Thursday, October 7, 2010


When billionaires' goals do harm

Richard Rothstein is a research associate of the Economic Policy Institute and a former education columnist at The New York Times. I often use his book, Class and Schools, in my Sociology of Education course. In this N.Y. Times Opinion piece, Rothstein shows how the growing influence of billionaire philanthropists over public education and school reform violates democratic control of the schools.
We should reconsider our infatuation with billionaires substituting philanthropy (and their own personal judgment about the public good) for taxes and democratic control. Mark Zuckerberg should join Bill Gates, Sr., Warren Buffett, and several other magnates in supporting higher taxes on the wealthy.
The Chicago model
The progress of the Chicago district has been closely watched by educators nationwide because it formed the basis of President Barack Obama's national education agenda. The push for charter schools, merit pay for teachers and closing failing schools are strategies former city schools chief and now U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan tried out in Chicago.  (Stephanie Banchero, Wall Street Journal)

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