Nancy Flanagan, retired teacher of music for 31 years in the public schools of Michigan, is also a respected blogger. Her blog, Teacher in a Strange Land, has long been a source of wisdom and reality. She writes with the authority acquired from her years in the classroom.

In this post, she writes a wonderful review of my new book SLAYING GOLIATH. Better yet, she sets it in the perspective of a decade-long debate in which the billionaires, allied with the power of the federal government, portrayed themselves as the Davids, fighting those all-powerful teachers’ unions and their members, who were the real Goliaths (said Goliath).

Is this a picture of David, slingshot in hand? The Waltons ($150 billion), the Koch brothers ($120 billion—now divided in half since the death of David Koch), billionaires Eli Broad, Betsy DeVos, Philip Anschutz, Michael Bloomberg, John Arnold, Bill Gates, on and on. The 1% is armed not with an axe or a spear but with the power of federal law, imposed by state governments.

Not only is the 1% the Goliath of the story, they are the Status Quo. Don’t believe them when they claim they are fighting the Status Quo. Nonsense. They own it. No social movement was ever created by the rich and powerful. Genuine social movements rebel against the rich and powerful. They emanate from the millions who were left behind and excluded.

Flanagan writes in her review:

Diane Ravitch’s book—Slaying Goliath: The Passionate Resistance to Privatization and the Fight to Save America’s Public Schools—arrived at my house two days ago. Like all of her other volumes, this one is already highlighted, underlined and sticky-noted to a fare-thee-well. (Apologies to school librarians everywhere.)

Ravitch’s books are like that—they’re full of juicy, provocative information and the author tells it like she sees it. When she changes her mind, she tells you that, as well. Like The Death and Life of the Great American School System (2010) and Reign of Error (2013), Goliath is time-sensitive, including the most recent teacher strikes, elections and civic rebellions, and what they accomplished. Ravitch takes the temperature of the current education zeitgeist and finds reason for hope.

What’s happening to public education in America?

Ravitch is perhaps our keenest observer, and when it comes to strong, substantiated opinions, she doesn’t hold back. Absorbing a Ravitch book gives the reader a summation of facts, players and events that put disparate events and opinion into a comprehensive framework, a detailed portrait of right now.  Think of Death and Life as a warning, Reign of Error as blistering critique–and Goliath as we’re mad as hell and not going to take it anymore…

In short, it’s a really good book. It would be invaluable to anyone who wants a rundown on how education policy has morphed, over the past two and a half decades, from a locally controlled, state-influenced institution subject to incremental,  community-driven change–to a thoroughly commercialized venture heavily influenced by would-be ‘innovators’ and a federal power-grab.

Ravitch has done us all a favor by tracing the dark roots and substantial financial support for chipping away at neighborhood schools and public education. As always, follow the money…

Ravitch provides plenty of information and examples of how the real Davids in this fight, the Resistors, are making headway, on dozens of fronts. She is unsparing in her criticism of those who would damage or destroy public education for private profit. This has not gone down well with those who have invested in reforms and trendy disruptions.

There are not many people—Disruptors, if you will—who have empowered school privatization and are now willing to admit that their ROI yields are unimpressive and propped up by shaky data. Especially since those who have been educating kids, doing the work all along—teachers and school leaders—could have told them what will and will not make a difference.  Resistors have studied school improvement, up close and personal, for more than a century. It can be done, but it won’t involve destruction. Just more hard work.

Diane Ravitch has re-framed the argument and provided evidence that the great ship of public education may be turning around. That is a great gift. Thank you.

Thank you, Nancy Flanagan. It means a lot to me to know that the real experts, the educators who spent their careers as teachers, find my book valuable. It helps me ignore the slings and arrows of pundits and Goliath’s minions.