"The push to privatize has alarmed some parents and teachers, as well as union leaders who fear their members will lose their jobs or their autonomy in the classroom."
Let's be honest, shall we? Teachers have already lost their autonomy in the classroom, and many have lost their jobs.
Tuesday's article in HuffPo on privatizing education has some very valid points, not the least of which being that if money is the object then little consideration will be given to the students behind the dollar signs.
But truly this is happening already. The Common Core Standards came out just after all elements of NCLB were implemented; these "new" standards now require new textbooks and other materials, and since most public schools are allergic to dropping traditional methods of instructional delivery (don't throw out those textbooks!), Pearson, M-Hill and other textbook publishers stand to make a ton of cash in the next five years. Then, mark my words, some other "new" idea will arise, necessitating a repeat of the cycle (and more filthy lucre for the companies that could not care less about your kid).
The time is ripe for new ideas in schooling, that much is correct in the article. But prior to making changes in what we do in education, we need to reinvent how we think about education. The way we think about school is antiquated and ineffective; our mental models of lockstepping kids in age bands towards a universal diploma are no longer working for the real world OR the intellectual world (please refer to the staggering number of kids taking remedial classes in college prior to taking classes for credit. Please also refer to the staggering number of jobs going unfilled in America because there are no skilled workers to fill them.).
In the end, it matters not a whit who does the job if the job is done well. We need to remember that students should be at the center of every decision, and neither side of this argument seems to be able to keep this in perspective. As of this blogging, is all about who is right, and students are the losers in this contest.