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On Kosar

Posted By: david gabbard on August 13, 2001
I don't have much time to deal with this, but Kosar's "review" of Ken Saltman's book deserves some attention.

It's good to know that the Hudson Institute is having their interns read Teachers College Record.
Unfortunately, Kosar can't even spell Saltman's name right, much less hide the fact that he has his own ideological ax to grind.

(1) Privatization is at odds with fostering social justice?

Yes. While public institutions are subject to corporate hegemony, they are also subject to public pressure. Our country is only as democratic as we make it. It depends on our level of activism.

On the other hand, private institutions have one central purpose - to increase profit and market share. You'll never get them to change their motives. They are in private hands, and can only be regulated by populist pressure on the government to regulate them. That's why "BIG GOV'T" is so hated by private enterprise. Whatever regulations that corporations may suffer originated in populist movements to defend the public and the environment from the ravages of "the market."

As Saltman's book makes clear, private business is in favor of BIG GOV'T when it serves their interests (i.e., the Pentagon welfare system for high tech industry).

Oh? Show me some research that proves that private organizations are constitutionally incapable of fostering public goals.

What does the constitution have to do with it?

Sometimes corporations do good things, if only to bolster their public image.

Look at the data on Catholic schools- their graduates have high rates of civic awareness and participation.

That's not the kind of privatization Saltman is addressing, and you know it. What a cheap shot!

And what of free schools for the poor? They do exist, and have for centuries. Are they threats to democracy? Hardly.

Get a grip on yourself. Have you ever studied the history of those schools for the poor?

(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?

If schools act as sorting machines, it's because that's what the corporate and other elite interests that pushed them into existence wanted them to do. Anytime the general population has other ideas, like education for critical citizenry, the clamps come down. Read Plato's Republic. All of that Gold-Silver-Bronze business? It's always been the secret to running the republic from the elite perspective. And that's precisely why Saltman's book IS important.

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