Joanne Barkan Demonstrates How School Privatization Became Bipartisan Education Policy

“Privatizing our public schools makes as much sense as privatizing the fire department or or the police department.” – Diane Ravitch


Valerie Strauss has published a new article by Joanne Barkan, a fine writer who has over the years incisively analyzed corporate school reform and the role of venture philanthropy driving public policy in education. A version of  her new article will appear as a chapter in a book to be published next October in Britain, a chapter outlining the history of the privatization of public education in the United States.

In the new piece—a survey of the history of education privatization in the United States— Barkan shows how, since the 1950s, American politicians have been wooed by libertarian Milton Friedman and his followers to compromise our society’s commitment to publicly funded and operated schools designed to guarantee universal access for all children.

School privatization was first promoted in the 1950s by Milton Friedman, a libertarian economist at the University of Chicago. Barkan describes neoliberal (neo-libertarian) thinking as it has…

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