One of the Major Issues in Education is Pro Privatization Groups Attempt to Destroy Public Education

One of the major issues in education is the attempt by pro
privatization groups to discredit and destroy public
education, replacing it with for profit schools. There are
many major issues in education, but this attempt to
discredit and destroy public education tops the list because
it is through public education that the United States
attained its world technological lead by the 1950s.

American public education has come under heavier and heavier
attacks over the past several years. Those on the attack
say that public school isn't educating our children
properly. This attack continues unabated and is one of the
major issues in education today.

Who and why are they on the attack?

According to one 2005 article, by Robert Freeman, there
exists an organized, intense lobby to privatize public
education and win the 500 billion dollars in contracts for
grades K-12 that would be made available by such a victory.

Hence, in the interest of private industry, teachers are
being criticized as lazy, public schools as failing, and
public bureaucracies as unresponsive. A steady vilification
of the public education system has been occurring over the
past twenty years by these private interests and is one of
the major issues in education.

But is public education really failing our children?
According to one article, the answer is a resounding no.

Freeman maintains that the Scholastic Aptitude Test is the
best measure of student progress for the following reasons:

  • Since it's been around for over 40 years, it measures
    trends across multiple generations of students, teachers,
    and schools.

  • Since it is given to high school juniors and seniors, it
    measures their success from grade K-12, and not for just
    one single year.

  • Since the same test is given across the country, it isn't
    influenced by variation in teacher testing and the way
    different states measure progress.

  • It is not influenced by grade inflation.

  • The SAT is not confined to measuring one or two
    intellectual factors, but measures a broad range of
    intellectual factors.

In covering these major issues in education, Freeman, writes
as follows:

"Probably the most reliable, broad-based, long-term tool
for measuring the quality of public education is the
Scholastic Aptitude Test....Because of its long history, its
nationwide reach, and its comprehensive nature, SAT results
transcend the negative one-off anecdotes commonly bandied
about to disparage public education. No other instrument
even comes close to equaling these strengths as a singular
measure of national educational progress."

Freeman goes on to eloquently cite the SAT findings as

"Last year's SAT scores were the highest in 30 years.
English scores were the highest in 28 years. Math scores
were the highest in 36 years. The scores were at record
levels for all ethnic groups: whites; Asian-Americans;
African-Americans; Native Americans; and Latinos. And they
were achieved by the broadest test-taking pool in testing
history. Forty-eight per cent of the nation's 2.9 million
high school seniors took the test--a record. Thirty-six
percent of the test takers were minorities, another record.

Thirty years ago, only the most elite 15 percent of students
took the test. And remember, elites usually test better than
averages. So the fact that scores have gone up while the
test-taking pool has gotten both larger and more diverse may
be the most powerful performance indicator of all. These
scores are a huge victory for those who have believed in and
fought so hard for public education.

Even more impressive, public schools have accomplished these
new highs while confronting some of the greatest obstacles
they have ever faced. Consider just a few of these almost
Herculean challenges:

  • Most mothers left home in the past 30 years to join
    the workforce. No more Mrs. Cleaver at the door with warm
    cookies, milk, and help with the homework when Beaver comes

  • Over the past decade, American schools have absorbed
    the largest wave of immigrants in history. Most of these
    immigrants spoke no English when they came to this country.
    Many had little if any comparable educational preparation in
    the countries they left.

  • Schools have been saddled with vastly expanded
    responsibilities in recent years, much of it wholly
    unrelated to general academic performance. This includes
    broadened mandates for everything from sex and drug
    education to increased demands for help with learning and
    physical disabilities.

  • As a nation, we have almost completely surrendered
    students' socialization to television. By the time they are
    18 years old, children have watched 450,000 commercials!
    Meanwhile they spend only 9 percent of their time in the

  • Millions of the best teachers have left teaching for
    other fields. This is especially true with women who used to
    have few career options (nursing, teaching, etc.) but who
    can now go into law, medicine, engineering, business, etc."

Despite all of these challenges, and throughout one of the
most vitriolic, unremitting campaigns of character
assassination in American history, public education has
delivered the highest performing group of graduates in over
a generation.

Against this record, those who would "privatize" public
education have virtually nothing to show for their decades
of hucksterish claims. In trial after trial, experiments
with educational vouchers (the most popular form of school
privatization) have proven a bust. Voucher programs in
Milwaukee, New York, Washington D.C., and in Dayton and
Cleveland, Ohio have shown no long-term gains in student
achievement. And this, despite in some cases skimming the
cream off the top of local student populations-recruiting
only the best students while keeping problem or
special-needs children out."

The Freeman article appears to be a compelling defense of
public education as one of the major issues in education.
Read Freeman's defense of public education, one of the
major issues in education, here.

Points to ponder, concerning public education as one of the
major issues in education, are:

  1. SAT tests indicate that U.S. public education has
    performed very well overall and, particularly, with

  2. Why haven't we've heard about public education's success
    previously when it is one of the major issues in education?

  3. The tremendous negative publicity may be due to private
    interests seeking to profit from public education's demise,
    and drowning out any positive publicity.

  4. The SAT test appears to be a good measure of student
    progress and proficiency due to its long term use in the
    public education system.

  5. My personal experience in the public education system of
    some fifteen years verifies the dedication of its teachers.
    I have no doubt they have the welfare of their students at
    heart and act in the best interests of their students.

  6. This is not to say that public education cannot be
    improved that teachers do not need help and that schools
    are not in need of upgrading.

  7. It does indicate that public money has been well spent,
    and this too has been one of the major issues in education.

  8. Freeman's article concludes that public school education
    has delivered. One of the major issues in education is are
    we willing to fund public education properly so that America
    can again attain the lead it once held when public
    education was given our top priority?

See, replacing public education with for profit schools, here.

How is the No Child Left Behind Act used to destroy public education?

The War on Kids