I’m sympathetic to the argument that introducing some form of competition to public schools could be beneficial. However, in practice, I don’t see it as the panacea that many do. The main issue for me is that businesses are able to make choices that aren’t open to schools. For example, if a business is unable to compete in a locale, it can choose not to and open an office somewhere else. Or, if a customer group is unprofitable, the business can target that segment for a price increase. These options are not open to public schools.
A Letter to the Editor in today’s Wall Street Journal also made a highly illustrative point:
As a public school teacher, I often muse that if my school ever operated as a business, I would be allowed to return inferior raw materials to their place of origin.