Monday, January 27, 2003

No kidding

You may think I was just joking about the return of child labor.

Not really. Y'see, hand in hand with all those folks agitating for the demise of public schools is a passel of right-wingers who are arguing simultaneously for privately owned schools. It's all about the magic of the marketplace and how much better and more efficiently private enterprise can operate, dontcha know.

Problem is, the people who have tried to get into the private-school business have found that, well, it isn't quite so easy or magical after all. Take, for instance, the leading company in this arena: Edison Schools Inc., whose stock is now trading for around $1.27, just a tad off its high two years ago of $33. Truth is, they're about to go belly-up -- and in fact were they not so incredibly well connected politically, they probably would have disappeared some time ago.

Well, care to guess how they hope to maybe balance their budgets? That's right: Put the little buggers to work!

Edison founder has work-study idea

In reported remarks, Whittle suggested that students could work in school offices or on technology systems, giving them a better educational experience and, in the process, saving the schools some money.


"He [Whittle] thinks we should think about... having kids experience work within the context of school," Tucker said. "There's lots of research about how to give kids more responsibility. He thinks Edison schools need to think more about creating experiential learning, create real work experiences for kids."

Sure. And if they happen to be in the vicinity of some coal mines, well, hey ...

Recommended reading: Big Trouble, by J. Anthony Lukas.

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