Vicki Cobb is an award-winning author of more than 90 children’s books, mostly about science.

In this post, she reviews SLAYING GOLIATH.

The review begins like this:

For the past 25 years there has been a national war between so-called education reformers and public schools.  Education historian and indefatigable blogger on the topic, Diane Ravitch, has been chronicling the attacks, losses and now, finally, victories through her blog, where she posts up to ten times a day, every day, since April of 2012. In her new book Slaying Goliath: The Passionate Resistance to Privatization and the Fight to Save America’s Public Schools, she pulls the disparate threads together and writes a brilliant,  page-turner story of this war against public schools for a period that included my 5 grandchildren.

Who are the bad guys?  Millionaires and billionaires who come from a business background where forces of free-market choices,  competition, and new standards create disruption in the market place allowing the best products to rise to the surface.  Ravitch names names.  We know who they are and they include Bill Gates, Betsy De Vos, and the Walton (Wallmart) families.
Ravitch aptly changes their names from education “Reformers” to education “Disrupters.” Measurement is key to determining educational success in the form of high stakes testing that occurs every school year for grades k-12.  Right out of the starting gate the Disrupters’ premise was wrong-headed and untested. 

The methods of this warfare included slamming public schools as “failing” and demonizing teachers while supporting the creation of brand-new charter schools and vouchers to pay religious schools using  tax payer money and selling the concept that now parents have “choice.”  If you knew what it takes to create and sustain a good school, you would know that non-educators with dough  are not the people who should be starting one no matter how pure their motives. (I served 18 months on the board of a charter school that is now shuttered.) Politicians from presidents, G.W. Bush and Barack Obama, to local school board members jumped onto the shiny new Disrupter bandwagons.  It never occurred to them that America’s children were  Guinea pigs.  Disruption is not healthy for children. Using children to experiment with the profit-motive in education is an insane idea.