Would For-Profit Schools Decrease the Number of Low-Level Readers?

It’s been pointed out time and time again that schools are struggling to get their students reading at grade level. This is of particular concern since it has been discovered that if a student isn’t reading at grade level by third grade they are 4x’s more likely not to graduate from high school. But what can be done to solve this problem? There are several ideas that have been posited, one being that government support for for-profit schools could be the answer to accelerating the process that effective reforms are revealed.

In a recent article, the following positions were made in support of this opinion:

As Silicon Valley blogger Sarah Lacy noted, "I've spoken to many venture capitalists who say they'd love to use technology to change education, but few think they can make money at it."

Washington deems it acceptable to make a profit by reducing greenhouse emissions but not by reducing dropouts.

Ultimately, our public policy should urgently seek to better educate our children by any means necessary. We need to embrace a quality revolution that focuses solely on holding organizations accountable and responsible for improving student outcomes. Those that do should be rewarded and scaled so that we can ensure that students receive the education that they deserve using the entrepreneurial spirit and genius that have made America so great.

Another popular opinion is that the government needs not to support for-profit schools, but to support the educators they themselves hire.

Jon Steward, an unlikely voice for reform, recently said: “I’ve always found with education that individuals are the ones that make the enormous difference. And the more that you are able to empower a great teacher, a great principal, a great superintendent, that can make enormous differences. How do we empower the individuals to have the authority and responsibility to make those changes and not tie them to arbitrary objective realities or goals?”

Here’s a clip from his recent interview with Melody Barnes, one of the chief government officials in regards to education policy:

With few exceptions, every individual that goes into education wants to make a difference, whether in their work in public education or private education. In both of these markets the individuals working on the forefronts have their hands tied with regulations – whether it be standards to abide by or barriers to entry.

Why not capitalize on educators’ passion for helping students by granting them more freedom to do the job they elected to do? Do you think this would raise or lower the number of low-level readers in this country?

1 Comment

  • Leslie

    I think that our system needs to take better care of its educators. The education profession has a high burn-out rate, but is it difficult to see why? Not only is their pay and funds for supplies low, but they also have an seemingly ever-increasing amount of standardized requirements to meet -- requirements that package their students into one standardized clump, instead of allowing for the variations that come with individual students. If we want our teachers to focus on individual students, how can we expect them to do so in a system that is so standardized?

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Dec 21 2011

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