Friday, November 15, 2013

School Reform as Feudalism

Henry Farrell:

The cosy relationship between corporations like CGI Federal and Booz Allen and the government bears a strong resemblance to feudalism (which, stripped of the pageantry, was a complex web of relations and privileges between a small and privileged elite of nobles and the state). It bears an even stronger resemblance to Old Corruption, the strangling web of sinecures and emoluments that radicals like William Cobbett inveighed against in the early nineteenth century. Government – even at the best of times – has many clunky and inefficient features (the American version particularly so – many of the worst inflexibilities of the US government have their origins in people’s distrust of it). Yet the replacement of large swathes of government with a plethora of impenetrable subcontracting relationships is arguably even worse – it has neither the efficiencies (sometimes) achieved by markets, nor the accountability (sometimes) achieved by democratic oversight.

Combine this with pension-raiding and you've got at least 80% of the motivation for contemporary school reform.

Look at Blackstone Valley Prep. If Dan McKee named himself Duke McKee, Lord of Blackstone Valley Prep, how would that be any different? He can be voted out of the Mayor's office, but he's not going to be voted out of his Mayoral Academy. It is his publicly funded fiefdom for life. Unless the other lords turn against him, ofc.

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