New Book Aims to Reassert the “Public” in Public Education

Professor Publishes Book on Agenda to Privatize America’s Public Schools
The End of Public SchoolsThe United States may be witnessing the end of public education. That’s the reality a professor at the University of Rochester’s Warner School of Education argues in his forthcoming book The End of Public Schools: The Corporate Reform Agenda to Privatize Education.
Scheduled to release this month by Routledge, the book uncovers and examines the effect of foundations, corporations, and nongovernmental organizations working to radically transform the face of public education. David Hursh, professor in teaching and curriculum, wrote the book to bring awareness to how reforms over the last few decades are leading to the collapse of a public school system in the United States.
Throughout the book, Hursh provides a critique of the politics behind the current school reform movement as well as details about the increasing resistance from families, teachers, and the general public. The reforms examined include efforts to cut public school funding and privatize schools through charters; hold students, teachers, and schools accountable through more high-stakes tests; change teacher tenure; and shift educational governance and control to corporate reformers. These reforms, Hursh explained, limit public control and divert more funding toward privately managed charter schools and less toward publicly governed schools.
“Education has become less public in that students, teachers, and school boards have less say over policies,” said Hursh. “The people shaping these policies are not elected officials, school boards, families, or educators involved with the schools. Instead, they are unelected and unaccountable people. Saving the public schools will require a different approach—one that supports truly democratic educational reforms focused on creating a society of trust and community.”
According to Hursh, the last 15 years of reforms in New York public schools reflect the neoliberal agenda of privatizing schools through a shift of control from the local, state, and federal levels to policies created outside the governmental sphere.  In his book, Hursh hopes to convey that the crisis in education is real, particularly for disadvantaged students.
Stephen J. Ball, the Karl Mannheim Professor of Sociology of Education at University College in the U.K., said that The End of Public Schools should be very widely read—before it is too late. “Few people have any real sense of what is happening in public education in the U.S.—how much has changed and how much is changing,” Ball explained. “Hursh documents the extent of privatization in its many forms, and the lack of transparency in or democratic oversight of the process involved. He also proposes a different vision of public education to that of the market fundamentalists.”
David Hursh  photoHursh has been writing about the U.S. education reform model of privatizing schools by creating more charter schools and increasing the number and significance of high-stakes testing. For the past 20 years, he has closely examined the politicization of standardized testing in New York State. His research on the influence of neoliberal organizations in shaping public education policy is widely cited.  Over the last two decades, he has also worked with teachers, parents, and administrators who work hard to improve schools through political activism.
Purchase The End of Public Schools on Amazon

About the Warner School of Education
Founded in 1958, the University of Rochester’s Warner School of Education offers master’s and doctoral degree programs in teaching and curriculum, school leadership, higher education, educational policy, counseling, human development, and health professions education. The Warner School of Education offers an accelerated option for its EdD programs that allows eligible students to earn a doctorate in education in as few as three years part time while holding a professional job in the same field. The Warner School of Education is recognized both regionally and nationally for its tradition of preparing practitioners and researchers to become leaders and agents of change in schools, universities, and community agencies; generating and disseminating research; and actively participating in education reform. 
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Tags: charter schools, David Hursh, high-stakes testing, Neoliberalism, privatization, public schools, research