Home > Uncategorized > Our Nation IS at Risk Because Mercenaries are Replacing Recruits

Our Nation IS at Risk Because Mercenaries are Replacing Recruits

Diane Ravitch wrote a thought provoking post supporting her thesis that despite the billions being spent to “reform” public education, “we”— those of us who support public education overseen by elected school boards and fully funded by taxpayers— are winning the battle for the hearts and minds of the voters. Drawing from a post written by John Thompson, retired teacher and historian in Oklahoma, that describes the background of A Nation at Risk, Ms. Ravitch concludes that despite what one reads about charter schools and vouchers, the “…dedicated, passionate volunteers” who support public education as it existed before “reform” are prevailing. She concludes her post that introduces Mr. Thompson’s essay with tis:

A genuine movement has grassroots. The Reformers have none; they have only paid staff. If the money dried up, the “reform movement” would disappear. It has no troops. None. Genuine movements are built by dedicated, passionate volunteers. That’s what we have.

It is true that there is no genuine grassroots support for “reform”… but… I’m not sure the money will be drying up any time soon and I’m afraid that the generation of students is emerging from public schools has no idea what those schools looked like before NCLB. Moreover, as the teachers and administrators who DO remember what schools were like before NCLB retire they are being replaced by TFA “idealists” who see teaching as a “gig” and Broad alums who fashion themselves as CEOs instead of servant-leaders who support classroom teachers. And even worse yet, “reform minded” school board candidates funded by edu-philanthropists are getting elected.

Despite all of these negatives, I, too, remain hopeful because those of us who remember what public schools were supposed to do are keeping that mission front-and center and attempting to help the public understand that so-called “government schools” aren’t the problem… and, contrary to the GOP’s relentless message to the contrary, “government” is NOT the problem. There are problems that the government CAN solve if it is funded and if the public is engaged in the decision making.

The worst part of the “reform movement” is the reformers belief that they alone can solve the problems and that “troops” are unnecessary when mercenaries can do the job. If you have money and “the solution” democracy only slows things down.

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