Education Reform? Or Reign of Error?
By Robert Mann
Like so many business leaders, the Indiana ice cream executive was sure he knew what ailed his state’s education system. Schools weren’t being run like corporations. “If I ran my business the way you people operate your schools,” Jamie Vollmer told a group of teachers in 1991, “I wouldn’t be in business for long.”
Vollmer explained that schools, themselves, were antiquated and that educators were loath to accept accountability for their actions. His proposal: ruthlessly operate schools the way he ran his business: “Zero defects! TQM [total quality management]! Continuous improvement!”
In a remarkable new book on U.S. education “reform” — Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Schools — Diane Ravitch tells what happened next.
When he finished his speech, a teacher innocently asked about his company’s method of making the best ice cream. He boasted of its “super-premium” ingredients…
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