Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Required reading on education reform

Posted By on Tue, Nov 13, 2012 at 6:23 AM

DIANE RAVITCH
  • DIANE RAVITCH
The New Yorker has a major article out on Diane Ravitch, who's moved from school "reformer" to the soul of the opposition against the billionaires' movement to privatize public education.

Unfortunately, only an abstract is available. I could wish the newly rented Arkansas legislature would get a copy and read it before rubberstamping the Walton/Stephens/Murphy/Hussman lobby's legislative agenda, but no point cluttering up their work with facts on the other side. In short:

Ravitch argues that the reform movement is driven by an exaggerated negative critique of the schools, and that it is mistakenly imposing a free-market ethos of competition on an institution that, if it is to function well, requires coöperation, sharing, and mentoring.

The "reform" movement also - by division of community resources, cream-skimming, playing on prejudice and other means - promotes segregation by class and race, depresses teacher pay, puts publicly financed schools beyond the accountability afforded by democratic oversight and creates a marked divide between winners and losers. Oh, and most of the research shows that, despite some individual examples to the contrary, charter schools generally don't produce better results than conventional public schools among similar populations. I know. Don't confuse Republican legislators with facts.

Maybe the University of Walton in Fayetteville could bring her in for a debate with its Walton-financed "reform" faculty, which, coincidentally, gins out propaganda for the Walton "reform" movement.

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