Education: Does Reform Mean Privatization?

I have been reading a lot lately about the Obama Administration and its pursuit of a Republican-esque agenda of privatization of public sector programs. First, it was HUD public housing (see my post, HUD For Sale,  here), and now, it is public education.

Because I am an independent school district employee and have children who attend public schools, I have found the administration’s desire and burgeoning efforts to privatize education quite alarming.

If you are involved in education, have children who are in school, or are simply concerned about the federal government’s continuing efforts to withdraw from the provision of many of the public programs and services that meet the needs of America’s citizens, you will want to read the articles and watch the video below.

The first article is the one that first made me aware of the fact that the government has set its sights on the privatization of public education. It is entitled “Obama’s Neoliberal Agenda For Education.” It is found in the May-June 2010 edition of the International Socialist Review.

A second article that I found to be very interesting was also found in the May-June edition of ISR. It is entitled “Disaster Education: The Education ‘Shock Doctrine'”.

Next, there is a series of three articles that are taken from a forthcoming book by the title of Education and the Crisis of Public Values. The articles are “Dumbing Down Teachers: Attacking Colleges of Education in the Name of Reform”, “Teachers Without Jobs and Education Without Hope: Beyond Bailouts and the Fetish of the Measurement Trap”, and “Chartering Disaster: Why Duncan’s Corporate-Based Schools Can’t Deliver an Education That Matters”. This series can be found on the truthout website here.

Finally, there was a Democracy Now! interview with former Assistant Secretary of Education Diane Ravitch that helped with my understanding of the efforts to privatize our public schools. The interview was on the March 5, 2010 edition of DN! and is entitled “Leading Education Scholar Diane Ravitch: No Child Left Behind Has Left US Schools with Legacy of ‘Institutional Fraud.” In this interview Ravitch speaks about the Education Department’s policies and agenda that she once promoted. The interview can be found here.

We all want our children to be well-educated and prepared for lives of positive impact on society. We care about their futures. We care about our teachers. We care for students who struggle not only in school, but in their homes and neighborhoods, as well.

What happens with respect to our public schools – whether they remain a public institution or a private, free-market enterprise – will greatly affect the above concerns that we all have.

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One Comment on “Education: Does Reform Mean Privatization?”

  1. Jared Says:

    You may also like Ravitch’s interview with Russ Roberts on EconTalk (here: http://www.econtalk.org/archives/2010/04/ravitch_on_educ.html)

    I teach high-school kids, and I am in favor of the charter movement – a subgenera of school privatization. The political process in our country cannot handle the day-to-day demands faced by individual students & teachers, their communities, and their family situations. For that reason alone, marginal privatization seems like a more robust solution (compared to the current labyrinth of district and state boards) to an otherwise perverse system which favors mediocrity..


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