The Questions Education Reformers Aren’t Asking

By Mike Rose
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Mike Rose
Mike Rose is on the faculty of the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies and part of the National Academy of Education. Rose's area of expertise focuses on language, literacy, and…
Mike Rose

Part Two: Business Goes to School

This is an excerpt from Mike Rose’s book “Why School? Reclaiming Education for All of Us.”

Before the emergence of high-stakes accountability systems—and then developing in synergy with them—American business has been a major player in contemporary school reform efforts. The motivation is straightforward: to urge the preparation of a skilled workforce. Different segments of the business community have been involved in curriculum reform via blue-ribbon reports, or have fostered ties with schools leading to internships, or have donated money and equipment. Some, like the Gates or Broad Foundations, have launched major philanthropic initiatives aimed at creating particular kinds of schools. And some have donated and lobbied for overtly political causes like school vouchers.

Though each of these responses is distinct, they can all be seen—and are framed—as attempts to improve American education and create opportunity for young people. And many of them do. The language of business involvement often includes a criticism of (mostly public) schools, some deserved. But the

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