That education should instill and nurture democracy is an American truism. Yet organizations such as the Business Roundtable, together with conservative philanthropists such as Bill Gates and Walmart’s owners, the Waltons, have been turning public schools into corporate mills. Their top-down programs, such as Common Core State Standards, track, judge, and homogenize the minds of millions of American students from kindergarten through high school. But corporate funders would not be able to implement this educational control without the de facto partnership of government at all levels, channeling public moneys into privatization initiatives, school closings, and high-stakes testing that discourages independent thinking.
Educational Justice offers hope that there’s still time to take on corporatized schools and build democratic alternatives. Forcefully written by educator and journalist Howard Ryan, with contributing authors, the book deconstructs the corporate assault on schools, assesses the prevailing teachers union responses, and documents best teaching and organizing practices. Reports from various educational fronts include innovative union strategies against charter school expansion, as well as teaching visions drawn from the social justice and whole language traditions. Bold, informative, clearly reasoned, this book is an education in itself—a democratic one at that.