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Education in Crisis and the Threat of Privatization


Education in Crisis and the Threat of Privatization

Diane Ravitch

It has become conventional wisdom that “education is in crisis.” I have been asked about this question by many interviewers. They say something like: “Do you think American education is in crisis? What is the cause of the crisis?” And I answer, “Yes, there is a crisis, but it is not the one you have read about. The crisis in education today is an existential threat to the survival of public education. The threat comes from those who unfairly blame the school for social conditions, and then create a false narrative of failure.


This crisis goes all the way up to public universities, most of which if truly examined present themselves as corporations with insufficient public funding. Rising tuition along with research dollar availability driving academic programs is gutting education at the cost of training initiatives. Much of the fault lies at universities, public and private, playing the US News rankings game. This game drives the universities to compete and in the process consume more--more research equipment and supplies, more travel, posh student unions replete with corporate food courts resembling shopping malls, and so much more. It is not uncommon to see blowup bouncy ball type slides and other things out for events on the lawn. There is no feeling of institutions of learning being sacred places anymore. "Education" is just a rite of passage for most students, who have become commodified. Only Bernie's approach to societal reform offers any hope for the system and perhaps retaining what little dignity is left in public education in the country.


The neo-liberal program of defunding public education for the end purpose of privatization is an absolute travesty that is having an extremely negative impact on public universities and colleges across the nation.

In my opinion, it amounts to fraud and theft of a "common" for the sole purpose of generating profits to the capitalist ruling class. Let's not be fooled by the propaganda; this is class warfare against the working class ... those who usually attend public universities and colleges.

The following article gives a breakdown by institution of how the funding shortages are dramatically affecting public universities and community colleges in Illinois.



Society's Management Caste loves to unleash problems, then offer their own versions of solutions which always benefit that same small circle of friends. (This reference is courtesy of Phil Ochs).

So when it comes to urban deserts and their lack of employment opportunities, black market economies develop. This outcome is axiomatic and relied upon to FEED the prison plantation system.

Inner city schools, in parallel, are underfunded so that the vulture-like privateers can construct their dialogs of failure and then sweep in to devour the spoils. After all, the economic model of Disaster Capitalism features plenty of "hostile takeovers" where perfectly solid, functioning companies were bought out by loan sharks, their assets stripped, and employees left without jobs. And THAT is not only legal; it allots profits to the most unconscionable persons.

Often missing from analyses of the plunder of Public Schools is the role played by the church. It's documented in Barry Lynn's book, "God and Government."

There's a LOT of money in the coffers of the Catholic Church and upper echelon ministries from the Conservative Christian quarter. And that money is used to lobby for charter schools that just so happen to be religious schools (in violation of the once formidable wall between church and state).

Then there are the standard test bearers and profiteers, and the computer program salesmen (Bill Gates), and those who merely lust for prime urban real estate to use for their own nefarious purposes.

There are so many crimes underway against humanity and its typically victimized sectors. This is another one of them... it will do to children's minds, intellectually, what all the untested lead in too many city water systems is doing to children's brain chemistry.

Crimes, indeed! Spot-on analysis, Ms. Ravitch:

"The crisis in education today is an existential threat to the survival of public education. The threat comes from those who unfairly blame the school for social conditions, and then create a false narrative of failure. The real threat is privatization and the loss of a fundamental democratic institution.”


The entirety of society is becoming mechanized to such an extent that things like reflection, inspiration, and spontaneity are becoming effete.

George Carlin once mocked the idea of children's lives being so heavily micro-managed that they had "play dates."

Some readers of this forum buck at the idea of socialization, enculturation, conditioning, and over-all societal programming. But that's because they don't understand the ways it shapes persons; and they take the pervasive cues as some kind of unquestioned set of norms.

I think one of the first structuring protocols is "being on time." Imagine the pressure on kids to get ready early in the morning, or the pressure to move quickly from one class to another in certain school settings. Life is lived BY the clock and being "on time" becomes a major force of conditioning.

