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Slaying Goliath

The Passionate Resistance to Privatization and the Fight to Save America’s Public Schools


Diane Ravitch (View Bio)
Hardcover: Alfred A. Knopf, 2020.

Slaying Goliath

Diane Ravitch writes of those who have privatized the schools—the Disrupters—who believe America’s schools should be run like businesses, with teachers incentivized with threats and bonuses, and schools that need to enter into the age of the gig economy in which children are treated like customers or products. She writes of the Koch brothers, the DeVos family, the Waltons (Walmart), Eli Broad, Bill Gates, Michael Bloomberg, Mark Zuckerberg, and many others, on the right and the left, as well as corporations, foundations, etc., intent on promoting the privatization of one of our most valued public institutions.

Ravitch lays out, in extensive detail, the facts showing that the ideas put forth by school privateers have failed; that their promises of higher test scores have not come to pass; that the “great hope” of Common Core has been a dud.

Arrayed against these forces, Ravitch writes of the volunteer army—the Resisters—that has sprung up from Seattle, Austin, and Denver, to Detroit, New Orleans, and Buffalo–parents, teachers, grandparents, students, bloggers, religious leaders, brave individuals, who, spurred on by conviction, courage, determination, and the power of ideas and passion, are fighting back to successfully keep alive their public schools.

"Ravitch argues that corporate-driven school reform efforts have failed in this fiery takedown of the movement’s ‘strategies of high-stakes testing, standardization, and privatization.’… [She] succeeds in making the case that ‘the root cause of poor performance in school is not “bad schools” or “bad teachers” but poverty.’ Public school advocates will take heart in Ravitch’s assessment that they’ve turned the tide against privatization." — Publishers Weekly

"An urgent appeal to prevent the privatization of our public schools. In her latest, education expert Ravitch documents the failures of the ‘disrupters’ of public education—those who wish to privatize the public system—and celebrates the work of grassroots activists resisting the push for charter schools and vouchers at the expense of the nation’s schools…. Privatization, in Ravitch’s estimation, is wrong for any number of reasons—e.g., it involves public funds with private management; it promotes segregation (race, social class, religion, etc.); it takes away funding that rightly belongs to the public schools; it ‘is a direct assault on democracy’ in that it is not answerable to elected school boards. Furthermore, there is little or no evidence that charter schools or the voucher system have resulted in higher test scores. In response to this assault on public education, there have been successful grassroots struggles, many examples of which are chronicled by Ravitch. A fervent defense of public education with abundant examples of how privatization has failed to deliver on its promises." — Kirkus Reviews

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