Previously published on BillMoyers.com
Public education is becoming big business as bankers, hedge fund managers and private equity investors are entering what they consider to be an "emerging market." As Rupert Murdoch put it after purchasing an education technology company, "When it comes to K through 12 education, we see a $500 billion sector in the US alone."
Education historian Diane Ravitch says the privatization of public education has to stop. As assistant secretary of education under President George H.W. Bush, she was an advocate of school choice and charter schools; under George W. Bush, she supported the No Child Left Behind initiative. But after careful investigation, she changed her mind, and has become, according to Salon, "the nation's highest profile opponent" of charter-based education.
On this week's Moyers & Company, she tells me, "I think what's at stake is the future of American public education. I believe it is one of the foundation stones of our democracy: So an attack on public education is an attack on democracy."
Diane Ravitch is America's preeminent historian of public education. Her newest book is Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America's Public Schools.