Charter School Magnate Wants to End Local School Boards: Democracy is the Problem

Diane Ravitch, 3/14/14

Reed Hastings, the founder and CEO of Netflix, is a major player in the corporate reform movement.

He is on the board of various charter schools and charter chains, including Rocketship and KIPP.

The organization fighting the proliferation of Rocketship charters forwarded his address to the California Charter School Association:

Watch the 2 minute synopsis video.

Get the story and the full keynote.

The long-term goal is to replace most locally elected school boards with charters, all operated by independent boards, all competing for higher test scores.

And the longer term goal is to replace our present system of democratically-controlled schools by a system of privately-managed charters.

Underlying this plan is the assumption that the main problem in American education is democracy, since school boards are elected.

Other corporate reformers prefer mayoral control or governor control, whereby a single chief executive can override objections to open charters at will.

ALEC has pushed the idea of a state charter panel, appointed by the governor (and sometimes the legislature), whose decisions override local control.

The problem with school boards is that the local populace can replace them by vote.

In other words, as Chubb and Moe argued 25 years ago in their book advocating for vouchers, Politics, Markets, and Schools, markets are better than democracy.

No high-performing nation in the world has handed its schools over to private management; instead, they have a strong and equitable public school system, with a respected teaching profession and a well-prepared staff.

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