Many critics of our public schools imply that public education is an ugly center of failure in a largely successful society, However, singling out public schools for failure relative to other spheres of America economic and social life, such as our banking system, housing market, and medical system does not hold up on close scrutiny. Before Race to the Top and No Child Left Behind left teachers and students stressed and demoralized, our public schools may have functioned better and more equitably than those three.
If you say that our public schools didn't function all that well in our poor communities, which is true- ask yourself if they functioned any worse than our banking system, medical care system and housing market in those communities. Just look at banking. In the 1970's and 1980's.the banking system TOTALLY ABANDONED poor and working class communities where check cashing places charging exorbitant rates now serve as substitutes for banks! Perhaps that is the model for education Corporate Reformers have in mind. Or our housing market where tens of millions of families are doubled and tripled up or renting out rooms,while there are more than 13, million abandoned apartments and homes. And for medical care, have you compared life expectancy and infant mortality rates by race and class?.
We, in education, can learn a lot-- about failure and inequality-- by looking at banking, housing and medical care in the US.