The 2010s were banner years for public education. Even as prominent philanthropists - including billionaire presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg - have advocated for privatization and increased focus on test scores, teachers took to the streets from Arizona to West Virginia in defense of their model of public education.
That tension is at the center of education expert and activist Diane Ravitch’s new book, Staying Goliath: The Passionate Resistance to Privatization and the Fight to Save America’s Public Schools. She defends the United States’ education system, arguing for the teachers “being forced out of needy school districts” and advocating against corporate privatization in the nation’s schools.
Ravitch, a former assistant secretary of education under George H.W. Bush, once supported school reform and privatization, including the introduction of charter schools. Since then, she has reconsidered her position on school reform, as well as on federal education initiatives that focus on test results, like President George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind and President Barack Obama’s Race to the Top.
Ravitch has a new word for the the billionaires who push education reforms - figures like Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, and the DeVos family are her “Disrupters.” Meanwhile, her “Resisters” are the families, teachers, and community members, and online advocates who have united to advocate for greater public funding for their schools across the country.
Diane Ravitch, former assistant secretary of education (1991 to 1993); author of a number of books on education, her latest is “Staying Goliath: The Passionate Resistance to Privatization and the Fight to Save America’s Public Schools” (Knopf, 2020); research professor of Applied Statistics, Social Science, and Humanities at NYU