Have you read Reign of Error by Diane Ravitch (2013)? It was quite an eye opening read for me. The beginning chapters demonstrated with charts, data and quotes from speeches and policies how corporations were formed, grew and profited with the comprehensive support of legislators, donations from private funds, corporations, and individuals all in the name of education reform. Powerful rhetoric is used by these groups to sway public opinion and gain market share for the for-profit charter schools, public charter schools and vouchers for private schools. In areas such as large urban school districts where there have been experiments, the charter and private schools drained the typical students from the public schools which were left with the low income and disabled students and as a result many public schools have closed.
Each claim by politicians and pundits such as plummeting test scores, decreasing high school graduation rates, worsening achievement gap, ineffective teaching, failing schools, etc. are thoroughly refuted with explicit evidence. Just when I was thoroughly depressed, though, she elucidated solutions. They included good prenatal care, high quality early childhood education, full and balanced curriculum, small class sizes, etc. Before I read this book I was unaware of the extent of political and corporate participation in education “reform”. I feel that I now have the “big picture” of the state of public education for the past 30 years.
This book was at my local library. Have you read it yet? What’s your opinion? Send to firstname.lastname@example.org.