OP-ED

To reduce education costs, privatization is not the answer

Posted

“Rethinking our approach to education,” a Dec. 19 letter from Peter A. Filippi, needs a rebuttal. Mr. Filippi suggests regionalizing and privatizing our public education would save millions of dollars. Mr. Filippi offers some suspect numbers and fails to compare apples to apples.

He suggests Rhode Island's private schools educate students for $14,417 per year and parochial schools approximately $12,000. If Moses Brown, the Lincoln School and Portsmouth Abby are educating students for $14,417, their tuitions of $40,000 and up are uncalled for. The parochial schools have tuitions closer to the average Rhode Island cost per student but the schools are often subsidized with revenue from other sources.

But that is only part of the story. The $17,500 average statewide cost of educating a student includes two significant costs and some associated hidden costs not borne by private or parochial schools. Factored into the Rhode Island average cost are special education and transportation costs.

Special needs students in districts comprise 15 percent to 20 percent of the student population. Special needs costs vary widely across the state but are always considerably higher than “regular” students. Included are the tuition costs for out of district placements and the costs of serving the special needs of these students within the district. These cost skew the average dramatically. Private and parochial schools are not required to educate special needs students. If they do enroll such a student, the public school district is required to provide special needs services for that student. It costs the private school nothing but increases the “average” cost for the district.

Tuitions to private and parochial schools do not include transportation. In fact, public school districts are required to transport private and public school students to schools within their district. So, the average cost of a public school student not only includes the cost of his or her transportation but also the cost of transporting students to private and public schools. Districts are also required to provide textbooks for private and parochial students.

Our public schools are too often bashed by individuals who grasp random numbers and give those numbers meaning way beyond what the numbers actually mean. Privatization is not the answer to reducing education costs. If one thinks privatization is the answer, one should look at the debacle created by privatizing our prisons. Is that what we want to expose our children to?

Joseph H. Crowley is co-author with Albert Colella, Ph.D, of “Poverty & Despair vs. Education & Opportunity.”

Comments

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justanidiot

our kids are in prison now. they are not getting educated, just warehoused.

Friday, December 27, 2019
igor1113

To all comrades of the Deep State whether local, state or federal, use this editorial to justify your new taxation, fees, regulations, permits, gantries, licenses and increases thereof. There will be some in your communities who will catch on to our doings, but they must be marginalized and even criminalized with charges of homophobia and racism. These voices must never be given any respect for their myopic views. Remember, it is we who plow their roads, pick up their children and train them to take their place in our society. It is we who maintain their bridges, parks and schools and it is we who provide for their defense when they are assaulted by criminal elements and foreign powers. It is we who give them permits to build their homes on our land. In spite of their protests of usurpation of powers, it is we who maintain order and allow them to pursue their happiness. This editorial will become especially useful when calls for privatization are heard as an alternate system. Our workforce must never be threatened by such calls as they will cause emotional anxiety and stress at all levels of service. This year we can rejoice as there are calls for increased services from many candidates to higher office as they have proposed new programs, such as universal child care, college education and Medicare and these programs will require funding and that is why this editorial is so useful. Isn’t it wonderful that when they sign their IRS forms that is done so “voluntarily” and says so right on the form! So, comrades, there is no reason to feel anxious about the future of our jobs. Remember to always promote the idea of public service and benefits and never, never entertain thoughts that lead to private anything, especially private property, private schools, privatization etc. The private life is a thing of the past and that word must be expunged from our vocabulary as it makes allowance for the racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, Islamaphobia -- you name it. Comrades, we will build our brave new world step by step and this editorial paves the way.

Thursday, January 2
Wuggly

@justanidiot- I agree.

@Igor1113 Your sarcasm is showing and I am amused.

Saturday, January 11
FormerlyWarwick

The Warwick schools are failing miserably, even the superintendent acknowledges they are in the bottom rankings. This op-Ed is silly - of course change is needed. Schools rank is awful, the teachers union has a strangle hold on the pol’s, the children suffer -or- the most intelligent parents simply move out for their kids sake.

This fact is evidenced by the massive loss in student enrollment. Effective leadership needs to creative effective competition to force teachers to engage and foster better schools. NYC has successfully done that with charter schools. If only we had some empty buildings to offer for this.....hmm. If Catholic schools can educate better for a similar cost, why not allow school choice.

Regionalization is certainly an effect tool. Many states employ this successfully to reduce Admin expense. Leadership needs to promote change thru effective competition - if schools are to improve. Why continue to reward the highest paid teachers for their poor performance?

Monday, January 20