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January 18, 2018

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letter to the editor:

The failures of our education system

Terrible threats to education are causing children great distress, leading to perverted ideas of what it means to be educated.

Many are promoting a vision of education based on a “free market,” competitive business and profit-making model oriented around testing, accountability, and measurable results for schools that remove art and humanity from teaching and the hope and confidence from students.

Behind the movement are billionaires who are making scapegoats out of teachers and teachers’ unions to sell privatization, chartering and variations on those themes.

This can only lead to disaster, since education is about much more than passing tests and beating the competition. Billionaires don’t know squat about education.

Others are creating different problems that are equally damaging. People defending teachers and public schools are in denial about how we got to a push to privatize.

For generations, the field has been chaotic and controversial because schooling is founded on extremely anachronistic and unworkable myths and models. Failure rates are scandalous. Diane Ravitch leads this defensive contingent.

They pretend all would be well if the interlopers would just butt out and leave teachers to their craft.

Enter the alternative school promoters. They insulate a small fraction of students from authoritarian bureaucracy. It’s beautiful; it’s elitism.

Millions of other kids remain stuck in dysfunctional and stultifying environments.

The elimination of compulsory attendance laws that create the authoritarian power structures that are impervious to change is our only hope.

We’ve reinvented the educational wheel enough times. It’s time for a new vehicle.

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