Thursday, April 7, 2011

Does privatization of education make sense?

The idea that government or specific government services should be privatizes may not sit well with many of us who work or plan on working for government, but here it goes. With the budget crisis not looking like it will be solved any time soon, aid to state and local governments being cut and a potential federal government shutdown on the horizon, there is sure to be more discussion around the idea of government services becoming privatized.

The most often cited reason for privatization is that the government has created a monopoly and opening it up to the private market would promote competition and thus produce better results.

John Stossel, a reporter for ABC, wrote a piece on education, stating that choice is what will move education to the next level and the monopoly that government holds over education is holding our country back.[1] A Brookings Institute article also points to choice as the reason for privatization of our education system.[2] Many state that introducing choice is the way to improve education and choice means taking away the monopoly that government has on education. The following video points to choice and competition as the means to improving education:

The Cato Institute released the following video: , The video lays out types of government monopolies and provides reasons why education is a bad business for government to be solely involved in.

Another reason many are for privatization is the finances. Government employees are being paid more than private sector employees[3] and aid is being cut, It is clear that with increasing wages and lack of funding, many are looking for new ways to spend less. The University of Michigan examined privatizing the school to help relieve some of the financial burden.[4] While some are hoping privatization will save money, some say that privatization will cost more in the end. [5]

While some see privatization as the way to bring choice back to the American public, the financial crisis may potentially hold some schools back from making such decisions.[6] Major changes may be too drastic for our current political environment, but people will not stand for education to fail the future leaders of America.

As wages rise, demand increases and people expect more from their schools, will there be a greater push to privatize education? Only time and the American voters will tell. No matter what side you are on, we can all agree that our education system can and should do better.

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