IF YOU’RE INTERESTED IN TRENDS in U.S. education you’ve probably noticed the push, led by politicians and business leaders on the right, to privatize America’s public schools.
The rational for change goes pretty much like this: We have a “school crisis” in America. Based on test scores from the most recent international comparison, U.S. students rank 14th in reading, 17th in science, and 25th in math. Clearly, the schools are failing. This, in turn (or so the right-wing theory goes), is wrecking our economy because U.S. kids can’t compete on a world stage with kids in Finland and Japan and South Korea. The underlying problem, according to the right, is that all our teachers belong to evil unions.
What can we do to fix this mess? We bust all the unions and turn the schools over to business people to be operated with business efficiency. Business methods are always superior to public sector sloth and waste. Government is never a solution. Government is the problem. Businessmen and business-women are innovators, engines of wealth creation.
Business people are our newest national heroes.
WELL THEN, LET’S SEE HOW BUSINESS PEOPLE in other fields are doing and try to get some idea where our schools will be heading. Consider the pharmaceutical companies and their methods as a model. No lazy union members here! Just efficiency and innovation and maybe a little tidy profit in the end.
Oh, and a $3 billion dollar fine for corrupt practices. This week, GlaxoSmithKline, plead guilty to criminal charges, related to illegal promotion of a variety of drugs, including Paxil, a best-selling antidepressant. It was prescribed with increasing regularity, in recent years, for teens and younger children.
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