Thanks to Chris Guerrieri, from Education Matters, for picking up the following:
|Huck/Konopacki Labor Cartoons|
The Privitization of Education Speeds Up
by Andy Kroll
In Michigan, a state perennially crippled by budget deficits, public school districts across the state have already outsourced their bus drivers, cafeteria workers, sports coaches, and janitors to try and save money. Now Republicans in Michigan's state Legislature want to take the outsourcing frenzy one giant leap forward by privatizing public school teaching.
Michigan Republican Sen. Phil Pavlov, who chairs the state Senate's education committee, is preparing legislation that would allow public school districts to hire teachers through private, for-profit companies. Privatizing the hiring process would presumably allow school districts to bypass compensation packages sought by teachers unions and let private companies compete for contracts with districts.
Pavlov didn't respond to a request for comment on the teacher privatization plan. But Pavlov has publicly described his plan, which he said was still in the works, this way: "I look at it as offering options. If there is something out there that can offer school officials the same options at a lower cost, schools need to take a look at that. It needs to [be] part of the conversation on reform."
The Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals (MASSP) says that teachers from private companies would be required to have the same credentials as existing public school teachers. Public school districts, MASSP notes, would begin soliciting bids from private "instructional services" companies once existing teacher contracts had expired.
Michigan Education Association spokesman Doug Pratt says Pavlov's plan is a "terrible idea" that would erode the quality of public school teaching because districts will look for the lowest bidder, not the best teachers. "Instead of having teachers who care about their students learning and their personal growth as their top priorities, the corporation's bottom line would be what they care about most." Pratt also claimed this is a way to kneecap teachers' unions in Michigan. "Privatization is a type of union busting," he says.
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