The rationale behind the push for privatisation has various elements. For some it is a matter of who controls what happens at schools. Some conservatives say they fear that schools have come to be controlled by a liberal elite of government experts, teachers and intellectuals. They seek to break down the power of this elite and replace it with market forces, which in practice means replacing it with the control of wealthy individuals and corporations. The extent to which this is merely rhetoric on the part of those who propagate such fears is indicated by the fact that many of them have held high level positions in the educational bureaucracy themselves (see table).
Many businesspeople and the groups that support them have an ideological belief that private provision of education would necessarily be superior in terms of quality and efficiency, even though the evidence to support such beliefs is scant. For example the British think tank, the Economic Research Council published a report on “Why Our Schools Should be Privately Financed” that asserted that “[p]rivate schools work better than government schools”.
In the US privatisation proponents have lobbied school districts and state governments intensively and used their powerful political connections to persuade authorities to privatise schools and hand them over to private profit-making companies. In some cases school districts who have been battling to get adequate funding for their schools have done so in the hope that they will no longer be held responsible for poor school performance.
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