Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Free Market Good: Regulation Bad

The No Child Left Behind law requires failing schools and school districts to provide tutoring free of charge to their students. The Bush Administration has decided that the companies providing the tutoring will not be regulated because, in the words of Michael Petrilli, a federal Education Department official, "We want as little regulation as possible so the law can be as vibrant as possible."


Fresh from providing unregulated reconstruction of Iraq (Hey, who wouldn't pay $27.5 million dollars for $82,100 dollars worth of fuel in a war zone?), the Bush Administration wants to make sure every shyster, con man, and Tom Delay associate can make a quick buck off NCLB I while still ensuring that nearly every public school in the nation is declared "failing" by 2015. To this end, lots of shady companies have been incorporated to join such tutoring stalwarts as Princeton Review and Kaplan in providing tutoring for children who attend failing schools. So what if many of the tutors aren't qualified to tutor in their subjects? So what if some of the tutors don't show up? So what if the tutors "aren't familiar with the schools, the students or the curriculum"? So what if some of the tutoring companies are bribing state officials to get on the "State Tutoring List"?

So what? This is about free-market principles, dammit!

Ah, but even one of the writers of NCLB, Representative George Miller (D-CA) finds the deregulated tutoring apparatus unseemly. He says "History says, when you put this kind of money on the street, you get a lot of suede-shoe operators."

Indeed. Lots of 'em. In fact, Neil Bush, brother of our current President George W. and our future President Jeb, is one of them. He runs an education company set up to provide tutoring under the NCLB guidelines.

I don't know how shady Neil's shoe operation is, but I bet it would be fun to look into. I wish the press wasn't so busy looking into the Tom Delay thing (which apparently has been going on for ten years). But you know, these things take time to check into.

So many potential Republican scandals, so little time to investigate...

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