I'll admit that I tend to read more blogs from ed reformers than from traditionalists (the Diane Ravitch strain of thought) but after checking out the Schools Matter blog
, I am starting to balance my edublog diet. I can understand some of the frustrations the traditionalists have been feeling. They dedicate their lives to the field of education and yet outsiders continue to gain more influence in setting policy. Moreover, outsiders have a certain arrogance about how to fix the American education system, best exemplified by Waiting For Superman, the documentary which claimed that the changes were ready to put in place in the American education system if only the unions weren't so powerful. Of course, education is no science and there will be no exact formula for creating great schools for another 100 years at least.
The traditionalists have many grievances, plenty of which are valid, but one that I never seem to understand is the corporate-charter school conspiracy that corporations funding ed reform efforts are almost viciously interested in the destruction of the American education system. It seems kind of silly to me to think that corporate philanthropists have a vested interest in lowering the quality of public schools and gathering power in the education industry. As much as Schools Matter and Diane Ravitch keep screaming for us to follow the money, I get the sense that this has more to do with personal ideology. While most corporate conspiracy theories at least have a perverse end that is somewhat in the corporation's interest, how does Walmart benefit from a less educated citizenry and workforce. If the conspiracy theory rests on the notion that lowering the quality of public schools will create demand for a for-profit primary and secondary education industry, a.) that's a long stretch, b.) the momentum for more private education has been decelerating, not accelerating. Vouchers are so passe, even to ed reformers. It seems like these are just old fashioned liberals paranoid of anything corporations might do, whether for-profit or philanthropic. Anyone want to tie up this conspiracy theory for me?