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[Susan notes: Good for Walt Gardner: Pointing to the evils of marketplace education whenever he sees the possibility (which is often).]

Published in The New Republic

To the editor

Relman's trenchant analysis of the health care system ("The Health of Nations, 3/7) cites critiques that are uncannily similar to those made of the public education system. Both fields are being vigorously promoted as ideal candidates for

an open marketplace to cure their respective ills. In education, this approach takes the form of competition among providers of various curricula, advertising based on standardized test scores, and parental choice of schools. What is downplayed throughout the campaign to commercialize medicine and education is that practitioners in the two professions will be forced to abandon the service ethic that undergirds their decisions to become healers and educators in the first place. The brave new world of economics will also assure that those most in need of quality medical care and quality schooling will be precisely those least likely to receive them.

Walt Gardner

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