Death by a thousand cuts: the story of privatising public education in the USA

Autumn 2018

The strong commitment of Americans to public education has been under assault since the resurgence of laissez-faire economics in the 1980s and the decline of government commitment to racial integration. The right’s education reform movement has run an ongoing campaign to convince Americans that public schools are failing and win support for policies that transfer public resources to privately run schools. It has also organised massive funding for political candidates who support privatisation. Two key policies have been at the centre of this strategy - the setting up of charter schools and the promotion of publicly funded voucher schemes. Both these policies continue to be heavily supported by the right, even though the evidence shows that they have resulted in academic failures, widespread corruption and increased racial and economic segregation.