Diane Ravitch Post 2014
This post was written in 2014, but it remains relevant today. DFER (Democrats for Education Reform) raises large sums of money from hedge fund managers to promote charter schools. The free market has been very good to hedge fund managers, and they think that public schools should compete in a free market too. They are not in the game to make money, but to promote their ideology of free-market competition. DFER and its related organizations, like Education Reform Now, and Families for Excellent Schools, are spending millions of dollars in places as far-flung as Denver and Massachusetts. It may be confusing to the public to see “Democrats” promoting school choice and accountability, since these have always been Republican ideas for school reform. But, it made no sense to create a group called Republicans for Education Reform because Republicans don’t need to be convinced to private public schools.
Leonie Haimson, parent advocate (and a member of the board of the Network for Public Education), asks:
How did this happen? How did our electeds of both parties enable corporate interests to hijack our public schools?
A small band of Wall St. billionaires decided to convert the Democratic party to the Republican party, at least on education — and succeeded beyond their wildest dreams – or our worst nightmares. And now we have electeds of both parties who are intent on helping them engineer a hostile takeover of our public schools, which has nothing to do with parent choice but the choice of these plutocrats.
What can you do about it?
Contact the Network for Public Education and find out how you can become active in your local or state organization that supports public schools and opposes privatization.
If you live in Massachusetts, join parents and educators who are fighting Question 2, which would allow unlimited expansion of charters to replace public schools.