by Paul Buchheit, mirrored from CommonDreams
Free-market capitalists view education in terms of products and profits. The products, to them, are our children. The profits go to savvy businesspeople who use a “freedom to choose” rallying cry to convince parents that they’re somehow being cheated by an equal-opportunity public school system.
Education reformers focus on privatization, public program cutbacks, and plenty of revenue-producing testing. There are at least five truths about education reform that suggest ignorance or delusion among its adherents.
1. Privatized Education Steals from the Poor, Gives to the Rich
Eva Moskowitz makes $72 per student as CEO of the private Success Academy in New York City.
Carmen Farina makes 19 cents per student as Chancellor of New York City Public Schools.
A McKinsey report estimates that education can be a $1.1 trillion business in the United States. Forbes notes: “The charter school movement [is] quickly becoming a backdoor for corporate profit.” The big-money people are ready to pounce, like Rupert Murdoch, who called K-12 “a $500 billion sector in the U.S. alone that is waiting desperately to be transformed.”
Meanwhile, Head Start was recently hit with the worst cutbacks in its history. Arts funding overall is lower than ever, with a National Endowment for the Arts budget barely accounting for 2 percent of the National Science Foundation budget. Spending on K-12 public school students fell in 2011 for the first time since the Census Bureau began keeping records over three decades ago.