Jefferson and Education

Stephen Downes, Jun 03, 2002
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Short article in which I criticize Bob Heterick's recent article in Learning Marketplace. Heterick suggests that Thomas Jefferson would find much to recommend the privatization of education. On the contrary, I argue, it is likely Jefferson would oppose such plans. The effort to privatize learning faces some significant objections: a priovate system is not likely to achieve the sorts of social objectives Jefferson lists for a public education system, and as recent experience with private enterprise in other areas suggests, regulation will not provide any easy resolution of these issues.
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