- Posted January 28, 2014 by
Watertown, New York
This iReport is part of an assignment:
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Education's Solution is 'Incentive' Not Privatization and Charter Schools
Recent education studies point to the United States and say our kids are falling behind in math and reading while countries like Japan and Germany do more to prepare their children to compete.
The United States spends more on our education system per child than any other country.
So why doesn't spending more give us better results?
The answer many conservatives have is "privatization" - charter schools.
Some believe that the private sector actually does a better job of delivering any service to all of us.
But as we saw during the Christmas holidays, UPS and FedEx didn't do better than the United States Postal Service in delivering packages in a timely way.
The private sector has failed repeatedly in many areas that conservatives have touted them as having done better than government in delivering services and products.
Privatization started creeping in around 1976 – the contracting out of government work to private companies – started on a small scale.
Democrats used to defend public workers against privatization.
But today’s Democrats are leading the privatization charge.
"The era of big government is over," Bill Clinton declared over and over on his way to the presidency.
That’s one campaign pledge Clinton fulfilled:
By the time he left office, the federal government had shrunk by over 300,000 jobs.
So privatization is not being done nor advocated just by Republicans.
Privatization is huge at the state, county and local level too.
73 percent of local governments now use private janitorial services. 54 percent use private garbage collectors.
Our government is privatizing everything from prison administration to welfare programs and now schools.
Now Congress is considering legislation that would open up a wide new swath of government jobs to privatization.
"Over the past seventeen years, federal agencies have been run by political appointees who have been more open to contracting out and privatization than all of their predecessors combined, "AFGE president Bobby Harnage told a Senate subcommittee.
"The profound contempt of most Reagan-Bush administration political appointees for the public sector was matched only by their deep reverence towards the private sector.
And Clinton administration political appointees were even more pro-privatization, having consistently racked up the biggest service contracting bills of all time."
Obama continues his predecessors' legacy in privatization.
The federal government, says AFGE, now spends $120 billion a year on private contractors – more than its $108 billion payroll for regular employees.
Fueling the privatization frenzy are those old, familiar mantras:
"The private sector is more efficient than the public sector."
"The private sector can get the work done more cheaply."
"Government is full of corruption and waste."
And even, "Government workers are lazy."
These are all good excuses when you would like to convince the public that their hard-earned tax dollars should be spent enriching Congress's campaign donors.
Of course, our media is complicit in the corporate message.
Our Representatives brag about how much they have cut government workers by giving the work to private companies who pay less in wages and give fewer benefits.
"Former Vice President Al Gore had said, "The government workforce as a percentage of the civilian workforce is now smaller than it has been since 1933." Gore claimed much of the credit as head of the "Reinventing Government" initiative the administration launched back in 1993 while Clinton was President.
President Obama has bragged that his administration has the lowest discretionary spending since the 1950s!
Is this something to be proud of when you accomplish this by signing bills that cut social programs and services that are designed to help the working class?
Privatizing education is not the answer if we want to help our children get a better education.
We need to give our children the incentive they need to want to do better.
How do we do that?
We can offer them the opportunity to find a meaningful, good paying job when they leave college.
Our kids see what we have for an economy.
Our government's policies reward companies for outsourcing good paying jobs to slave labor colonies of the United States.
There are no penalties for manufacturing goods overseas for companies that import these products back into the United States.
The majority of members of Congress choose to ignore the evidence of damage to our economy for what privatization and outsourcing has done to the middle class job market and consequently, our lives.
Lobbyists are so strong from the Chamber of Commerce and the business community and the military contractors, Congress puts their own re-election interests ahead of their constituents' interests.
Special interest groups all put big bucks into congressional campaigns – both the Democrats and Republicans."
It’s not just that private companies have higher administrative costs.
They have to squeeze a decent profit out of the job as well.
After all, that’s what private companies are all about – even if the work they’re doing is for the public.
And so every year, U.S. taxpayers are making direct payouts to insure the profitability of some of the world’s biggest corporations.
And we’re also paying to insure that top company executives can continue to live in the style to which they’ve become accustomed.
Because they contribute to Congressmen's campaigns.
Privatization of schools is no different.
Charter schools aren't the answer unless you're a charter school. Then, you're all for privatizing public education.
But our kids aren't going to get a better education.
Privatization will do two things to make the profits they hope to make:
1. Charter schools will cut teacher's salaries and benefits.
We'll get less qualified teachers because of low pay.
2. Our kids will be offered less choices in their
curriculum because of cost considerations.
Will music , art and physical education and sports be offered?
The answer to our education challenges in America is to create opportunities for good paying, rewarding careers like we had when the middle class was thriving in the 50s and 60s.
The solution to our education problem is simple.
Give our children the incentive and opportunity, and watch them create their own World.
Quotes from the article:
"No. The private sector doesn't do it better"