by Troy Lambert
Public vs. Private. It’s a healthy debate, and hardly a new one. Once side seems to declare the private sector, driven by competition and the desire to make a profit, often does better than the government, whether it be federal, state, or local, in providing certain services. True, government is often filled with tenured politicians and contractors, the system fraught with waste, and filled with redundancy and inefficiency. But there are some things we can do better corporately rather than individually, when the good of many is prioritized over the profit of a few.
We saw this with the privatized prison and CCA right here in Idaho. It seems like a no-brainer that turning over the prison to a company who has an interest in occupancy rates, much like a hotel, would result in some injustice. We would like to think all men are noble, and perhaps they are most of the time, but corporations are not people, contrary to recent popular rhetoric. Corporations are about one thing: profit. If they are publically traded, shareholders are often demanding. The dollar rules, and in that, the commodity (in this case, people-prisoners or inmates) suffers. Quality declines when in this case, the consumer (the state) also has an interest in saving money over “quality of care.”
So how does this relate to public vs. private education? It’s an area we need to explore. As federal funding shrinks, and state and local funding follows suit, the burden falls to local taxation. Anyone who thinks the levy debate is over is sadly mistaken. We’ve simply delayed it another two years. So what will the district budget look like by then? What if we just don’t pass another one, and drastically cut school funding?
Over the next few months, now that school has started, I plan to write a series of articles to tackle this all-important question, and one we may have to answer sooner rather than later.
What would your community look like without public schools? Is that the direction we want to head? Stay tuned for more opinion on this argument.