Public education is under an unprecedented attack. The powerful people who want to privatize our schools are using many different means: charter schools, mayoral control, high stakes standardized testing, school closures, merit pay and attacking teacher unions are all a part of this assault. Often, these "reformers" claim that the sweeping changes they want will bring genuine educational justice for communities that have long been underserved -- especially for African American families. But will privatization actually create racial justice? Or will it exacerbate the problem? Will these "reforms" strengthen the educational rights of students and parents, or weaken them? Will turning education over to the free market lead to less segregated schools, or more so? Who is behind the effort to privatize education and why are they pursuing these changes? Is there an alternative way to reform our public schools?
Brian Jones is a teacher, actor, and activist in New York City. He is the co-narrator of the film, The Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting for Superman, and a contributing author to the new book, Education and Capitalism: Struggles for Learning and Liberation: http://www.haymarketbooks.org/pb/Education-and-Capitalismw-C