Outsourcing Education

Stephanie Simon, writing for Reuters, offers a chilling look at the massive expansion of the involvement of private firms in public education:

The goal: an education revolution in which public schools outsource to private vendors such critical tasks as teaching math, educating disabled students, even writing report cards, said Michael Moe, the founder of GSV.

In the venture capital world, transactions in the K-12 education sector soared to a record $389 million last year, up from $13 million in 2005. That includes major investments from some of the most respected venture capitalists in Silicon Valley, according to GSV Advisors, an investment firm in Chicago that specializes in education.

"It's time," Moe said. "Everybody's excited about it."

He said, as he profited off our children's education and our own naïveté. What's really going on here? Education historian and professor Dianne Ravitch nails it:

"They're taking education, which ought to be in a different sphere where we're constantly concerned about raising quality, and they're applying a business metric: How do we cut costs?" Ravitch said. [...] "This is a new frontier," Ravitch said. "The private equity guys and the hedge fund guys are circling public education."

Some of the products and services offered by private vendors may well be good for kids and schools, Ravitch said. But she has no confidence in their overall quality because "the bottom line is that they're seeking profit first."