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Wed Mar 30, 2016, 10:45 AM

Education in Crisis and the Threat of Privatization

There is a crisis regarding our public schools, but it is not the one you usually read about

by Diane Ravitch

It has become conventional wisdom that “education is in crisis.” I have been asked about this question by many interviewers. They say something like: “Do you think American education is in crisis? What is the cause of the crisis?” And I answer, “Yes, there is a crisis, but it is not the one you have read about. The crisis in education today is an existential threat to the survival of public education. The threat comes from those who unfairly blame the school for social conditions, and then create a false narrative of failure. The real threat is privatization and the loss of a fundamental democratic institution.”

As we have seen again and again, the corporate education industry is eager to break into U.S. public education and turn it into a free marketplace, where they can monetize the schools and be assured of government subsidization. On the whole, these privatized institutions do not produce higher test scores than regular public schools, except for those that cherry-pick their students and exclude the neediest and lowest performing students. The promotion of privatization by philanthropies, by the U.S. Department of Education, by right-wing governors (and a few Democratic governors like Cuomo of New York and Malloy of Connecticut), by the hedge fund industry, and by a burgeoning education equities industry poses a danger to our democracy. In some communities, public schools verge on bankruptcy as charters drain their resources and their best students. Nationwide, charter schools have paved the way for vouchers by making “school choice” non-controversial.

Yes, education is in crisis. The profession of teaching is threatened by the financial powerhouse Teach for America, which sells the bizarre idea that amateurs are more successful than experienced teachers. TFA — and the belief in amateurism — has also facilitated the passage of legislation to strip teachers of basic rights to due process and of salaries tied to experience and credentials.

Education is in crisis because of the explosion of testing and the embrace by government of test scores as both the means and the end of education. The scores are treated as a measure of teacher effectiveness and school effectiveness, when they are in fact a measure of the family income of the students enrolled in the school. The worst consequence of the romance with standardized testing is that children are ranked, sorted, and assigned a value based on scores that are not necessarily scientific or objective. Children thus become instruments, tools, objects, rather than unique human beings, each with his or her own potential.


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Reply Education in Crisis and the Threat of Privatization (Original post)
n2doc Mar 2016 OP
jonno99 Mar 2016 #1
Nay Mar 2016 #2
awoke_in_2003 Mar 2016 #3

Response to n2doc (Original post)

Wed Mar 30, 2016, 10:57 AM

1. One thing I don't see addressed here is the "why" - why does the US rank

well behind other countries?

What are the other countries doing differently that enables their students to excel?

The whole "privatization" scheme is a response to this problem and will continue to be pushed unless or until US public schools make significant gains in this regard.

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Response to jonno99 (Reply #1)

Wed Mar 30, 2016, 12:24 PM

2. Finland's excellent ed system has been extensively studied, as have other ed systems.

There is extensive data on which school systems do well and why. Lack of knowledge is NOT the problem.

What's the problem here? The problem is that corporate interests spend lots of time and money taking over formerly governmental operations all in the name of taking tax money from the taxpayers. Once these entities have bought off a few Congresspeople, paid to have fake 'studies' made on how AWFUL the school system (or prison system, or water system, etc.) is, and then finally convinced the ignorant populace that those programs are all SOSHULISM anyway, the corporations have free rein to run their crappy operations into the ground whilst simultaneously draining every last dime out of every last taxpayer involved. Then they cut and run, claiming that the kids are too stupid or too poor to do anything but pick fruit anyway.

Ask Romney how it's done. That's how he and Bain Capital destroyed healthy businesses and drained them to the last drop. Did you think capitalism wouldn't come for YOU and your pitiful little investments in your kids' educations? There's a reason Matt Taibbi calls these entities a "vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money."

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Response to jonno99 (Reply #1)

Wed Mar 30, 2016, 01:38 PM

3. Because they are purposely


destroying all public works, so private industry can "save" us

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