More cautionary tales about privatization of what should be public responsibilities are coming out of Sweden, Chile and Michigan. Sweden spent the last two decades experimenting in “free market education” and it’s a complete disaster. Chilean students have fared no better in their experiment. Chile’s primary schools rank of 119 out of 144 countries but have the highest cost in the world. And Americans are starting to notice similar outcomes here. Michigan has a quarter of the entire nations for-profit schools (Florida and Arizona are not far behind) and the least number of non-profits. And it shows. 75% of the for-profit schools failed to show adequate yearly progress in 2010-2011 as required by Federal Standards. Arizona appears to be closing five charter schools for poor performance and there’s indications that there will be even more next year. In all cases, they are paying for more and getting less. Why would any sane person do this?
The reason is because we were told for years that our public school system was failing. The for-profit companies and their GOP lackeys have been telling us outright lies and we believed them because we did see some failures in our individual lives and because there were just so many voices saying it, repeatedly. We made the mistake of believing that individual, anecdotal evidence could be generalized to the entire system and we believed that the number of people saying something mattered. The actual data tells us something different entirely. So they sold us all a bill of goods to create a new market in which to pillage and help control the education of future worker bees. We need to stop educational privatization tout suite before we end up like Sweden or Chile.