A few recent items that appeared in In the Public Interest’s Privatization Report, a weekly newsletter featuring a broad scan of privatization-related news (sign up here to subscribe), remind us the privatization of education takes many forms.
The Network for Public Education is asking people to weigh in against a national tax-credit voucher bill called the Educational Choice for Children Act (ECCA), which would open the door to national federal school vouchers. The ECCA would give tax credits to individuals and corporations who donate to tax-exempt organizations that provide scholarships to K-12 students to attend private schools. Donors could receive up to a $5,000 tax credit, potentially draining our national treasury of up to ten billion dollars this year.” Ads supporting the legislation are being pushed by the Invest in Education Coalition, a “coalition” that appears to have no members, just three board directors.
The Partnership for the Future of Learning, a national resource center defending public schools, has produced a Truth in Education Funding Guide, which “offers key resources to understand the controversy surrounding vouchers and advocate for equitable and effective public education.”
Republican extremist state rep Alex Andrade of Florida, where over half of the charter schools are run by for-profits, has proposed an omnibus privatization bill for the state’s public schools. ‘Conversion Charter Schools’ (HB 109/SB 246) require only the approval of the majority of parents—not also the majority of teachers employed there—for a school to convert to a charter. The Tallahassee Democrat reports the bill also states if a school district has declining enrollment of more than 1% for two consecutive years, vacant buildings must be offered to charter schools.
In Minnesota, Barnum school district bus drivers are pushing back on proposals to sell the district’s bus fleet and contract bus services as a response to a critical driver shortage. In Maryland, the Maryland State Education Association (MSEA) is fighting the privatization of school support staff jobs.
In the Public Interest has researched and written about vouchers, charters, and school support jobs for many years, including a number of times in the recent past:
- The Fiscal Impact of Charter Schools on Other Schools
- Real Estate and Charter Schools: A Growing Industrial Complex
- Defunding Public Schools Defunds Democracy: Voucher legislation in Florida and other states puts the education of our nation’s children at risk
- You Get What You Pay For: As Ohio makes its voucher program universal, the schools receiving taxpayer funds get comfortable with their discriminatory policies
- School vouchers are a ‘slow coup’ of public education
- Charters, vouchers bleed traditional public school districts
- School Support Services Outsourcing: The Original Privatization of Education
A functioning democracy requires an educated population. Every effort to undermine public education also undermines democracy. That’s why fighting against the privatization of education has been among the top priorities of In the Public Interest from the beginning.