The School Choice Ripoff

Republicans like to frame their “school choice” proposals as something that would benefit the working class and poor. But like most Republican policy proposals, it’s a scam to benefit the upper classes at the expense of the poor and enrich a private insurance industry.

Natalie Hopkinson writes,

IF you want to see the direction that education reform is taking the country, pay a visit to my leafy, majority-black neighborhood in Washington. While we have lived in the same house since our 11-year-old son was born, he’s been assigned to three different elementary schools as one after the other has been shuttered. Now it’s time for middle school, and there’s been no neighborhood option available.

Meanwhile, across Rock Creek Park in a wealthy, majority-white community, there is a sparkling new neighborhood middle school, with rugby, fencing, an international baccalaureate curriculum and all the other amenities that make people pay top dollar to live there.

Such inequities are the perverse result of a “reform” process intended to bring choice and accountability to the school system. Instead, it has destroyed community-based education for working-class families, even as it has funneled resources toward a few better-off, exclusive, institutions.

Be sure to read the whole thing.

10 thoughts on “The School Choice Ripoff

  1. I never did understand how school choice was supposed to work, since the number of students who can “choose” the best schools is necessarily limited to the number of spaces those schools have available. The notion that competition will somehow magically produce the best outcomes for everybody is contradicted by basically everything in our economy. People can choose where they live, too, after all, but somehow not everyone lives in a mansion.

    There’s also a basic obfuscation about who’s competing for what here. Obviously the idea was that schools would compete for students, but somehow the reality has turned out to be that students have to compete to get into decent schools.

  2. If they had to decide “Brown v. Board of Education” today, Brown would lose. And so would ALL brown people.


    And the privatizing everything scam continues…

  3. It is sick. For about 15 years now, I have watched these scams infect the neighborhoods in DC and Maryland. They are set up to make money for themselves, and the students are the losers.


    Scratch a privatization scam, find a group that rakes in big bucks while providing worse services for more money than do the comparable public institutions they’re leeching from.

    Check out the prison privatization boondoggle, especially the role played by CCA. Disturbingly similar to what Michelle Rhee and her cronies are trying to do to public schools.

  5. Hopefully, those experiencing the school-choice-ripoff will not fall for the much more egregious voucher-funded education system – a system that will immediately make school choice obsolete.

    If the voucher amount is less than the tuition at the school of your choice, your child will be forced to attend the school whose tuition is covered by the amount of your voucher.

  6. Gee, wasn’t the war on Iraq also “privatized”? (The vendor-contracts part; not the wear-a-military-uniform-and-possibly-die part.) How many billions estimated down that rathole of unfulfilled contracts? I was thinking it’s around $60 billion?

  7. joanri6 – in confirmation of your ‘guess,’ a private security guard in Baghdad earns $1,222/day: a sergeant (same work) earns $71/day: a Sunni militia fighter (same work) earns $16/day: an Iraqi (same work, same qualifications) earns $9/day.
    This may reflect a case of the highest-bidder-gets-the-job even when the highest bidder is no more ‘qualified’ that his competitors.

    At last count there were 242,657 private contractors working in Iraq and Afghanistan. I’d call that privatization in spades.

  8. destroyed community-based education for working-class families, even as it has funneled resources toward a few better-off, exclusive, institutions.

    It’s a feature, not a bug.

  9. Amazing even when voucher schools have been shown to not perform as well as public schools (in Milwaukee no less). And when private charter schools have been mixed, at best, with many performing way, way below that of regular public schools. Lets make sure that evidence doesn’t get in the way of our decision making. Did a Masters thesis on this; the Milwaukee voucher results are astounding given that those that have decided to send their kids to a private school score better on tests because of some external factors (like having parents who care enough about their kids to get them into a different school). We don’t hear much about this though.

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