NicholasTampio, a political science professor at Fordham University, asks:

“How did parents lose the right to educate our own children or, at least, have a meaningful role to play in our school districts? How can we reclaim this right?

“Enter Diane Ravitch, America’s foremost historian and theorist of education policy. In her new book, Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Schools (2013), Ravitch explains how foundations, venture capitalists, and politicians have seized control of America’s schools. She also highlights how parents and citizens may fight back against the corporate reform movement.

“Advocates of the Common Core sometimes say that they belong to the new civil rights movement. Ravitch replies: “It defies reason to believe that Martin Luther King Jr. would march arm in arm with Wall Street hedge fund managers.”

“Follow the money, Ravitch counsels. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has spent over a hundred million dollars to create and promote the Common Core. Joanne Weiss, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s chief of staff, says that the initiative “means that education entrepreneurs will enjoy national markets.” America spends over 500 billion dollars a year educating children between the ages of 5 and 18. The Common Core, like charter schools or vouchers, helps privatize America’s public schools, in this case, by empowering educational vendors such as Pearson to “enjoy national markets.”

“Schools, Ravitch argues, follow a different logic than businesses. Businesses control their inputs and discard elements that don’t produce. Public schools, to the contrary, must accept and educate all children. New York State Education Commissioner John King applauds the fact that most students failed the new Common Core exams. According to Ravitch, America’s schools should be nurturing its future citizens, not branding them failures at an early age.”