For Profit Education… Really?

Posted: 2011/02/25 in Education

Here’s a challenge to the for-profit education crowd: I know of a student who was blind and deaf. The school district was required to provide a full-time (fully trained) teacher to spend all day every day with this one student.

What would you have society do? Lock this child away in some attic? Maybe a more gruesome “solution”?

What if this was your child? What if this was your child and you lived in China or India where being locked away or some gruesome solution would be inevitable?

What if this was your child and you lived in a world where schools had to operate on a for-profit basis? Would there be a cap on the education funds spent on any one child? (After all, government has supported insurance company profits above dying people, doesn’t it make sense government would protect education company profits?)

We hear a lot about charter schools. Fine, just let them operate on an even playing field with public schools. If charter schools are going to function in place of public schools, they should meet the needs of any student, the same as public schools.

Charter school proponents will protest: Indeed, charter schools accept students from poverty, from bad neighborhoods — then what follows is a phrase that begins with the words “as long as that student…” Most charter schools I’ve heard of require students and parents to sign a contract, make a commitment to longer hours, study time, classroom behavior, uniforms, whatever.

So who’s left over after the charter schools have their signed contracts?

Students whose parents work three jobs or don’t speak enough English to pursue opportunities for their child. Students in foster care, in group homes, in shelters, those bounced from one relative to another knowing they’re unwanted anywhere. Students with parents or guardians who aren’t mature enough, aren’t stable enough, healthy enough or sober enough to show up at a meeting or sign a contract or follow up with commitments.

I try to imagine what it would be like to teach in a school that only served students who had families committed to their education. Support from home means consequences for students who don’t work or cause classroom disruption. Managing a classroom would have to be easier.

But what about the rest of the children?


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