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The Good Place: A society to match the scenery (Michael L. Umphrey on gardening, teaching, and neighboring)


The failures of NCLB are blamed on free markets?
   Strange times


Diane Ravitch has a silly post today on the relevance of the business model for the nation’s schools. “As the free market lies in shambles around us, bringing down with it many people’s life savings, I wonder if its advocates in the education arena will stop and reconsider whether they are importing free-market chaos and free-market punishments into the lives of children?”

It doesn’t ring true.

The banking crash is an illustration of the centralized collusion of big business and big government. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mae are Government Sponsored Enterprises and they functioned quite well at transmitting the will of some powerful congressmen into the banking industry, pushing for bad loans that provided political gain. Among Ravitch’s complaints is this: “And, of course, we must measure relentlessly, shaming and humiliating those teachers whose students are not constantly getting ever higher test scores. Test scores, I suppose, are the equivalent of a sales target or profit margins.” But of course, they are no such thing.

They are, rather, corrupted measures imposed by government bureaucrats through NCLB. They are more like the fantasy goals of soviet agriculture imposed by Stalin’s five year plans than they are the measures parents who were free to choose schools and schools that were free to serve a market would create.

We live in increasingly Orwellian times when the absurdities of centralized government are blamed on free markets.

Posted by Michael L Umphrey
  1. You are misrepresenting Ravitch, who doesn’t say a thing about NCLB in her column.

    She looks at the fairly obvious collapse of the banking and investment system, concurs with the widespread opinion that the lack of regulation led to the crisis, and suggests that a similar policy would lead to a similar failure in education.

    NCLB is failing all on its own accord, and doesn’t need theoretical backing to continue to fail in the future.

    And we can find numerous instances of where the failure to regulate private investments in public infrastructure have led to similar failures in the educational system - the fiasco of Edison Schools, for example, the non-performing charter schools, the proliferation of degree mills, and the like.

    Leaving education in the hands of an unregulated free market is tantamount to advocating the collapse of education entirely.

    Posted by Stephen Downes  on  10/14  at  02:30 PM

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