Privatize education and open up the floodgates to education fraud. That is what Mitt Romney wants to do. It is bad enough that Education Secretary Arne Duncan has allowed billions to be spent on charter schools and loans for dubious online degrees; now the Republican presidential candidate has made this a cornerstone of his education plan.
The truth is that government lacks the oversight ability to ensure that basic education — let alone academic excellence — is being provided by charter schools and online providers. At least in the case of online providers, accreditation has been privatized and there are no regulations which regulate the accreditors who provide the green light for the flow of government backed student loans that allow customers to pay their bills.
Before any candidate lays down plans to send taxpayer dollars to the private sector, one thing is clear; there needs to be a clear regulatory and compliance enforcement system to provide standards and sanctions against those that violate them. These days federal dollars are too scarce to waste and the nation’s future depends on a substantive education system.