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For-Profit Bias Playing Out In Brockton

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A commentary in the Wall Street Journal today, “The Irrational Fear of For-Profits in Education” , could not have come at a better time, as the hearing on the Brockton charter school, run by for-profit provider SABIS, is today in Massachusetts.

The Wall Street Journal piece notes that Americans are fine with privatization in many other areas, like transportation, yet there is an odd bias against for-profits running schools. “Critics charge that for-profits are distracted by the demands of investors, while public systems can focus solely on the children. Yet the vast majority of K-12 spending goes to pay employee benefits and salaries. Meanwhile, school boards and superintendents have accepted crippling benefit obligations and dubious policies to placate employees and community interests.”

The local Massachusetts superintendent, who has been selected as the next state superintendent, falls victim to this bias and has vocally opposed the charter (and was even caught trashing charters on company time). What’s crazy is that SABIS already successfully runs schools elsewhere in The Bay State and is helping “close the achievement gap between its mostly minority student body and white counterparts in the suburbs“.

As the Boston Globe notes, “SABIS has earned the right to expand in Massachusetts” — they should at least be given a fair shot and not be short-changed based on the fact that they operate to make a little change — which according to the academic record here, isn’t just monetary.