A reader sent this comment in response to an earlier post. I jumped when I read it because he was absolutely prescient. Consider this: We hear on all sides that the public schools are failing, declining, etc., that test scores are falling, etc., but NONE OF IT IS TRUE. Test scores on NAEP, the only no-stakes national test with forty years of data, are at their highest point in history. And yet, the spin masters keep spinning their tales of failure. It’s time to ask why. I have often imagined the scenario that this reader describes but have been fearful of saying it out loud. Suppose a group of powerful people decided that they wanted to privatize public education. Where would they start? How would they create a “message” to sell something that no one would accept if it was candidly described?
|In June , 1992, I wrote the following letter to the editor. Based on today’s posting, I think this letter is as relevant today as it was in 1992.“Try to picture this. A large national corporation, until recently grazing contentedly on federal military contracts, finds its annual earnings reflecting a shocking drop. It is decided that new access to federal dollars must be found, or the corporation may go out of business. Someone suggests a product which could tap into ever increasing federal education dollars. Another suggestion leads to looking into the possibility of crafting that product so that state and local education dollars can also be tapped.”
“The marketing department points out that the product will not sell, unless the buyers, the American public, can be convinced that the current product is substandard. Marketing is assigned the task of creating the need for these new products by convincing the American public that its public education institutions are utter failures. Once that had been accomplished, a program will be undertaken to separate public education dollars from public education institution. Those dollars would become the mainstay of corporation earnings. The product is private education.”