I’ve often pointed out that just because the government provides services doesn’t mean the government has to produce all of them. For example, Medicaid patients can go to private hospitals. Food-stamp recipients shop at privately owned grocery stores. The government doesn’t build its own tanks and bombers.
The same is true in the government’s provision of K-12 education. Look no further than the Oklahoma City school board meeting of July 1.
In addition to approving $90,000 worth of Blue Bell “ice cream/novelties” (thank God the government isn’t in the ice-cream business!), consider some of the other items the school board outsourced to private firms. Here’s a partial list of services: custodial; architectural and engineering; plumbing repair; electrical repair; security; transportation management; graffiti removal; radio repair; asbestos and lead abatement; backhoe and dozer; graphics and publication; hardware and software maintenance; and waste management.
The school board also approved the purchase—again, from private firms—of temporary labor services, legal work from $150/hour attorneys, and “education management” services (to negotiate with the school-employee labor unions). The district contracted out for LPN (licensed professional nurse) services, library media services, and test-creation services.
All these services and more—and these from just one school board meeting—paid for by the taxpayers but performed by private firms.
Unfortunately, the most important service of all—teaching—is still performed almost exclusively by unionized government employees. It’s time to start privatizing some reading and math lessons.