There's also pervasive NOISE. The premise of quietude is becoming rare. I notice that even when I endeavor to begin COMPOSING--as that's what creative writing means for me--my computer blinks on a number of unsolicited, annoying, interrupting messages.

Watching a movie on You Tube, commercials interrupt it. Listening to songs on the radio, advertisements abort the mood created by the music. And when I used to watch TV with my former companion, I was STUNNED by the amount of commercials (most of them about drugs for conditions Invented by Big Pharma so as to sell drugs) that interrupted the flow of the movie.

Coitus Interruptus has morphed into Cognitive interruptus... and I don't think there's anything accidental about it. All of these shaping devices are in place to work AGAINST any individual's capacity for DEEP thought or the type of reflection taught by Masters of every spiritual sect.

Kudos to Ms. Ravitch for this, too:

"Education has lost its way, lost its purpose, lost its definition. Where once it was about enlightening and empowering young minds with knowledge, exploring new worlds, learning about science and history, and unleashing the imagination of each child, it has become a scripted process of producing test scores that can supply data."

The Bahai Faith regards teaching as one of the highest of callings and indeed, it served as my calling. But watching schools institute urine tests on teachers, and watching schools become militarized with police; and watching curricula decided by outsiders with no classroom experience... I'm glad all this began when I approached retirement age.

Today's 1% Owner Class wants automatons. They are trying to turn children into obedient human robots. Period.

As mentioned earlier, it's CRIMINAL INTENT all the way.


The real threat is from people who ignore the history of compulsory schooling - that schools were designed and created by the elite to create masses of obedient, passive and unthinking workers and consumers for the industrial age. A glance through anthropology will expose the fact that humans have been raising their kids through free play in nature for two million years, just like all other social animals. We didn't evolve to sit in a classroom all day, or to sit behind walls, or to sit behind screens, or to have to ask permission from adults for every little thing, or to cram our minds full of useless information. However well-meaning teachers and parents, schools are child abuse. www.schoolispoison.org


it important to remember that none of this move to privatize happens in a vacuum. All of the Western nations Governments , barring a handful, are rushing into trade agreements like the TPP.

Once an institution like the Public School system starts to become ever more privatized any attempts by Governments to reassert control will be thwarted by "right to profits" clauses which allow Corporations to sue Governments for the loss of profits OR potential profits due to changes in Government policy.

The same holds true for anything from health care systems to banks, from public libraries to Government supplied internet access to public water supplies. It all on the menu and the fat cats are going to feast.


Bricks in a wall

Rather than stones for a bridge


Turning out an American citizenry that is curious, that can read, that can think critically about things--this is the most important crisis of education, whether private or public.

During an election cycle, the failure of our schools to turn out an educated citizenry is most apparent, and it's systemic and persistent, not generational. Saving the teaching profession is one thing; educating all our children well is quite another. What do you propose that we do about that?


Diane has finally come over to my way of thinking about education. Too bad she was not there in the 80's and 90's when the "make schools like a business" ideas were taking root. Better late than never I guess...Still we have lost a generation to this idiocy.


Go look at who Ravich really is. Go look up her name and then her past husband. She is a billionaires wife and tight with national security agencies. Get real. Ask her why she and 6 others cut me off of their blogs and responses all on one day, my birthday. I went to a dinner for politics and came home and cut off until now.

Ravich is a plant. Just that simple. She is not just a school marm who made mistakes with No child left behind. She is a MOLE.


JoeyM raises good points.

-- Now the question for you is why do you want to institutionalize government control of schools, a government that you believe is owned by big corporations and the military-industrial complex? (And spectacularly wastes your tax money too.)
-- Wouldn't you rather pull your children out of such schools, and establish your own neighborhood schools that teach good progressive values?
-- (And wouldn't couldn't such a school, serving the community's best interest, be called a 'charter school'?)