May 3, 2011

Reformers are fine with a certain few being in power until they aren't the reformers in power anymore

Diane Ravitch, a long time public education reformer, is upset in her latest "Outrage of the Week." She posted:
Each week, it is hard to know which of the latest outrages against American public education is the worst.

Perhaps it was the agreement between the Gates Foundation and the Pearson Foundation to write the nation's curriculum. When did we vote to hand over American education to them? Why would we outsource the nation's curriculum to a for-profit publishing and test-making corporation based in London? Does Bill Gates get to write the national curriculum because he is the richest man in America? We know that his foundation is investing heavily in promoting the Common Core standards. Now his foundation will write a K-12 curriculum that will promote online learning and video gaming. That's good for the tech sector, but is it good for our nation's schools? Oh, and one more outrage: The Gates Foundation and the Eli Broad Foundation, both of which maintain the pretense of being Democrats and/or liberals, have given millions to former Florida governor Jeb Bush's foundation, which is promoting vouchers, charters, online learning, test-based accountability, and the whole panoply of corporate reform strategies intended to weaken public education and remove teachers' job protections.
It would seem that she is one reformer who's fine with reforms as long as she's involved in them. She was Assistant Secretary of Education from 1991 to 1993. She's been a supporter of voluntary state and national standards for a long time--just as long as they are on her terms.

Speaking of making money off of public education, she hasn't done badly herself. She was employed by the federal government for a time and she's written and profited off of ten books about public education. Maybe it is time for new Society Shapers to get their turn?

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