Breaking new ground in studies of business involvement in schooling, Capitalizing on Disaster dissects the most powerful educational reforms and highlights their relationship to the rise of powerful think tanks and business groups. Over the past several decades, there has been a strong movement to privatize public schooling through business ventures. At the beginning of the millennium, this privatization project looked moribund as both the Edison Schools and Knowledge Universe foundered. Nonetheless, privatization is back. The new face of educational privatization replaces public schooling with EMOs, vouchers, and charter schools at an alarming rate. In both disaster and nondisaster areas, officials designate schools as failed in order to justify replacement with new, unproven models. Saltman examines how privatization policies such as No Child Left Behind are designed to deregulate schools, favoring business while undermining public oversight. Examining current policies in New Orleans, Chicago, and Iraq, Capitalizing on Disaster shows how the struggle for public schooling is essential to the struggle for a truly democratic society.
“Saltman takes an unblinking look at the insatiable and predatory greed that drives neoliberal capitalism to feed on both natural and human-made disasters for profit. He cogently demonstrates how today's form of age-old class struggles is legitimated by deceitful and self-serving corporate values and high-sounding rhetoric that seek to privatize all aspects of human existence. This is a global logic that breeds terrible loss, lasting distress, and grave affliction to those left in its wake. Saltman offers a brilliant and compelling analysis that is destined to leave its mark.”
—Angela Valenzuela, author of Subtractive Schooling: U.S.-Mexican Youth and the Politics of Caring
“What do Hurricane Katrina and the Iraq War have in common? They both represent ‘golden opportunities’ to replace destroyed public school systems with private corporations. Worse, as Kenneth Saltman clearly shows in his angry and powerful new book, while these two examples are exceptional situations, they characterize the right’s modus operandi for radical social engineering--the public to private conversion--of the public schools.”
—Gerald Bracey, Education Policy Research Unit
“Disaster capitalism signals hard times for public schools, and, by consequence, democratic public life—locally, nationally, and globally. Kenneth Saltman unflinchingly demonstrates why and how in his important new book, which is constituted by case studies of privatization efforts in post-Katrina New Orleans, post-invasion Iraq, and post-decades-of-disinvestment-and-resegregation Chicago. … the book should be read widely.”
—Christopher G. Robbins in the Journal of Educational Controversy