Err, what?

With so many not-for-profit organisations willing to get involved in running schools in England, the IPPR says there are “no innovation grounds” for allowing for-profit schools.

Innovation is coming up with new ways to do things. Since we don\’t know what those new ways to do things are yet, because they\’re new ways to do things that we don\’t know about yet, how can a group of clipboard wielders declare that the new ways of doing things that we don\’t know about yet won\’t be worth it when we have figured out the new ways to do things and observed their impact?



14 thoughts on “Err, what?”

  1. We need for-profit schools so that successful innovators get their due reward and at the same time the resources to expand, take over assets owned by less successful rivals and thereby transform the sector. The extensive experience of existing private schools – largely non-profit, is that even when they are very successful they are deeply reluctant to build on success by expanding. And why should they ? The rewards do not match the risks.

  2. The report does not even look at ‘English’ schools.
    They ‘reviewed international evidence’ and concluded something or another, I couldn’t waste any more time on it.

  3. @Robbo, private schools don’t expand for the same reason Ferrari doesn’t ramp up production. The bait is exclusivity, not necessarily a better product.

  4. ““… how can a group of clipboard wielders declare …”

    Because it’s a political decision, not a rational one.

  5. @JamesV – if you think Ferraria (or private schools) don’t provide a better product, then I have a nice bridge you might be interested in.

  6. @Andrew Duffin, this is why we have weasel words such as “necessarily”. Suitability of product is also dependent on the purchaser, and while Ferrari do indeed make some very fine cars they do not have a product suitable for the majority of car buyers.

  7. I’m inclined to be with JamesV on this. I’ve never seen evidence that, controlling for the socio-economic class of the in-take, private schools provide a better education academically.
    See for a survey of findings that they don’t, with the exception of Jesuit-run schools, which the report notes are rare.
    Admittedly it’s a US-based result, but if UK research found that British private schools were doing better after controlling for socio-economic background I’d expect British private schools to be shouting it from the rooftops.

  8. Even if for-profits do not necessarily provide a better education, in what reality is this a good enough reason to ban them? You don’t outlaw things because they provide no proven benefits, you outlaw them if they actively cause problems by existing.

  9. you outlaw them if they actively cause problems by existing.

    The mere possibility of their existence causes angst, possibly terminal melancholia, amongst those privately educated members of the progressive illiberality who see their privileged position in society being adulterated by people who have actually had to work to get where they are …

    Or something like that ;D

  10. Indeed the comparison is apt. If you’ve ever been to a motor show (and I’ve only been to a couple) you’ll know it’s Ferrari who decide if they’ll let you look at their cars – for every other manufacturer you can decide if you want to look and the salesman is optional. Private schools on the whole, select, and that process in itself can make them look good. If all schools were private at least that part of the advantage would be lost.

  11. Lots of people might be able to afford a private education if they weren’t having to pay for a public one for their kids and everybuggar else’s kids and all the other substandard crap “provided” by the scum of the state.

    Also, private schools that don’t have good standards might well get a visit from their customers–the parents-to say 1–The kid and the money is going elsewhere and 2- We will tell everybody we meet that your school is rubbish. That might have some effect if even a few parents did the same. Try that at parents night at a state school. You will have grown old and grey before they stop laughing because, although you do pay, your name is not on the cheque for their wages.

  12. @Mr Ecks, sure they would, but an awful lot of people wouldn’t be able to afford any education at all. Yet more would simply not bother paying for it. And we know that, as bad as taxation is, there are badder things, among those having lots of entirely uneducated people (yes that is indeed worse than having lots of poorly educated people).

    No reason of course that provision cannot be private within a state-funded system, as I believe Tim has argued.

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