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Do Reformers Actually Care About Education or About Cutting Costs?


Do Reformers Actually Care About Education or About Cutting Costs?

Diane Ravitch

One question that I have puzzled over again and again is why anyone who really cares about the quality of education would be a proponent of school choice, for example, vouchers for religious schools and charters run as a business. We have an abundance of evidence that these choices don’t usually produce better education. Children from low-performing schools are not being sent with public money to Exeter, Andover, Deerfield Academy, or Sidwell Friends.


Until the public wakes up to the early twentieth century’s “philanthropic” education initiatives and purposes, I hold little hope for meaningful reform. Here is a quote from one of John D. Rockefeller’s most trusted advisors on public education:

“In our dream we have limitless resources, and the people yield themselves with perfect docility to our molding hand. The present educational conventions fade from our minds; and, unhampered by tradition, we work our own good will upon a grateful and responsive rural folk. We shall not try to make these people or any of their children into philosophers or men of learning or of science. We are not to raise up among them authors, orators, poets, or men of letters. We shall not search for embryo great artists, painters, musicians. Nor will we cherish even the humbler ambition to raise up from among them lawyers, doctors, preachers, statesmen, of whom we now have ample supply.” – Frederick T Gates

Propaganda has been quite successful to speak to the opposite of this intent, which is clearly meant to further ossify the class structure that existed at the time. Knowledge IS power. Pass this on, please!


“Cutting costs” is almost always about funneling the available loot into the correct hands.

Our nation is fabulously wealthy, what with all of our technological acceleration, and there’s little need to do more than rein in unnecessary cost expansion. In fields such as education, letting cost expansion continue is the optimal policy. Putting a teacher’s helper in every single k-12 classroom should be a national educational goal.

The only reasons that our nation isn’t considered fabulously wealthy are war and corruption. The money has been sent into the wrong hands and Congress intends for things to stay that way, possibly for generations. This policy hurts everybody else, some more than others. When we hear about municipal pension funds being raided and social security being stolen from people’s pocketbooks, we rightly should cringe. When we see infomercials begging for money to do what the Veterans Administration refuses to do for vets because crooks need to be fed elsewhere, we should feel nauseous. Now they want to rob little kids for their lunch money.


OF COURSE NOT, the whole point of “charter schools” is to prevent US K12 education from being seen as “services supplied in the exercise of governmental authority” and set them on the path to mandatory privatization and globalization in the future.

  • I BEG any of you interested in education’s future to please Google that phrase, just do it.

Its from a WTO trade agreement the US signed in 1995. Rather than include a bunch of links which probably trigger a drown response, I am just pasting the lines of the text here and I invite folks to comment on what they find.

Article I:3 of the agreement states:

"For the purposes of this Agreement

(b) ‘services’ includes any service in any sector except services supplied in the exercise of governmental authority;

© ‘a service supplied in the exercise of governmental authority’ means any service which is supplied neither on a commercial basis, nor in competition with one or more service suppliers."

Do it now, and I would like to see some thoughtful responses, please.


This jerk (Ted Cruz) missed his calling in failing to audition for the part of Herman Munster: a part that would have made for a vast improvement over his impersonation of an informed, viable, remotely astute politician.

Brilliant analysis, Ms. Ravitch. Of course it’s supposed to be impolite to mention the marriage of a new religiosity with barbaric beliefs about women, a brutal lack of interest in all the ways that our magnificent planet is dying, and why it is that these zealous types who champion ignorance always prove their fealty to war while hiding behind Jesus.

No one dares to speak about it but I am convinced that in the same covert way that Project Paperclip enabled hundreds of Nazis to infiltrate into U.S. armed forces, some sinister organization, likely an adjunct of the CIA or NSA funded Pat Robertson to get the 700-club project off the ground. Through tel-evangelism, $ billions are collected and millions of fundamentalist Christians are told that they are the driving force of the nation and that their beliefs = what America is. These people are suspicious of outsiders and only identify with others who think, look, act, and believe the way that they do. Of course they’re not bright enough to grasp that such stances represent the antithesis of a true Democratic society.

When religion is used as a basis for foreign and domestic policy, the most vile acts become sanctioned since the dominators who relish these paternalistic orders grant themselves a license to kill, torture, and humiliate under the guise that it’s done under ‘god’s’ authority.

These retrograde individuals, like all authoritarians, like ORDER. They view gays, liberated women–which is to say Feminists who prove a threat to the father-knows-best, top-down daddy-run patriarchal household, Muslims, Latinos, Blacks, and Wiccans as foreign enemies. They only see validity in their own rigid adherence to old conservative ways… and LOTS of rules.

Granny D made the excellent point that all this hoopla over the unborn is really a pathetic projection. That people who spend their lives protecting fetuses are really mourning the lives they never allowed themselves to live. Instead, they followed rules imposed by others–often false prophets–and never learned what it felt like to fly by spreading their own wings in this adventure we call Life.

Ted Cruz, Scott Walker and these other faux Christians are part of a very big club… and its members all salute one another. They are captains on the Titanic and have no understanding of the iceberg ahead or that they are pushing the rest of humanity into a collision course with fatality.


Your attack on public education just because creeps like Rockefeller wish to influence it is a backdoor salute to charter schools and the whole Christian fundamentalist regression of our nation into a church-state medieval entity.


How about a link? I am not sure which phrase you wish readers to google.


Not by a LONG shot. I am a zealot for public education. As I remarked, i want to educate the public about the unseen forces in it. As for charter schools, I have been schooled by the best as to what they really are about: JEB.


The original agreement is the WTO General Agreement on Trade in Services so if you dont want to search on “neither on a commercial basis, nor in competition with one or more service suppliers” to capture discussions on all public services, search on that…

search on GATS AND Education - Or substitute the first four letters in my name for the last four letters


Well said. Decades ago, a Soviet leader boasted that one day “we (the Soviet Union) will rule the world by invitation.” The Soviets never had the human and/or other resources to even compete with the West, much less rule the world. The US, however, could if it did not fritter away its resources in useless and immoral wars and, simultaneously, sought to decimate its own thriving middle class in favor of the 1%. The sheer waste of US potential could be accurately called a monumental tragedy.


This is a different part of GATS and a different part of TISA

Schools in the US don’t pass the two part GATS Article I:3 test, so its mandated to

be privatized and possibly, (Mode 4) globalized.

It would certainly wake Americans up as to the necessity of paying attention to the rest of the world, and who is in charge of our future, however, unfortunately, its irreversible. No election can change it back. thats the whole idea of these things.



The advantage of a dictatorship is that it could marshal the entire resources of a country to achieve a certain number of goals. That was what the Soviets - and to some extent the Chinese - did. However, the resources required would generally mean sacrifices in other areas. And no country is really a superpower unless it could produce not only guns but also butter. The US was the only power that could IF its leaders knew the limits. Unfortunately, they didn’t: by pouring trillions of dollars in weapons and wars AND creating extreme inequalities between the classes, they’re bringing the nation to something akin to the last days of the Roman Empire.


Didn’t you get the memo? They don’t want science literate Americans. “Only gives them unrealistic expectations”