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For the Love of Learning: Bill Moyers Interviews Diane Ravitch

The high cost of turning our schools into profit centres:

  • Public education is one of the foundations of a democracy, and America's public education is under assault.
  • Charter schools are booming and controversial. There are 6000 in the United States -- double from a decade ago. They are publicly funded and privately run.
  • Wall Street is drooling over investing in for-profit education companies.
  • Profit$ not pupils are driving Corporate School Reform.
  • Profiteers and privatizers see a gold rushin American K-12 Public Education which pulls in over $500 billion in taxpayers revenue.
  • Diane Ravitch's book Reign of Error is a must read. 
  • The Department of Education, led by Arne Duncan, has become an enemy of American public education.
  • If we continue down this path, many cities like Detroit, New Orleans, Philadelphia, etc. will have no public schools. And if there are any, they will become a dumping ground for the children that the charter schools deem inconvenient or too expensive to educate. 
  • American public schools are not broken and they are not failing. American public schools are dealing with some major challenges, including the fact that 1 in 4 children in the US live in poverty. Where there are public schools that are in trouble, there are communities that are in trouble.
  • Charter schools were suppose to collaborate with public schools by seeking out innovations that the public schools could learn from but charter schools have become cut throat competitors, poaching public funds.
  • If you make test scores the purpose of education, you don't want the children with disabilities, you don't want the children who don't speak English, you don't want the trouble makers, you don't want the children with low scores. You want to keep those kids out of your school.
  • Not all charters are bad, but even the non-profit charters are typically owned by for-profit corporations. 
  • Charter schools are not public schools, and in many states, charter schools are not required to hire credentialed teachers.
  • The problem with turning over public education to the private sector is that they don't know anything about education.
  • The American Legislative Exchange Council creates model legislation that states legislators copy to privatize public education, end collective bargaining, end due process for teachers, and merit pay for teachers.
  • The assault on public education is a bipartisan effort.
  • The Network for Public Education is a network of people who are fighting back against Corporate School Reform.
  • Judging teachers via standardized test scores is wrong -- so there is now a mass exodus of people from the teaching profession.
  • The Opt-out movement from standardized testing is growing and becoming main stream.


  • The American Indian Model Charter School has been praised as one of the best charter schools in the country. In 2000, the school changed its demographics from predominantly Native American to Asian American. The change allowed the school to now brag about its test scores, which are some of the highest in California. They changed their student population to chase high scores.
  • Some of the charter schools have CEO who are making $400,000 per year. 
  • We are abandoning civic responsibility for consumerism. 
  • Charter schools have select and conditional admissions which means they choose which children to admit or deny and which children to keep and expel.
  • We should take billionaires advice for how to invest our money, and ignore their advice for how to teach and how to manage public education.
  • When Americans are asked about public education in general, they recite what corporate billionaires and corporate media tell them -- it's terrible. But when Americans are asked about their own public school, they say their public school is great.
  • School choice is a synonym for segregation. The Charter movement is rolling back Brown vs Board of Education which led to the de-segregation of schools.
  •  If we never change our mind, why have one?

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Joe Bower

Joe Bower teaches in Alberta, Canada.