The For-Profit Boogieman


Check it out, he’s even GREEN! What more proof do you need?

(Guest Post by Greg Forster)

OCPA’s Perspective carries my column on the blob’s hypocritical allergy to profit in education:

A typical post from the blog of the Oklahoma Education Association (OEA) provides a window into this mindset. Posted near Christmas, it darkly warns that instead of Santa, a “sinister sleigh” was approaching Oklahoma, “being pulled by those whose intent is to devalue public education and then turn education into for-profit businesses…Alas, their motives are far from good. The bottom line for them is profit. Profit made at the expense of our children’s education.”

The great irony is that this educational blob is itself dependent upon profit in numerous ways. It’s a story as old as history: “It’s different when we do it.” In fact, the problem is not the existence of profit, but how the profit is made and who – government or parents – has the authority to decide when it’s being made at the expense of education.

I go over the various ways in which the teacher and staff unions are dependent on profit, culminating with this:

My favorite example comes from education labor reporter Mike Antonucci. He pointed out that teacher-union conventions – where rhetoric about the evils of profit is always abundant – are in fact a big business. Any large gathering of people is an advertising opportunity, and the unions have never been in the least shy about monetizing that opportunity. Try to reserve an exhibit booth at the next big union convention by paying only what it costs to provide the booth; if they turn you down, ask them how they justify such profiteering!

As always, your comments are welcome!

2 Responses to The For-Profit Boogieman

  1. Teachers Unions are essentially for the profit of Union Officials.

    Rarely if ever have I seen the Union do anything in the least bit helpful if they did not first weigh it on the balance of what is best for senior union officials.

    The little guy , well screw him, as we get his dues anyway.

    WEA = Washington Education Association
    SEA = Seattle Education Association

    I am still trying to figure out:
    (1) how SEA & WEA support of CCSS helped members?
    (2) how SEA support of VAM in evaluations in 2007 helped members?
    (3) how SEA support for Seattle Teacher Residency program helped members?

    Nor did 1,2,3 help students.

  2. “Profit” is a bookkeeping term, the difference between total revenues and total costs. An organization which has no line in its balance sheet for profit must attribute all revenues to costs. This says nothing about the motives of the people in that organization.

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