Privatization of Education

5 Jul

Amanda Huber MSW, LCSWA

In North Carolina  plans on saving 50 million dollars a year by denying children the right to there has been a push to privatize the public education

The push comes from a notion that the medicaid system in North Carolina is broken to the point that it is interfering with the ability to pay teachers salaries and therefore the state of North Carolina must get “creative” so to speak and create grants and scholarships to students who qualify for free and reduced lunch, to attend private schools in the state. By creating this grant the state will be able to save that 50 million that was typically allocated to the public school system and they will be able to provide the educational support of a private system. The fight agains privatization is within the digital education and the faith based education community. Luckily the North Carolina court has placed plans for an internet based school on hold, however the group, N.C. Learns, continues to fight the ruling, Real Facts NC reports:

N.C. Learns, a group behind a proposal for a 6,000 student virtual charter school, continues to fight a judge’s order that put the school’s plans on indefinite hold. The school would have been run by K12, Inc., a Wall Street-traded educational company that generated more than $700 million in revenue, mostly from public dollars for online-only schools it runs in more than two-dozen states around the country. K12 Inc. was founded by a former Goldman Sachs banker and by William Bennett, the Republican writer and talk-show host, with an infusion of cash from the former disgraced junk-bond king Mike Milken. Its teachers generally work from their homes, communicating with their students by e-mail or phone.This notion is disturbing on several levels as the program leans to a sort of discrimination. Being from a different part of the country and being bi-cultural personally, I find this is disturbing. Images of apartieds and segrigation start to come to mind as the idea of privatization takes control. Private schools do not operate under the same guidelines as the public school system, and many in the south come from a faith based community. Faith based communities do not take into account the differences between religions and private schools do not have the same systems in place to support and nurture growth that the public school system provides.

photo credit: villy21 via photopin cc
photo credit: villy21 via photopin cc

An argument that has been waged against the public education system has been that by privatizing education, the students will receive a better quality education and the state will spend less money in general on public school education, which will reduce spending. These grants will be offered to students who meet the minimums for free and reduced lunch, but it does not stipulate which of these kids will be of other races than “majority” race of the school nor the religious practices of theses institutions. there is a small loophole which states that public funds will not be used for religious studies however, being that the institution will be private, how will there be appropriate oversight?

On the issue of race, one has to consider the children who have mixed status or undocumented status who will be excluded from this bill. How will these students fair without ESL programs that are readily available?  Will they fall between the cracks? In talking about falling between the cracks, what students will benefit from a home based education system. For man y low income children school is where the get some basic needs met, they have lunch, they socialize, they leave abusive situations or they are in-contact with people who will be able to help they with difficult home situations. Being in community mental health for a few years, most referrals for services come from the school system, concerned teachers and staff who want the best for these students. The notion of privatizing the system to a home-based charter, even if it is not for the entire NC student population, will lower the standards of care across the state.

Many migrant children attend school because the law enforces it, the school busses run, the school social workers and counselors make sure that these children stay in school and assist with the necessary paperwork. Private schools typically do not hire social workers. Private schools do not have the oversight. What good will come from privatizing public education if tax payers will still have to pay for the service. Will that portion that was originally allocated for public education; for our children, teachers and social workers then go into other projects. What about no child left behind and the rights brown v board gave to this United States of America? The policy of moving toward the privatization of public education leaves room for discriminatory practices and shady practices. Advocate for education.


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