Antares Rocket, heading to take supplies to the international space station,
built by Orbital Science Corp exploded it made me think about the privatization
of those public institutions created to serve the public good.
a kid my hero was Neil Armstrong and I had dreams of one day flying in space. I
could name all the players and all the missions too. And even though my life
has taken a dramatically different path I have always at least cursory followed
NASA and the space program and felt great regret and trepidation as our leaders
decided to outsource much of the space program to private businesses.
Now have there been failures and tragedies at NASA? Yes including the tragic
death of Christa McAuliffe, who was supposed to be the first teacher in space
but those were tragedies shared by us all and were tragedies that motivated us
to do better.
Where the video of the rocket exploding was spectacular I doubt it stays in
the public conscious for more than a day or two as Orbital Science Corp
collects on its insurance policy.
There is a bigger tragedy here than the explosion and that is when we
outsource our valued public institutions it does us all a disservice by pushing
us farther apart as a society. Those institutions don’t bind us together any
longer and instead they divide us apart.
One could argue that the space program had lost some of its luster over the
last few decades but nobody can argue how much it united the Country in the
sixties and early seventies.
Public schools are the same. Arguably this is the institution that built the
United States into the greatest country in the world. Now like with NASA there
have been hiccups, things the system could have done better but like NASA it
has seen unparalleled successes too.
So when we outsource our kids’ education to charter schools the majority of
whom perform worse than public schools and many of which are little more than
profit centers for their owners it diminishes and separates us all.