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Sounds Like Old Saws...

Posted By: Kevin R Kosar on July 31, 2001
"Saltzman argues that neoliberal privatization, the transfer of public institutions into private hands, is fundamentally at odds with democracy, the development of a critical citizenry, and institutions that foster social justice and equality."

Is there anything new here? Seems like plenty of old left ranting and unsubstatiated assertions.

(1) Privatization is at odds with fostering social justice? Oh? Show me some research that proves that private organizations are constitutionally incapable of fostering public goals. Look at the data on Catholic schools- their graduates have high rates of civic awareness and participation. And what of free schools for the poor? They do exist, and have for centuries. Are they threats to democracy? Hardly.

(2) Privatize a school and suddenly it is incapable of creating a critical citizenry? So silly it isn't even worth comment.

(3) Privatization is at odds with democracy and equality? Where to begin with this claim? Let's turn it around- how often do public schools act a vast sorting machines, channeling children into curricula that are though appropo to their social class, thus reinforcing a stratification of society?

Ultimately, I think most troubling is the totemization of public institutions. This is an enormous problem in American Leftist thinking. It's one thing to believe that government can do some good, it is another to assert that it should hold a monopoly on the education of youth (except for those whose parents have the cash to go elsewhere). That it boils down to is this- If an institution, a school in this case, receives tax dollars, it is somehow presumed more accountable than an organization that does not.

This just isn't factually accurate. What differentiates a teachers union from a cabal of capitalists?
--Both are organized interests;
--Both want to get the best they can for their members (e.g., see the piece in the NYTimes on 07-31-01 that described how Hartford's teachers unions controlled the school board, (and aren't school boards touted by the Left as an example of "democratic governance")?


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 Sounds Like Old Saws... by Kevin R Kosar on July 31, 2001
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