California is one of the richest states in the nation but spends about the same on its students as states like Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana and South Carolina, where the cost of living is far less than in California.
Wanted: Black College Students (just not at our college). Diane Ravitch’s Power Elitists. An inconvenient truth for LAUSD.
The 25-year experiment with charter schools has been a failure, former Assistant Secretary of Education Diane Ravitch said this week at the annual conference of the Network for Public Education.
The nomination of Californian Ted Mitchell to the number two position at the U.S. Department of Education is the latest indication that proponents of school privatization are continuing to gain influence over the Obama administration’s education policy.
“He represents the quintessence of the privatization movement,” Diane Ravitch, an education historian and former Assistant Secretary of Education under President George H.W. Bush, tells Capital & Main. “This is a signal the Obama administration is committed to moving forward aggressively with transferring public funds to private hands.”
In education “privatization” refers to the contracting out of traditional public education services to for-profit companies or to charter schools that are set up as nonprofit organizations. In many ways, the Mitchell nomination reflects the ongoing battle being fought in Washington and in school districts across the country. It’s a battle that pits the views of teachers, their unions and community groups against a movement that is backed by wealthy philanthropists and corporations.
“Sometimes it seems that eliminating public education itself is the goal of this reform era,” Diane Ravitch told a cheering crowd of public school teachers and education activists who had packed Occidental College’s Thorne Hall Tuesday night.
The audience had come to hear the 75-year-old scholar, author and former Assistant Secretary of Education drive home her message that, contrary to the dire narrative now being sold to Americans by proponents of school privatization, the nation’s public education system is not broken.
Ravitch, who might have been mistaken for the latest college-radio rock sensation rather than the country’s preeminent critic of the education-reform movement, was here as part of a Los Angeles leg of a whirlwind tour to promote the publication of her latest book — and New York Times Best Seller— Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Schools (Knopf).