Melanie McCabe, an English teacher at Yorktown High School in Arlington, Virginia, and an author, wrote this terrific and accurate review of SLAYING GOLIATH.

Unlike the reviewer for the New York Times, who is not a teacher and gives no hint of ever having set foot in a classroom since she finished school and college, Melanie McCabe knows full well about the billionaire-funded attacks on public schools and their teachers, which continue to seek their privatization of our public schools and to impose business ideas about closing schools based on spurious data.

Teachers get it. Teachers know that their students are being strangled by high-stakes testing and their schools are deprived of resources when forced to compete with charters and vouchers, which do not offer better education than the public schools they harm.

McCabe writes:

[Ravitch] has written a thought-provoking, painstakingly researched account of those who have sought to privatize and monetize America’s schools. She calls them the “Disrupters,” and they are indeed a foe with all the intimidating strength of Goliath. Confronting this opponent is the “Resistance”: the ordinary teachers, parents and citizens who are fighting back and winning.

Ravitch exposes the self-serving motivations of the Disrupters — many of them among the richest people in America, such as the Walton family, Bill Gates, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, the Koch brothers and Mark Zuckerberg. Their belief that schools should be operated as businesses, with private ownership and data-driven decision-making, has resulted in dismal standardized test scores, the closure of public schools and the demonizing of teachers. The charter schools they have championed and have been enriched by have not resulted in promised improvements, but instead have drained much-needed funds from struggling public schools. The Disrupters are not supporters of education, Ravitch argues; rather, they are in pursuit of the money to be made not only by running charter schools but also through involvement in such lucrative industries as student testing, educational hardware and software, curriculum development, and consulting services…

Though the history of the school reform movement and its impact on schools and students are alarming, the story Ravitch sets out to tell is not one of hand-wringing despair; rather, it is a heartening account of how teachers, parents and union leaders across the nation have been fighting against the damage caused by the Disrupters. The Resistance opposes privatization and misuse or overuse of standardized testing, and seeks adequate compensation for teachers and funding for public schools that has too long been diverted to charter schools….

Ravitch’s message is not one of gloom and doom, but rather she offers a rallying cry that shows how people everywhere are wising up and fighting back. “The great lesson of this story is that billionaires should not be allowed to buy democracy, although they are certainly trying to do so,” Ravitch writes. “The power of their money can be defeated by the power of voters.”

There is much to learn from this book, and much inspiration to be found. The book is not written as a how-to guide for the Resistance. It is a scrupulously thorough study of a tumultuous period in American education. However, the conscientious reader who seeks strategies to combat the pervasive damage done by the Disrupters will find useful information here, along with affirmation that fighting back is possible. To paraphrase one of the chapter titles, Goliath has stumbled. The reign of terror is not yet over, but it has been brought to its knees.