I finished reading Reign of Error as my family explored Colorado’s beauty, not long after stopping at 12,180 feet above sea level, overlooking the Continental Divide and Trail Ridge Road. That eagle’s view of beauty, and my mind’s view of America, made the book even more special. From that vantage point, with Diane’s information filling my head, I thought of the America We The People know. A land composed of small, working communities – some communities within communities – all focused on the future, human betterment, and our children. Focused on The American Dream, and why it is possible for the humbled masses to achieve freedom and hope. Even in ghettos and depressed areas, one can observe the communities of concerned people who want to better their lives. This is the America that, due to its community schools, rose to be one of the most powerful positive forces for mankind on Earth.
American communities are democratically operating groups of citizens who tax themselves to pay for bond issues to build schools and who vote to pay taxes to provide better education for all. They do not do this for the wealthy or for those who want access to our tax dollars for personal or corporate profit. They do this because they know that education is their access to the dream.
As our failed political-economic system has allowed a few to accumulate the nation’s wealth, those few, by nature of their power, work to destroy the voice of the people. To maintain their power, they destroy communities and their schools, and any form of democracy – i.e., elected school boards. They force top-down coercive destruction that squashes the hopes and dreams of the people – i.e., the present US Department of Education, Pearson, Melinda and Bill Gates, Eli Broad, and several dozen more destructors. They buy and manipulate elected officials, subverting Democracy – i.e., ALEC and a list of individuals like the Koch Brothers. They have taken over and destroyed education, communities, and workers – i.e., Wisconsin, Arizona, North Carolina, Louisiana , and parts of NY City, Pennsylvania ,and Ohio, to name a few. It seems to many that Americans will soon be enslaved by the few.
AND THEN, a respected educational historian and educator, a leader who has ‘been there and done that,’ a seasoned professional who operates on facts, not fact-adverse ideology, comes to the fore in America as an elder with wisdom. She is strong and brave enough to put her facts, ideas, and observations in writing where others can critique them. Now we have a guide for every American who fights for freedom, equal opportunity for all, and the democratic process.
Her book, Reign of Error, addresses the issues before us all. It is a book a superintendent of schools can pick up and find answers about the forces undermining educators and public schools in her community. It is a book for parents who are bombarded with for-profit misinformation about schools of choice and so-called Virtual Schools that are not schools at all. It is a book for the President of the United States of America, and, hopefully, his shame at what has been done to educators and children on his watch won’t defeat the reasons so many Americans believe in him, or a legacy we can all be proud of.
The people of America, in order to preserve a vital and necessary public education system, now have a source of correct information. The few will fight to destroy the America of the people, but We The People are stronger and we can stop the stupidity and greed, heal the damaged teachers and community schools, and come out of the reign of error with improved schools, and the freedom to elect our leaders and work to serve every American.
Thank you, Diane Ravitch!