Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 5 Share on Twitter Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 4/4/16

The Crisis in Education Is That the Super Wealthy Corporate Education System Wants to Destroy Public Schools

By       (Page 1 of 1 pages) (# of views)   6 comments
Author 501809
Message Diane Ravitch
Become a Fan
  (1 fan)

Reprinted from Alternet

With privatization, the corporate education industry is threatening public schools.


(Image by Photo: Susan Law Cain)   Details   DMCA

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.

Education is in crisis because of the calculated effort to turn it into a business with a bottom line. Schools are closed and opened as though they were chain stores, not community institutions. Teachers are fired based on flawed measures. Disruption is considered a strategy rather than misguided and inhumane policy. Children and educators alike are simply data points, to be manipulated by economists, statisticians, entrepreneurs, and dabblers in policy.

Education has lost its way, lost its purpose, lost its definition. Where once it was about enlightening and empowering young minds with knowledge, exploring new worlds, learning about science and history, and unleashing the imagination of each child, it has become a scripted process of producing test scores that can supply data.

Education is in crisis. And we must organize to resist, to push back, to fight the mechanization of learning, and the standardization of children.

 

Rate It | View Ratings

Diane Ravitch Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines
Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

STAY IN THE KNOW
If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEdNews Newsletter
Name
Email
   (Opens new browser window)
 

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Bernie Sanders on Education

Texas: Senate Leaders Lay Out Plan to Destroy Public Education

Chicago: Would Rahm Emanuel Have Been Re-Elected if Video of Teen Shooting Had Been Released Earlier?

Arne Duncan's Children Will Enroll in Chicago Lab School-- Untouched by The Policies He's Subjected America To

DeVos to Conservative Conference: I Will Replace the Bush-Obama Failed Ideas with My Own Failed Ideas

DeVos Will Roll Back Obama-Era Protections for Victims of Campus Sexual Assault

To View Comments or Join the Conversation: