The Fake Public Education Crisis

Politicians, the media, educators, academics and everyone and their cousin have been screaming about the crisis in public education for a very long time now, at least 35 years. But the truth is that there is no crisis at all.
The truth is that US kids are better educated than they’ve ever been since they started giving these tests. They talk about how hard high school was in 1900, but that was when 1% of the population went to high school. The scores have been going down since 1960-1970 simply because more Blacks and Browns have been taking the test. They are driving the scores down.
If you look at White kids alone, they are better educated than they have ever been. This lie was started by Reagan after he came in in 1980. They issued a report called A Nation at Risk that raised alarm with a lot of folks about the declining test scores boogeyman. This was all part of a concerted attack on the public schools. US conservatives have always hated public schools ever since we put them in and they have been trying to get rid of them ever since. All of this charter schools, school choice, etc. nonsense is all part of a project to kill of the public schools in the US.
Private schools do not in fact get better results than public schools. Private schools are nearly always inferior to public schools. The only private schools that are any good are all nonprofits.
Why would private schools be better?

  • They pay the teachers much worse
  • The teachers have poor benefits.
  • They scrimp horribly on supplies in order to fatten their bottom line
  • They make outrageous profits, often fly around in private helicopters or jets and care nothing whatsoever about their students.
  • There is massive and ridiculous grade inflation at private schools since its run as a business and bad grades are bad for business as they drive customers away. The way these schools keep their customers happy and coming back for more is by doling out the inflated grades.
  • There are no teacher unions, but there is no evidence that a unionized teacher force is worse than a non-unionized one, and what evidence does exist shows that the unionized force works better. If you are a working class person, why do you think destruction of teacher unions is a good idea? Wouldn’t you rather be in a union?

Charter schools
There is nothing different or special about these schools except that they have no teachers’ unions. Once again it is hard to see how eliminating the organizations of the workers is going to make workers work harder or better. One might think it would be the opposite.
Both charter and private kids get to pick and choose their students. They turn down many students, especially special ed or special needs kids, and they throw lots of kids out if they act bad. The public schools are required by law to take all students no matter how many problems they have and they cannot kick kids out.
School choice deprives the public schools of dollars and good students, destroys the workers organizations for no reason, and floods the public schools with the worst students behavior-wise and talent-wise. Further, all of the expensive special ed and special needs kids are flooded into the public schools while the good kids that balance them out are pulled out.
Result: Public schools end up having a very bad and expensive student body at the same time that they are drained of money to operate. It’s a way to slowly kill the public schools.

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0 thoughts on “The Fake Public Education Crisis”

  1. If you adjust for poverty levels, the US is above the OECD average. The issue is poverty, and the growing gap in inequity. But the right doesn’t give a shit about this, they just mumble on about family values and go back to attacking unions.
    What’s more is they whine about how certain OECD countries outperform but fail to take into account that they are even more unionized than we are. Their position is untenable…it’s more like religion than anything.

  2. When it comes to math, the grades might be harder to inflate, as you either get the right answer or you don’t.

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