HARLEM CHILDREN’S Zone President and CEOGeoffrey Canada says the U.S. can finally win the war on poverty ”through education.” Former D.C. Public Schools Chancellor and StudentsFirst founder Michelle Rhee writes about ”ending poverty through education.”
Education Secretary Arne Duncan says: “What I fundamentally believe—and what the president believes…is that the only way to end poverty is through education.” Teach for America insists that “all students can achieve when they are invested in their education, held to high expectations, and are supported by advocates who help them overcome the challenges of poverty.”
This is the mantra of the corporate school “reform” movement, accepted across the whole spectrum of mainstream politics and in the media establishment: Fix the U.S. education system, and you fix poverty and inequality.
It seems like common sense—who, after all, would oppose better schools or helping poor children succeed?—a good-faith proposal, from those with the power to do something about it, to confront difficult problems of U.S. society.
But the mantra is false—an illusion that detracts from the real sources of, and solutions to, both poverty in the U.S. and the crisis of American public education.