Betsy DeVos’ visit will be in a bubble of privatisation

On her UK visit, the US education secretary will see only see the privatisation of schools through those who actively pursue it. She’ll see nothing of the true scandal Tes reports.

Around 80 per cent of the charter schools – similar to academies – in her home state of  Michigan are now operated by for-profit companies.

But Michigan is falling further behind on test scores, on-time high school graduation rates and getting young adults through college or post-secondary training.

This approach is not working in the US, and it’s not working here.

In both the US and England, privatisation of the school systems has also increased the scope for financial mismanagement and scandal, again with disastrous consequences for communities.

However, during her visit to England, DeVos will see nothing of that; instead, she will be hobnobbing with the great and the good of the academy movement.

She is going to visit Grey Coat Hospital School, attended by the daughters of former prime minister David Cameron and former education secretary – and architect of the coalition government’s academies programme – Michael Gove.

DeVos will also meet with the current schools ,inister Lord Theodore Agnew, another founder of an academy chain – the Inspiration Academies Trust. Indeed, Lord Agnew was also briefly a director at Lord Nash’s chain before resigning after just two months.

These internecine connections reflect the fact that our school system is being overseen by a small clique of individuals with an ideological commitment to pursuing privatisation.

Over the past few years, these people have let down teachers, parents and pupils on a truly huge scale. As well as overseeing a hugely chaotic and expensive set of reforms in the name of school choice, the government has created an unprecedented funding crisis and a crisis in teacher recruitment and retention.

Read the full article Betsy DeVos’ visit will be in a bubble of privatisation

Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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