Privatization and Public Education

British Columbians and Canadians enjoy a quality of life that is dependent on quality public services. Public services are accessible, accountable, locally-controlled and a good investment of tax dollars. Public schools are one of those services. When privatization creeps into education, sometimes under the umbrella of educational reform, schooling becomes a political tool, accountability is weakened, and public funds and values are diverted to corporate profits.

To be clear, IPE/BC is critical of privatization. Our task is to make clear how and where privatization is taking hold within public education and to offer a pro-public education alternative. Understandably sometimes public education needs to be improved to deserve being preserved; that too is our goal.

IPE/BC is currently researching the issue of privatization and will be releasing a series of occasional papers on various aspects of privatization in education.

The Many Faces of Privatization, IPE/BC Occasional Paper No. 1

Public funding for private schools may be the most obvious way public education in British Columbia is being privatized, but there are other less obvious privatizing strategies at work. This is a background paper that offers analysis of 1) the common neoliberal narrative that legitimize and promote privatization thus drawing the public into a manufactured consent of privatization and 2) specific contexts in which this privatization in manifest, such as personalized learning (especially with technology), choice programs, school fees and fund raising, business principles of school administration, corporate sponsorships, fee paying international students, and publicly funded private schools.