Monday, April 04, 2005

Ignorance is profitable

Bad schools begat No Child Left Behind and No Child Left Behind begat a $2 billion tutoring business. Thanks to the new legislation, kids in failing schools are now eligible for free, federally funded tutoring and -- presto -- a booming new industry has been born. But the competition for students (and their funds) is fierce; to get kids to sign up, private tutoring companies offer free computers and basketball tickets. Must be a pretty good profit margin if you can afford an acquisition campaign complete with giveaways.

Notice that nowhere in this story is there an incentive for actual success. No reward to the student for improving performance, no reward to the tutor based on improved student performance and nothing at all to fix the school. Would you consider that a glitch?

In other education/business news, expect a good year for manufacturers of purple ink.

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