Corporate school reforms, especially privatization, union busting, and high-stakes testing have been hailed as the last best hope for public education. Yet, as Kenneth Saltman powerfully argues in this new book, corporate school reforms have decisively failed to deliver on what their proponents have promised for two decades: higher test scores and lower costs. As Saltman illustrates, the failures of corporate school reform are far greater and more destructive than they seem. Left unchecked, corporate school reform fails to challenge and in fact worsens the most pressing problems facing public schooling, including radical funding inequalities, racial segregation, and anti-intellectualism. But it is not too late for change. Against both corporate school reformers and its liberal critics, this book argues for the expansion of democratic pedagogies and a new common school movement that will lead to broader social renewal.
"This is a must read for anyone desiring an understanding of the myths, realities, and impact of and solution to two decades of corporate school reform. Highly recommended."
“Kudos to Kenneth Saltman, who offers yet another compelling look at the devastating impact of corporate reform on public education. His cogent analysis begs the question of why we as a nation are turning education over to business when the latter is sowing the seeds of its own undoing by caving into its own destructive logic of short-term profit that compromises long-term value. To counter this recklessness, he calls for a re-centering of public education for reimagining both a political system that cannot be purchased by corporate interests, policies, and agendas and an economy that is more just, equal and democratic.”
—Angela Valenzuela, University of Texas at Austin and author of Subtractive Schooling: U.S. Mexican Youth and the Politics of Caring
“We live in a time when corporations have largely taken over the governance of our country and, consequently, we face the most organized and dangerous attack on public schooling in our nation’s history. For those wanting to understand the goals and methods of the corporate attack on public schooling, The Failure of Corporate School Reform serves as an excellent resource that deconstructs the rhetoric and methods of the corporate takeover.”
—David Hursh, University of Rochester and author of High-Stakes Testing and the Decline of Teaching and Learning: The Real Crisis in Education
“Saltman provides evidence and asks questions elite opinion makers prefer to ignore. Though they are making a few people a lot of money the ideologically driven corporate reforms of the past twenty years are, in educational terms, a manifest failure. The proper response according to Saltman is not to attempt to return to the assumptions and structures of the past. The way forward that he envisions requires the construction of a new system of common schools that is rooted in the vision of a critical democratic society. He has begun to outline a reform agenda for the new century. Bravo professor.”
—Alex Molnar, director of the Education Policy Studies Laboratory at Arizona State University and author of School Commercialism: From Democratic Ideal to Market Commodity
“The Failure of Corporate School Reform could hardly be more important a book at the current historical moment. Ken Saltman shows us not only the pitfalls of such corporate reforms for civic life and all aspects of schooling, he also offers us how we might turn the call for democratic educational reform into a reality. This is the best and most important book yet written on the swindle of corporate educational reform and should be read by everyone concerned about both public schooling, critical pedagogy, and the nature of democracy itself.”
—Henry A. Giroux, McMaster University and author of Youth in Revolt: Reclaiming a Democratic Future
"The Failure of Corporate School Reform brings one up to date on what has been happening in five clear and easily read chapters, the last offering a different path—neither the status quo nor the corporate reform path, but instead what it would take to bring up-to-date an old idea—the common school."
—From Deborah Meier on Education, deborahmeier.com
Chapter One: The Failure of Corporate School Reform