Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Wall Street's Investment in School Reform - Bridging Differences - Education Week

Wall Street's Investment in School Reform - Bridging Differences - Education Week:

Wall Street's Investment in School Reform

Dear Deborah,
You and I used to have lively debates about standards, curriculum, pedagogy, and a lot of other matters where we disagreed. Now those debates seem antique compared with the current uncertainty about the future of public education.
The question today is whether a democratic society needs public schools subject to democratic governance. Why not turn public dollars over to private corporations to run schools as they see fit? Isn't the private sector better and smarter than the public sector?
The rise of charter schools has been nothing short of meteoric. They were first proposed in 1988 by Raymond Budde, a Massachusetts education professor, and Albert Shanker, the president of the American Federation of Teachers. Budde dreamed of chartering programs or teams of teachers, not schools. Shanker thought of charters as small schools, staffed by union teachers, created to recruit the toughest-to-educate students and to develop fresh ideas to help their colleagues in the public schools. Their originators saw charters as collaborators, not competitors, with the public schools.
Now the charter industry has become a means of privatizing public education. They tout the virtues of