Remember Reagan’s air traffic controllers? The ones he fired? And the privatizing of our public air waves? And the deregulation of the airline industry? And the abolishing of the interstate commerce division? And the nail in the coffin of Glass-Steagall and the deregulation of the energy business that some have argued led to the near-bankruptcy of California at the hands of Texas? The housing bubble?

There is no shortage of examples of deregulated markets followed by economic and moral crises. The drumbeat of privatization has been steady for more than 30 years now.

But the role government ought to play in saving the hapless among us from some of the more avaricious is debatable, perhaps.

It seems to me that the collective might of the people, in the form of the government, is at its best and most appropriate in protecting our most vulnerable. Our children would qualify as one such constituency. And in particular, their right to a good public education and the means to acquire skills necessary for becoming productive citizens.

How does privatizing our public education system conform to this plan? Diminishing the resources available to children for their education by whipping up a frenzy of schooling “alternatives” doesn’t do it. Destabilizing the world of their schools where teachers are fired and inexperienced replacements are induced to move through the system without forming attachments doesn’t cut it. Replacing a world of knowledge, learning and understanding with rote exercises and test “bubbling” certainly is counter-productive to developing a “life of the mind”.

The history of deregulation in our country has been sad indeed. Mistakes and incompetence are pretty much par for the course in every corner of the universe, every endeavor out there. The important question is not whether problems are rife, but how best to address them. Leaving the chicken coop in the care of a fox has never been a wise move, and handing over our children’s education to the care of people who are neither educators nor concerned with children’s best interest is not either.

Privatizing public education is not in the best interest of the public.