Public education has become big business. Privatizing schools could yield profits worth hundreds of billions. Diane Ravitch says that has to stop. As an assistant secretary of education under the first President Bush, she was an advocate of school choice and charter schools and supported the No Child Left Behind initiative of the second President Bush. But after careful investigation, she changed her mind, and has become, according to Salon.com, "the nation's highest profile opponent" of charter-based education. On this week's Moyers & Company (check local listings), she tells Bill Moyers, "Privatizing public education is not a good project... [Instead] we should all do what we can to first of all address the most serious problem in America, which is the huge gaps of income, the huge inequalities gap in both wealth and income." She believes, "Where our public schools are in trouble it's because the community's in trouble. And instead of breaking up public schools and sending the kids off into the hands of some entrepreneurs, we should be addressing those problems, the needs and problems of the children." Public education, she says, "is one of the foundation stones of our democracy. So an attack on public education is an attack on democracy." Diane Ravitch is America's preeminent historian of public education. Her newest book is Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America's Public Schools.
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Episode #312 / Length: 26 minutes