Privatizing Public Schools: Big Firms Pimp "Failure" to Profit from "Fixing" It
It's tough to narrow this down to just four paragraphs, but it says a lot about the bipartisan attack on our schools, and why politicians insist on "solutions" that do no better and often worse than the existing system.
Can politicians fix something without making the already wealthy even wealthier at the expense of the rest of us?
I am not especially against companies making profits providing the tools teachers need to do their jobs (though I'm getting pretty damn close), but we are getting to the back assward situation where the tool-makers are dictating to the carpenter how many hammers he has to buy and how many whacks with each one he needs to give every nail even though they've never built a house in their lives.
NEW YORK, Aug 1 (Reuters) - The investors gathered in a tony private club in Manhattan were eager to hear about the next big thing, and education consultant Rob Lytle was happy to oblige.
Think about the upcoming rollout of new national academic standards for public schools, he urged the crowd. If they're as rigorous as advertised, a huge number of schools will suddenly look really bad, their students testing way behind in reading and math. They'll want help, quick. And private, for-profit vendors selling lesson plans, educational software and student assessments will be right there to provide it.
The K-12 market is tantalizingly huge: The U.S. spends more than $500 billion a year to educate kids from ages five through 18. The entire education sector, including college and mid-career training, represents nearly 9 percent of U.S. gross domestic product, more than the energy or technology sectors.
In the venture capital world, transactions in the K-12 education sector soared to a record $389 million last year, up from $13 million in 2005. That includes major investments from some of the most respected venture capitalists in Silicon Valley, according to GSV Advisors, an investment firm in Chicago that specializes in education.