This kind of misplaced analogizing by businessmen who know nothing about educating children, or who have other more important priorities, has been around for a hundred years, but only since Reagan have the meddlers and misanthropes actually had a chance to operationalize their stupid and dystopic notions. Ironically, the profiteers' own self-created economic depression could serve to stop the shoving of public institutions over the cliff and our democratic souls with them.
The signs are everywhere that fewer and fewer are believing Arne Duncan's superflous superlatives anymore, and the oiliness of oligarchs like Gates (see the June Harper's Magazine) and Broad becomes more apparent as they implant their manipulators like the uber-macho Steve Barr into the public sphere to do their private and self-serving dirty work. U. S. News has even taken notice of the potential bankruptcy in letting the bankrupt lead:
. . . .Assuming that $5 billion is enough dough to "turn around" some of the nation's worst public schools—and that the turnaround can be done in five years—would such an intervention even work? Besides firing and replacing staff or handing the schools over to charter school operators, Arne Duncan has yet to offer any specific examples of what a "school turnaround" would actually consist of. The mantra most recited by Education Department officials now is "bold action" in persistently low-achieving schools, but what does that actually mean?
Would simply replacing teachers and principals work? If all the other factors in a low-achieving student's life—family, neighborhood, social life—were to remain constant, would substituting an outstanding teacher for an ineffective teacherreverse the achievement levels? Are good teachers and principals all that is needed to turn around struggling schools, the majority of which are in impoverished communities where the parents might not have the time to help their children succeed in school? (Another interesting approach to "shut down" failing schools has recently been mounted by Steve Barr, who is gathering petitions from frustrated parents to convert Los Angeles public schools into charter schools.) What would teachers unions say about the potential massive firings of teachers in an effort to turn around failing schools? . . . .