This weeks reading addressed the rising trend of how philanthropy is dictating the future of American education, particularly the future of public schools. Our class witnessed how this type of philanthropy can manifest itself in the structuring of education by highlighting the importance of test scores as a way to produce citizens that will be productive in the market system. One of the the things that came up in these readings in the decline helping foster a true democracy. According to Kovacs, "In a democratic school system, parents, students, teachers, academics and business leaders would participate in curricular decisions" (Kovacs, pg. 1). The privatization of public schools, under the guise of philanthropy has stripped the public of their voice in matters relating to education. This is dangerous and troubling because we all still believe that school choice is perpetuating freedom. Shouldn't people be able to have access to good education?
It seems that this push is supposed to change how Americans are socialized. A Nation at Risk set the tone of American failure in the global system, which have steadily saturated the school system to fill the void and to have America be "on top" again. This is where democracy crumbles and corporations step in facilitate what children can and should be learning (Saltman, 57). As we saw in the Harlem Children's Zone, the school is heavy on rewarding students for having high test scores and this is seen as a positive step in the education of at risk students. These test scores are a way for they system to fortify those who they think will "make it" and those who are not fit to participate in the American workforce.
Overall, I think that America has internalized that public means socialism and heavy control from the government. Private is looked at as grassroots and an institution that is built to specifically cater to the needs of individuals. These readings have solidified that the public has been demonized, even though this system was created to create democratic citizens who are active in trying to fix problems that arise within the system. The private sphere has been glorified, but in reality it puts control in the hands of few who may have good intentions, but are governed by the market system. Do we really want to do away with dynamic and creative thinkers?
Philanthropy is a great thing. In the case of education, however, it is restricting the methods employed to improve our already broken system. NCLB and RTT cater to the needs of corporations and allows them to donate millions of dollars, which then takes funding out of the hands of the state, which allows them to make the rules on what education should look like. Another issue is that philanthropy is never scrutinized the way that these articles break down how theses foundations are gaining a lot of control; how can giving away money to needy schools be bad? Overall, the problem here is that the students who need the most help are the ones being used in this large experiment to make the market regulate every aspect of our lives. Can America afford to keep this trend in education going?