Education, Inc. | SLJ DVD Review

Gr 9 Up –Filmmaker Brian Malone presents cautionary evidence of the stealth privatization movement of public schools across the country.

redstarEducation, Inc. 59 min. Media Education Foundation. 2016. High schools $150. Public libraries $34.95. ISBN 9781944024000.

Gr 9 Up –Filmmaker Brian Malone presents cautionary evidence of the stealth privatization movement of public schools across the country. He documents the hostile takeover of his own Douglas County (CO) School District by allies of national organizations, who force implementation of voucher programs on the community, and the harm it has precipitated. Hostility grows as parents and teachers are stonewalled, teachers fired, pay frozen, budgets cut, communication with the school board difficult or nonexistent, school board meetings held in closed sessions, and the superintendent escorted by an armed guard at all times. Malone travels to other school systems who have implemented corporate educational reform, including Newark, NJ; San Diego; Indianapolis, IN; Chicago; and Washington, DC, to examine similar situations arise, with no “improvements” to public schools in low-income areas because vouchers allow funding to be funneled to quasi-private charter, online, and private schools. He names several wealthy individuals and organizations that politick for voucher systems, even though they are from outside the region in question. Additionally, he interviews experts who fault the 2002 No Child Left Behind legislation as it has given schools high-stakes testing that is controlled by two large companies. School systems considering implementation of school vouchers would be wisely served by viewing this film before they make that move—caveat emptor. VERDICT While this film would be useful in high school classes, it is more suited for professionals to start a conversation about educational reform, specifically the dark side of charter schools.–Stephanie Bange, Children’s Literature Consultant, Dayton This review was published in the School Library Journal February 2018 issue.

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