Out of Control Policy Blog

Who likes outsiders?

What could be worse than having a government monopoly run schools? Perhaps having "outsiders" run them.

NYT headline: City Considers Plans to Let Outsiders Run Schools

    In what would be the biggest change yet to the way New York City's school system is administered, officials are considering plans to hire private groups at taxpayer expense to manage scores of public schools.
    ...

    The move would further Chancellor Joel I. Klein's earlier efforts to tear apart the traditional bureaucracy of the nation's largest school system, giving principals greater autonomy and increasing the role of the private sector. It could put private entities like the College Board, the Urban Assembly and Expeditionary Learning-Outward Bound on contract to manage networks of schools as soon as the 2007-8 school year.

One unnamed education official says such talk is "a way to crush public education."

How could New Yorkers trust those outsiders?

    Under the new arrangement, the groups would oversee the schools and be held responsible for their results. They would be locked into contract terms and could be fired if student achievement lags.

Compare that to the status quo. For example, good luck firing an incompetent teacher.

    One of the most hotly debated questions is whether the city would hire profit-making companies like Edison Schools Inc., which manages more than 20 schools in Philadelphia and has expressed interest in bidding on a city contract.

More here.

Ted Balaker is Producer


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