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- How Billionaire-Sponsored Privatization Is Destroying Democracy and Enriching the Charter School Industry
- A report/ebook on the corporate takeover of K-12 schools.
Don Hazen, Elizabeth Hines, Steven Rosenfeld, Stan Salett, AlterNet
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AlterNet Editor's note: AlterNet has covered the school privatization story in great detail. Over time, we became alarmed at what we were seeing. The Independent Media Institute, AlterNet’s parent organization, has published an ebook, Who Controls Our Schools? The Privatization of American Public Education, the full text of which you can access for free online with this link. What follows is a summary of its findings and recommendations.
October 26, 2016 | The Problem
America’s public schools, which over the 20th century came to embrace the promise of equal opportunity for all children, are at a historic crossroad. Once the heart of our democracy and a bastion of local accountability, our K-12 schools now bear the scars of a nearly 25-year assault from a cadre of very wealthy ideological reformers who seek to privately run them using taxpayers' funds. Their most popular tool to dismantle this public good? Charter public schools, especially those run by corporate franchises, which now educate millions of students.
The growth of charter schools nationwide (whose numbers have increased exponentially since 2000) would not have occurred without a handful of heirs to the world’s largest family fortunes and other billionaires directing their tax-exempt foundations using their wealth to remake public schools in a corporate image. Critics have called it a virtual conspiracy while charter school promoters see themselves as K-12 education’s saviors. Either way, the result has been the creation of a little-understood, parallel, privatized system within the public school system.
Don Hazenn is the executive editor of AlterNet.
Elizabeth Hines is AlterNet's education editor and the co-author of Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire.
Steven Rosenfeld covers national political issues for AlterNet, including America's democracy and voting rights. He is the author of several books on elections and the co-author of Who Controls Our Schools: How Billionaire-Sponsored Privatization Is Destroying Democracy and the Charter School Industry (AlterNet eBook, 2016).
Stan Salett is a former public school teacher, elected school board member, organizer of public school parents and engaged citizens, and assistant commissioner of a state education agency. He is one of the creators of Head Start and Upward Bound and is the author of The Edge of Politics: Stories from the Civil Rights Movement, the War on Poverty and the Challenges of School Reform.
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