How dare The Ohio Virtual Academy do a better job for less cost?

Joseph at Plunderbund sure does have a problem with a charter school making a profit and (*gasp*) paying its teachers less than teachers at public schools.

The education of our state’s children in the hands of a for-profit corporation- obligated NOT to the best interests of OUR CHILDREN but the best interests of THEIR STOCKHOLDERS!
This means the company’s primary goal is to make money- not to educate our kids. And they do this by spending less money on students and by paying their teachers…

Socialists like Joseph can be so stubbornly ignorant. If the facts don’t fit their preferred narrative (“Powerful teachers’ unions and huge education expenditures make for better educated kids!”), they throw temper tantrums about mean corporate interests and their dirty-greedy-money-grubbing-child-hating-wingnut-fascist shareholders.
Allow me to outline the profit motive for Joseph in simple terms, because he obviously hasn’t got a clue about this. To serve its shareholders the school must maximize profits. It does this by maximizing revenue and minimizing expenses. Here’s how that works.
Revenue

  • To maximize revenue (tuition) the school must keep its customers happy.
  • Its customers are happy when the quality of their children’s education exceeds that available in the public schools.
  • If the school charges more for an education than the parents think it’s worth, they’ll pull their kids out.
  • Therefore the school has an incentive to provide a better education than the public schools offer, and at a reasonable price.

Expenses

  • To minimize expenses, the school will try to reduce overhead and operate efficiently.
  • Among other methods, the school will pay its teachers lower starting salaries than they’d get in a public school.
  • Since teachers are free to seek employment elsewhere, the school must find other ways to make its teaching positions attractive.
  • Apparently the school has found a way to attract teachers with more than just base salary. Perhaps it’s less red tape, a safer and more disciplined classroom environment, merit pay, or some combination of the above.
  • If the school cuts salaries too far, the teachers will leave.
  • Therefore the school has an incentive to treat its teachers well.

Boy, this free market stuff is tricky. Competition sure isn’t neat and orderly, like the typical centrally-planned economy.

5 comments

  1. Joseph

    Check out the word school in the dictionary you will find 23 definitions- none of which include the word ‘revenue’.
    That’s because it is not now- nor has it ever been- the job of our schools to “maximize revenue”- or earn revenue at all.
    Our schools have only one job: to provide a quality education to Ohio’s children. And THAT, my friend, has nothing to do with ‘free markets’- or any markets at all.
    There are certainly some services currently provided by government that can be accomplished better and cheaper by private organizations.
    Unfortunately, education is not one of them.
    [Ed.: Here are the Adequate Yearly Progress (PDF) goals Joseph mentioned in his first comment. More here. Ah … sweet, sweet government regulation …]

  2. Brian, The Squeaky Wheel

    Oh Joseph, where to start with you. Ok, I will start by checking your knowledge:
    Do you have children in one of these school?
    Do you work for one of these schools?
    DO you know anyone that could answer ‘yes’ to any of the above?
    Alright, since I can only guess what your answers are, I will say that my wife teaches for one of the virtual academies. For profit? No, but it is run that way, because, gosh darn, maybe it is a better model than the way government manages money.
    My wife loves it. Yes, less pay, but yes, less hassles, less red tape, more direct participation from both students and parents, and, hold on to your hats for this one, more accountability of teachers, students and parents.
    Parents want to leave public schools that fail to enroll in this sort of charter school. Go figure.
    But never mind, Joseph, I am sure you know better. Well at least you know the NEA and OEA talking points better.

  3. Alo Konsen

    Joseph, you said:

    Our schools have only one job: to provide a quality education to Ohio’s children. And THAT, my friend, has nothing to do with ‘free markets’- or any markets at all.

    Says who? That particular logical fallacy is known as a false dilemma. There are more than two possible outcomes. You seem to think it’s impossible for a private for-profit school to outperform the public schools.

    There are certainly some services currently provided by government that can be accomplished better and cheaper by private organizations.
    Unfortunately, education is not one of them.

    And the reasons you believe this to be true are … ?

  4. Thomas Blumer

    So Joseph, I can expect you to demand the closure of institutions ranging from Little Leprechaun Academy, to St. Xavier, to the Islamic Sunrise Academy, to Harvard. After all, these institutions compete in the private free market. Can’t have that.
    This will ensure that kids get the quality education of Cleveland, Cincy, Dayton, and Columbus schools. Such a deal.
    Govt. schools get revenue all right, and it comes from taxes. Some actually earn it. Too many others squander it with lousy results.
    I’m hoping that you’re a young guy, Joseph, because you have a lot to learn, and you didn’t learn it in school.

  5. Megan Clark

    I found this site while researching this school before enrolling my child and I noticed something you may not have. Ohio Virtual Academy does not charge tuition. They are a public charter school and all materials are free of charge for their students. From what I understand, they even go so far as to pay a portion of each student’s internet connection. That’s a far cry from tuition being their source of revenue.