A New Resource to Fight the “Ed Reform Machine” and Save Public Schools

Madison Teachers, Inc. Solidarity Newsletter, via a kind Jeannei Bettner email (PDF):

As school resumes, The Progressive Magazine is revving up the movement to save public schools. On their new web site, created specifically for the anti-voucher/save public schools project, www.publicschoolshakedown.org, The Progressive is pulling together education experts including Diane Ravich (education historian and former Assistant Secretary of Education), activists, bloggers, and concerned citizens from across the country.
PUBLIC SCHOOL SHAKEDOWN is dedicated to EXPOSING the behind-the-scenes effort to privatize public schools, and CONNECTING pro-public school activists nationwide.
“Public School Shakedown will be a fantastic addition to the debate”, says Diane Ravitch. “The Progressive is performing a great public service by helping spread the word about the galloping privatization of our public schools.”
“Free public education, doors open to all, no lotteries, is a cornerstone of our democracy. If we allow large chunks of it to be handed over to private operators, religious schools, for-profit enterprises, and hucksters, we put our democracy at risk”, Ravitch adds.
That’s where Public School Shakedown comes in. While there are already groups such as the National Education Policy Center doing terrific research on education privatization and its effects, and bloggers writing pointed, hilarious reports, there is still not a great deal of understanding in the general population of how the education privatization movement works.
Teachers understand that the attack on public education is an attack on the very heart of our democracy. Yet the “school choice” movement has succeeded in setting the terms of the conversation. To the unknowing layperson, “school choice” and “education reform” sound like benign policy goals that aim to improve children’s access to high-quality education.
The time is right for a journalistic platform like The Progressive to put the pieces together.
From its base in Madison, The Progressive has made the attack on public schools a primary focus of its reporting.
Wisconsin is ground-zero for the school voucher movement. The first school voucher program started in Milwaukee back in 1990. But the last few years of the Walker Administration really brought home the importance of this issue.
The 2011 protests called attention to the public as to how much is at stake – a great public school system, open to all, and a democracy – not just a pay-as-you-go system of winners and losers that leaves the poor and middle classes behind.