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Four decades ago the Nation at Risk report, although severely flawed, set the nation on the dubious path of “reform” by politicians. President Reagan thought the Report was about vouchers. President Bush 41 called the governors of 50 states together to “fix” education (educators were not invited). The governors established goals for education, but Bush 41 also pushed vouchers via his bully pulpit. President Clinton got caught up with the charter school idea. President Bush 43, in cahoots with Congress, cobbled together the test and punishment NCLB which put school choice programs in line for robust funding. The Obama administration put charters on steroids and continued the test and punishment crusade. Then came the Trump/DeVos assault of public education.

After four decades of reform by politicians, teachers are demoralized. Poor school districts are still poor, with test scores lower than rich districts. Billions have been largely wasted on charters and vouchers.

The voucher and charter advocates have developed powerful lobbies and billionaire partners. The future of the time-honored common school system is in jeopardy.

Both political parties have come under the spell of the voucher and charter mania. They have been lured by the siren song.

In spite of the 4 decades of assault, the traditional public common school system remains strong; however, the attacks are being ramped up. The privately-operated charters and private school lobbies are demanding (and receiving) more and more. 

Unless the relentless assault on the public system is curbed and/or reduced, it could falter, which will put the nation at risk. If that happens, history will record that NCLB was the villain.

Someone should sue the state to root out the parasitical alternatives to the common school system.

William L. Phillis | Ohio Coalition for Equity & Adequacy of School Funding | 614.228.6540 ||
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