Sacramento Journalist Seth Sandronsky Reviews A Chronicle of Echoes
BOOK REVIEW/Seth Sandronsky
Education Reformers’ Playbook
Want names of and motives for public school reformers? Read A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who in the Implosion of American Public Education by Mercedes K. Schneider.
The author has skin in this game. She is a public school teacher against the corporate conquest of community-based public education. Schneider opens with a chapter on Joel Klein, former head of New York City’s Department of Education, now on the payroll of Rupert Murdoch, a billionaire media owner. In an era of growing income inequality, such corporatists and reformers are two sides of the same coin, according to Schneider.
Her evidence for this assertion is compelling. The implications are chilling.
Klein is not a former teacher. On his watch, the Big Apple’s public schools fell prey to reforms that benefit private interests, a trend that runs a red line throughout Schneider’s whistleblowing book.
She follows the pattern of reformers’ high-minded words and profit-driven deeds doggedly. Not trained as an investigative journalist, Schneider shines bright lights on the acquisitive structure of the deception and misrepresentation that is today’s reform of public education.
What accounts for the reformers’ success is not actual facts but copious greenbacks from wealthy interests. Schneider tracks these dollars that buy political influence, with 88 pages of Endnotes.
Call this class war. And according to billionaire investor Warren Buffet, his class is winning. Funding this conflict are venture philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates, Eli and Edythe Broad, and the Walton Family foundation. They fund Democratic and GOP lawmakers, think tanks (Fordham Institute) and advocacy groups (National Council on Teacher Quality), a partial list of recipients.
These three billionaire funders are powerful interests. In a capitalist society, they have the dollars to get what they want and want what they get.
To read the rest of Sandronsky’s review as it will appear on the August 1, 2014, in the Progressive Populist, click here.
Seth Sandronsky is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Race and Class, Review of Radical Political Economics, Sacramento News & Review and Z Magazine, among other publications. He lives and writes in Sacramento, Calif., and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.