Great article. As a long-time educational researcher who is writing a book on the myths driving American education, you've captured well much of the nonsense. Trying to improve education by adopting more corporate thinking or running schools more like standardized and tightly controlled factories is like trying to improve your health by eating more fast food.
We need more freedom democracy in schools and less standardization and top-down coercion.
The WE that manufactures is corporate. It is distinct from the WE that is fighting the corporate agenda.
You have been commenting here for enough years to know the difference.
Those who gloss over the distinction grant Occupy Wall Street short shrift.
I chose to not have children largely because it I could not come up with an education alternative for them I would find acceptable. The best idea I have seen is the "no school" solution: have the resources on hand to provide when the child's curiosity is piqued. Indoctrination sucks, be it educational, religious, military...
All a State has to do, is to pass legislation that ay charter school teacher must be paid 20% more than public school teachers and suddenly every charter school in the State will disappear.
You seem to be politicizing your own (peculiar-to-the-USA) mathophobia and innumeracy - which for some reason in the USA has become characteristic of the "liberal" left. This is odd, because Einstein, Oppenheimer and many others well versed in math were avowed socialists.
Even if an education in mathematics - for which algebra is a rudimentary start - was not important to the occupations (engineering, technical trades, and science) most students will pursue, mathematics would still be a basic part of a well-rounded liberal education in a functioning democracy. European, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Russian - pretty much every foreign student and intern I've met a superior maths education. The British put us (myself included) to shame - I still recall how much of the humor in "The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy" would go over USAns heads because of their innumeracy (particularly in the probability math used in quantum mechanics).
The propaganda of the global warming denialists get most of its traction through ignorance in the basic concepts of statistical analysis, leveraged by logical and rhetorical fallacies. It is no coincidence that these arguments are far more successful in the USA than elsewhere.
And the capitalist's scourge of the working class - gambling and lotteries - is also most successful in the USA for this reason.
Hell, all they would need to do is require equal pay (including all benefits) to public school teachers - and require equal training and qualifications - and they would quickly go out of business.
Education (health care too) is a basic part of the public infrastructure of a functioning democracy - they idea that such a thing can be effectively performed by this largely fictitious "free market" is as absurd as letting "free market competition" provide, say, the street, water main, and power lines in front of your home.