AFT suggests LBO for Public Schools


(Guest Post by Matthew Ladner)

Leo over at EdWize (the AFT blog) has posed the question: “When you have spent that last decade telling everyone who would listen that public schools should be for sale, on what grounds do you complain about someone who would sell a Senate seat to the highest bidder?”

Leo has a different recollection of my past decade than I do, as I don’t remember ever telling anyone that public schools ought to be for sale, much less doing it constantly. Never mind that however, I think that Leo is on to something here. The prime targets for leveraged buyouts are companies whose stock valuation falls below the value of their assets. This of course only occurs through gross mismanagement, where companies become worth less than the stuff they have lying around. The management of such companies should be seen at best as incompetent, and at worst as rent-seeking leeches drawing paychecks while destroying value.

Many American school districts likely fall squarely into just such a state of mismanagement- taking $10,000 per year per student, but failing to teach 36% of 4th graders how to read, and failing to get half of African American and Hispanic student to graduate from high school. These are simply averages, and obviously many districts contribute far more than others.

Leo, you are a genius. We can put together a LLC to do the LBOs once the credit crunch ends. Who could be better at defeating the poison pill strategies of the leeches than a former AFT guy?

Leo, you do not yet realize your importance: with our combined power, we can destroy the leeches- they have foreseen this. Join me, and we can put an end to this destructive conflict, and bring learning, order and profit to the nation’s schools.

It is your destiny.

6 Responses to AFT suggests LBO for Public Schools

  1. This is great. Actually, I think the appropriate analogy between education and Blagojevich would be if public school officials sold off grades or the furniture. The problem with what Blagojevich did is that he sold something that he didn’t own. The ability to appoint senators is a power he holds in trust from the voters. The voters own the power, not the elected officials. Similarly, teachers have the ability to assign grades in trust from whoever owns the school. It is not theirs to sell.

    And this raises another point. Public schools are already being sold. Tax dollars buy everything at public schools. The problem is that the buyer of public school services is compelled to make that purchase. Supporters of choice simply want consumers to have the option to purchase services elsewhere if they prefer.

  2. matthewladner says:

    Oh, you mean like corrupt school board members selling principal jobs, right?

  3. Jeanne Allen says:

    Luke, you surprise me. Leo could never join the force. There is no guarantee of tenure and it’s all based on merit!

    While your take on Chicago is on point, check out ours at With a potential Chicago appointment to Ed Secretary pending, there is much to ponder.

  4. matthewladner says:

    Interesting post Jeanne- I’m with you that some reform is better than none, but we need lots of it.

  5. Patrick says:

    I’ve always thought auctioning off public schools and their property would be a great idea. Let them convert to private schools or charter schools or whatever the buyer wanted them to be.

    We can do the sale in the summer months while the kids are on vacation and while the teachers are doing their required teacher courses that the unions themselves teach in exchange for more money from the state.

  6. matthewladner says:

    I believe that public schools are a permanent feature of American K-12 education, but hopefully dysfunctional public schooling will not be.

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