Diane Ravitch: Got Milk?

From the Diane Ravitch blog,

Jeb Bush spoke to the Republican National Convention on his favorite subject: how to save American education by privatizing it.

Bush said that choosing a school should be like buying milk.

This came from a newspaper report:

“Everywhere in our lives, we get the chance to choose,” he said in aprepared version of his remarks sent to reporters. “Go down any supermarket aisle – you’ll find an incredible selection of milk. You can get whole milk, 2% milk, low-fat milk or skim milk. Organic milk, and milk with extra Vitamin D. There’s flavored milk- chocolate, strawberry or vanilla – and it doesn’t even taste like milk. They even make milk for people who can’t drink milk.”
“Shouldn’t parents have that kind of choice in schools?” Bush said.
He agrees with Condoleeza Rice that education is “the civil rights issue of our time.”

But how can this be?

Is shopping for milk a civil right? How are these comparable?

This is not a good analogy.

Isn’t public education a public responsibility? Isn’t it a public good? How can it be compared to something as trivial as shopping for milk?

You can see where he is going with this analogy. An end to public education, a welcome mat for the privatizers, the for-profit schools, the for-profit online corporations.

Anyone is welcome to produce their own brand of milk, funded by taxpayers.

They can buy the high-priced milk, if they can afford it. They can buy the plain milk, or if they are poor, they can buy the rancid milk. It’s their choice.

Needless to say, Bush said nothing about the research showing that charter schools and voucher schools get similar results to public schools; and that the online for-profit schools get decidedly worse results.

But this is not about the kids. It is about letting the free market have its way with the kids.


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