Tuesday, May 30, 2017

School privatization critic Diane Ravitch offers advice to the Democrats - World Socialist Web Site

School privatization critic Diane Ravitch offers advice to the Democrats - World Socialist Web Site:

School privatization critic Diane Ravitch offers advice to the Democrats

Image result for big education ape dfer
Diane Ravitch, the widely read education historian, author and advocate for public education, titled a May 23 blog, “Don’t Like Betsy DeVos? Blame the Democrats.” The full-length opinion piece was also published the same day in New Republic with the underline “The Democratic Party paved the way for the education secretary’s efforts to privatize our public schools.”
For those who might think to themselves, “Finally the truth at last!” there is more to the story. Ravitch aims not to discredit the Democratic Party, let alone encourage a political break from this party of Wall Street and war, but to advise it.
The article states that Trump administration Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has generated “a tsunami of liberal outrage” for good reason. Ravitch emphasizes that the secretary is hostile to the very idea of public education. Indeed, Trump’s budget proposals demand $10.6 billion in cuts, measures that could deny tens of thousands of young people the chance to go to college, put the community college system on rations and slash K-12 school programs across the country. The day prior to the release of the budget, DeVos promised “the most ambitious expansion of education choice in our nation’s history.”
Ravitch’s article then refers to the stage-managed “grilling” of DeVos by Senator Al Franken at her confirmation hearings, and the reaction of other Democrats like Senators Cory Booker and Michael Bennet who decried her nomination as an “insult” to the nation’s children.
Diane Ravitch
“Listening to their cries of outrage, one might imagine that Democrats were America’s undisputed champions of public education,” Ravitch says. “But the resistance to DeVos obscured an inconvenient truth: Democrats have been promoting a conservative ‘school reform’ agenda for the past three decades,” she states.
The education historian substantiates this by briefly reviewing the record, starting with the support of Bill Clinton for standardized metrics linked to monetary rewards, which ultimately laid the groundwork for No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top.
As usual, Ravitch does not spare Obama. “The Obama years saw an epidemic of new charters, testing, school closings and teacher firings. In Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel closed 50 public schools in one day. Democratic charter advocates—whose ranks include the outraged Booker and Bennet—have increasingly imported ‘school choice’ into the party’s rhetoric,” she states.
She hones in on the money trail: “[S]upport for mandatory testing and charter schools opens fat wallets on Wall Street. … In 2005, Obama served as the featured speaker at the inaugural gathering of Democrats for Education Reform, which bundles contributions to Democrats who back charter schools: Among its favorites have been those sharp DeVos critics George Miller, Michael Bennet, and Cory Booker.”
Ravitch’s narrative highlights the hypocrisy of the Democratic Party, its open alliance with Wall Street hedge funds and its thoroughly reactionary attacks on public education in the interest of profit-taking.
The problem with her argument, however, is the “inconvenient fact” that School privatization critic Diane Ravitch offers advice to the Democrats - World Socialist Web Site:
Image result for big education ape democrat


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