Just how is Gov. Martinez hurting students?

In today’s Albuquerque Journal, the author argues that “privatization” is hurting New Mexico’s education system. His only actual argument is that “for-profit enterprise reserves some part of each dollar for product development, marketing, promotion, and profit, that private companies are skimming off taxpayer dollars that should go to our children.”

The author is essentially making the argument that monopolies are the most efficient economic model because there is no duplication of resources. After all, education systems already contract with for-profit textbook manufacturers, bus companies, and software providers for a variety of services. If anything, these businesses, operating in more or less competitive markets (especially for software) are far superior in quality and cost to anything that could be developed by governments. These companies produce superior products and services, not in spite of, but actually as a result of the competitive pursuit of profits.

A second undercurrent of the opposition to certain virtual charters and private sector involvement has arisen due to the fact that many of these private-sector providers are from (horrors) outside New Mexico. The view that “all good things come from New Mexico” is powerful among many who use it as a political bludgeon against anyone they oppose. And, while there may be some truth to the fact that our green chiles are the best, it is hard to argue that New Mexico-built automobiles (there are none that I’m aware of) are superior to those from other states.

It makes no economic sense to limit ourselves to providers from any geographic area, especially in the realm of education software. Most of the costs of any school are tied to teachers, not software, and the idea that we should rely on “home grown” products because taxpayer dollars are at stake is just silly and a recipe for disaster. Imagine only “New Mexico made” computers in our classrooms with New Mexico made chalk boards, desks, and textbooks. It’s just DUMB! It is far more important to obtain the best goods and services for our children’s education than it is where the given tool was created.

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8 Replies to “Just how is Gov. Martinez hurting students?”

  1. Typically, RGF makes a narrowly economic argument about the institutional means of delivering education. This approach in itself indicates the reason why privatizing education is bad for education. Education is about a lot more than economics, but the economics-minded simply are unaware of the narrowness of their approach. All they are aware of is the potential for profit. Given that, on average, nationwide, privatized schools do not perform as well as public schools, the “choice” which privatizers urge is between mediocre (i.e., average) and shoddy. “Choice” is just verbal lipstick on the pig of profiteering.

    1. Michael, as usual you don’t understand our position. I don’t care if anyone ever makes a profit on the delivery of education. Profits in a free market simply direct resources and behavior towards more profitable/effective activities. Profits are the major reason why we have IPods today instead of the cell phone bricks of years gone by. Education, on the other hand, has not innovated nearly as much and the quality has failed to improve.

  2. Yes education is about a lot more than economics, hopefully America’s Public School Teacher’s Union will someday learn this bit of wisdom.

    Privatizing education will open the minds of children to a world of choice they are currently denied; why should NM children be denied the right to evolve in the 21st century?

  3. Michael, Why are you so afraid of choice? Why do you support failed government schooling? Why do you like teacher’s unions? Why are you against profit? Why is it that on a national scale charter schools are hugely popular with kid’s parents who are simply fed up with public schools. Your crap does not work.

  4. “for-profit enterprise reserves some part of each dollar for product development, marketing, promotion, and profit, that private companies are skimming off taxpayer dollars that should go to our children.”

    Is he kidding? How much does APS spend on assistant superintendents, curriculum developers and coordinators, and other highly-paid administrative staff for product development (curriculum).

    Has he heard the commercial spots on radio promoting APS? I don’t care if they are funding by the APS Education Foundation – it’s still money they are taking away from the children.

    If you believe this line of thinking and that profit “takes money away from the children”, then shouldn’t we nationalize all companies, hospitals, etc. After all, they “waste” money for product development, marketing and promotion, and profit.

    But we’ve found that doesn’t work haven’t we? Even with all those things, including profit, privatized entities provide a better, higher quality service at a lower cost.

    School choice now!

  5. A lot of New Mexicans distrust any profit-making enterprise because so many of them work for the government and have no no idea how a competitive enterprise works. So they don’t understand private-market concepts of productivity and customer service.

  6. So, Michael, are we to assume that we, as tax payers and contributors to society, shouldn’t be allowed choices?

    Should we trust the public politburo to tell us what is best for all of us? Really?

    Your facts are wrong and your argument is ostrich-minded.

    The facts actually illustrate a more convincing argument to consider the alternatives to NM public education.

    In Southern Dona Ana county, where I live, it was necessary for me to opt for a more expensive alternative for my precious children.

    Make no mistake, there are fabulous educators throughout New Mexico. It’s the system that needs a review and those wonderful outliers need to be compensated handsomely for their unique results. There just aren’t as many as ther should be and they’re efforts are neutered too often.

    Maybe some competition will help to streamline the largess that exists in our system. Then the public option might make deserve consideration.

    Thanks, Michael, for bringing up such a porous argument.

  7. So, Michael, are we to assume that we, as tax payers and contributors to society, shouldn’t be allowed choices?

    Should we trust the public politburo to tell us what is best for all of us? Really?

    Your facts are wrong and your argument is ostrich-minded.

    The facts actually illustrate a more convincing argument to consider the alternatives to NM public education.

    In Southern Dona Ana county, where I live, it was necessary for me to opt for a more expensive alternative for my precious children.

    Make no mistake, there are fabulous educators throughout New Mexico. It’s the system that needs a review and those wonderful outliers need to be compensated handsomely for their unique results. There just aren’t as many as there should be and their efforts are neutered too often.

    Maybe some competition will help to streamline the largess that exists in our system. Then the public option might make deserve consideration.

    Thanks, Michael, for bringing up such a porous argument.

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