The Passionate Resistance to Privatization and the Fight to Save America's Public Schools
From one of the foremost authorities on education in the United States, Slaying Goliath is an impassioned, inspiring look at the ways in which parents, teachers, and activists are successfully fighting back to defeat the forces that are trying to privatize America’s public schools.
Diane Ravitch writes of a true grassroots movement sweeping the country, from cities and towns across America, a movement dedicated to protecting public schools from those who are funding privatization and who believe that America’s schools should be run like businesses and that children should be treated like customers or products.
Slaying Goliath is about the power of democracy, about the dangers of plutocracy, and about the potential of ordinary people—armed like David with only a slingshot of ideas, energy, and dedication—to prevail against those who are trying to divert funding away from our historic system of democratically governed, nonsectarian public schools. Among the lessons learned from the global pandemic of 2020 is the importance of our public schools and their teachers and the fact that distance learning can never replace human interaction, the pesonal connection between teachers and students.
NYU education professor Ravitch (Reign of Error) argues that corporate-driven school reform efforts have failed in this fiery takedown of the movement's "strategies of high-stakes testing, standardization, and privatization." According to Ravitch, "Corporate Disruptors" including New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg have met their match in a grassroots resistance that has "facts" on its side. Ravitch, who once supported the No Child Left Behind Act, claims that since its passage in 2001, "school choice" reforms have funneled money away from public schools without raising test scores or closing the achievement gap between white and black students. She cites evidence that charter schools increase segregation, criticizes the "bizarre" notions behind Common Core standards, and argues that evaluating teachers based on student tests scores is "nonsensical." Among those fighting the "philanthrocapitalists," Ravitch identifies a Rhode Island student group that protested a state plan to require high school seniors to pass a standardized test in order to graduate (the plan was scrapped when failure rates proved too high). Vituperative and somewhat repetitive, Ravitch's polemic nevertheless succeeds in making the case that "the root cause of poor performance in school is not bad schools' or bad teachers' but poverty." Public school advocates will take heart in Ravitch's assessment that they've turned the tide against privatization.