The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Schools for Profit, Not for Education

Jul 24, 2006

Three elementary schools in Baltimore, Maryland, run by the for-profit company Edison, have released their latest test scores. Students at these three schools did worse than students at comparable Baltimore city schools for 2005.

Making matters worse, while test scores in city schools went up slightly, test scores at Edison dropped dramatically–more than 20% overall, in reading and math and among both third graders and sixth graders. Edison says it can’t explain such an unusual drop in test scores. Could it be there was some maneuvering on test scores the year before, in order to report higher than usual scores?

Whatever the reason for the drop from 2004 to 2005, the Edison school results are no surprise. National results in study after study have shown similar test results to these in Baltimore.

Of course, good results on a test don’t prove that children are really getting an education. But bad results on basic math and language tests certainly point to big problems!

Private and charter schools are hyped as the solution to educational problems. Parents hope these alternative schools will provide what the public school system often cannot: better results. It doesn’t happen that way. And especially not when school systems give contracts to profits or charters. That is money taken away from the public schools in order to give profits to Edison and others like it.

We won’t have a decent education for children until more money is spent–on smaller class sizes, on higher pay for more qualified teachers, on the latest books and computers and resources.