-than-honorable motives — most notably greed.
To see evidence of this hard reality in North Carolina’s just-underway move to bring market forces to bear upon K-12 education, check out this story by NC Policy Watch reporter Sarah Ovaska: “Charlotte charter founders accused of plagiarizing, school may not open.”
It turns out that a new charter school applicant in Charlotte basically lifted the language in its application, word for word, from another applicant. And what is perhaps even more disturbing, Read More…