Who is Behind the Assault on Public Education?

By dianeravitch

Howard Ryan, writing in Monthly Review, analyzes the sources of support for corporate reform and privatization.

Ryan writes:

Over the past three decades, public schools have been the target of a systematic assault and takeover by corporations and private foundations. The endeavor is called “school reform” by its advocates, while critics call it corporate school reform. Finnish educator Pasi Sahlberg has given it the vivid acronym GERM—the global education reform movement. Its basic features are familiar: high-stakes testing; standardized curricula; privatization; and deskilled, high-turnover faculty. In the United States, public schools have become increasingly segregated, destabilized, and defunded, with the hardest hit in low-income communities of color.

Nevertheless, while the political conflicts and social ramifications of the school reform phenomenon are well known, basic questions about the movement remain underexamined. Who really leads it? What are their aims and motives? After briefly taking up the statements of the reformers themselves, I will turn to the views of their progressive opponents, and offer a critique of three influential interpretations of the school reform movement. Finally, I will present my own theory about this movement, its drivers, and its underlying aims…

A large body of research, however, challenges the merits of high-stakes testing and other elements of the corporate school reform package. It is also at least questionable whether the reformers really believe their own statements.

The reformers’ interest in school improvement appears, in a number of ways, to be less than genuine, to mask a different agenda. They prescribe models for mass education that they do not consider suitable for their own children. They sponsor think tanks to produce “junk research” praising their models, while ignoring studies that contradict their models. They insist that full resourcing of schools is unimportant or unrealistic, and that “great teachers” will succeed regardless of school conditions, class …read more

Source: Diane Ravitch Common Core