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Equitable Educational Opportunities in the U.S. Public Schools

by Adekunle Lawal  
4/16/2016 / Education


According to a Wikipedia article (May, 2015), American public education is universally available at the K-12 level, and is available at state colleges and universities for those students who can afford to pay for it. The article further states that K-12 public school curricula, budgets, and policies are set through locally elected school boards, who have jurisdiction over individual school districts. According to the article, state governments set overall educational standards, often mandate standardized tests for K-12 public school systems, and supervise, usually through a board of regents, state colleges and universities.

As a matter of fact, public education in the U.S. is available for every American child regardless of race, religion, culture, political affiliation, social and economic status. So it is an institution that provides quality of education for free, at K-12 level. I think children in the U.S. are very fortunate to have access to such educational opportunities. In West African countries K-12 public education is not free at all. Parents are expected to pay for the education of their children. There is no any legislation in the West African nations that compels parents to send their children to school. Unlike American parents who are obliged under the U.S. constitution to send their children to school without any restrictions, after all, the public education is free.

In Nigeria, a West African country, where I was born and attended all my education from Elementary school to College level, education is very expensive. Some schools are called public simply because they were established by the Nigerian government. In terms of tuition fees there are no much differences between the public schools and private schools in Nigeria. Every Nigerian student pays tuition fees; it does not matter whether such child attends a public school or private school. Therefore, it is not a surprise at all to see a large number of youths that are not attending any school. Some of them work to earn money to pay for their tuition fees. About 25% of the Nigerian populations are stark illiterates. Poverty is a major factor that draws many children away from schools.

Meanwhile, in The Gambia, another West African country where I taught as a classroom teacher in a Middle school for eleven years; k-12 public education is free for girls only. This is so, because the government discovered that many young girls in The Gambia were given out for marriage at tender age. It was very common in The Gambia to see a young girl of 10, 12 years old and above getting married while their boy counterparts are attending schools. Gambian parents are ready to spend their fortune on male children, they believe that males retain the family names when they grow up; so they want educated and knowledgeable grown men to become future family leaders and retain their ancestral names. On the other hands, Gambian parents believe that money spent on girls' education is useless; according to them, girls do carry away resources spent on them to benefit their spouse's family. To them, this is wastage!

In order to rescue the girls from this barbaric tradition in The Gambia, the government decided to fund the education of all girls in K-12 both from public and private schools in the country. Initially, all Gambian children, both boys and girls paid for their tuition fees, but the number of girls was so minimal, like ratio 1: 8 for the school girls and boys in the country. In 1994, the current democratic government came into power, under the leadership of President Yahya A. J. J. Jammmeh. The president advocated for free education for girls in order to increase the number of girls in the nation's schools. Boys were left to continue to pay tuition fees, after all, Gambian parents were ready to pay for their boys. The government's strategy actually worked; in 2004, ten years after the introduction of free education for girls, the number of school girls rose dramatically, the ratio was 1: 1. This was miraculous! And it was true. In 2011, seventeen years after the introduction of the girls' education, according to the government's report, the ratio of the school girls to boys in the nation was 1.5: 1; the girls are currently more than the boys. The Gambian parents now send their girls to school because it is free. This attitude points out that the Gambian parents do not mind wasting government money based on their definition of wastage. Secondly, the attitude shows us the level of ignorance among the Gambian parents, and lack of interest in the welfare of their female children.

Comparing the U.S. public educational system with the two West African countries that I described above, we discover that American students are in the good hands of caring public educational system. Unfortunately, recently, according to Ravitch (2013), a bipartisan consensus arose about educational policy in the United States. She claims that right and left, Democrats and Republicans, the leading members of our political class and media elite seemed to agree that this Public education which is the haven of American children is broken down. According to Ravitch, the propaganda claims that American students are not learning enough, public schools are bad and getting worse. American students are being beaten by other nations with higher test scores. So the propagandists proposed, according to Ravitch, that schools must be closed and large numbers of teachers fired. The propagandists defended their proposal by saying that anyone who doubts this is unaware of the dimensions of the crisis.

American Public Education

In order to respond to the so-called U.S. public education crisis, according to Ravitch (2013), some people who claimed to be educational reformers announced that they have a ready path for solving the crisis. They suggested that since teachers are the problem, their job protections must be eliminated and teachers must be fired. Moreover, according to them, teachers' unions must be opposed at every turn. Ravitch claims that the "reformers" say they want excellent education for all, they want great teachers; they want to "close the achievement gap:" they want innovation and effectiveness; they want best of everything for everyone. According to Ravitch, they pursue these universally admired goals by privatizing education, lowering the qualifications for future teachers, replacing teachers with technology, increasing class sizes, endorsing for-profit organizations to manage schools, using carrots and sticks to motivate teachers, and elevating standardized test scores as the ultimate measure of education quality.

Ravitch further claims that "reform" used by these people is really a misnomer, because the advocates for this cause seek not to reform public education but to transform it into an entrepreneurial sector of the economy. I think this description fits perfectly with Nigerian public educational sector. Currently, Nigerian public education is in the hands of business men and women in the country; they contribute a lot of money into the public education in order to make gains out of it at the end of the day. So they turn public sector into private property where money can be made out of poor people in the country.

Ravitch emphatically claims that the "reform" movement is really a "corporate reform" movement, funded to a large degree by major foundations, Wall Street hedge fund managers, entrepreneurs, and the U.S. Department of Education. According to Ravitch, the movement is determined to cut costs and maximize competition among schools and among teachers. For Ravitch, the reform seeks to eliminate the geographically based system of public education as the Americans have known it for the past 150 years and replace it with a competitive market-based system of school choice one that includes traditional public schools, privately managed charter schools, religious schools, voucher schools, for-profit schools, virtual schools, and for-profit vendors of instruction. According to Ravitch, lacking any geographic boundaries, these schools would compete for customers. The customers would choose to send their children and their public funding wherever they wish, based on personal preference or on information such as the schools' test scores and a better grade conferred by the state (based largely on test scores).

Ravitch identifies charter schools as one of the corporate reforms that claim that they have ready-made solutions to fix the problems of American public school system. According to Ravitch, they claim that charter schools will revolutionize American education by their freedom to innovate and produce dramatically better results. Meanwhile, in reality, according to Ravitch, charter schools run the gamut from excellent to awful and are, on average, no more innovative or successful than public schools. Ravitch states that the goals of Charter schools founder, Albert Shanker, were quite different from what is happening in America today. According to Ravitch, in 1988, Shanker was trying to figure out what to do about the large number of students who were disengaged, who dropped out of school, or who sat sullenly in their classrooms, apparently indifferent to instruction. His idea, according to Ravitch, was that a group of six or eight teachers in a school might collaborate on designing a new sort of school for these students, then go to their colleagues in the school and ask for their approval. I think Shanker had a good intention towards those academically poor students.

Surprisingly, according to Ravitch, the charter schools of these days are different from what Shanker had in mind. Ravitch states that charter schools are now composed of thousands of different entities, it is impossible to make a generalization that applies equally to all charters. Ravitch claims that some are run like military boot camps, with rigidly applied rules of behavior. She further observes that some are progressive in pedagogy and tone. A few are dedicated to the needs of autistic children and others with disabilities.

Ravitch claims that charter schools are deregulated and free from most state laws other than those governing health and safety. She observes that charter schools are funded with taxpayer dollars; some receive additional private-sector support and spend more than local public schools. For Ravitch, with encouragement and funding by the federal government, major corporations, and the big foundations, the charter sector has become a bustling enterprise zone for entrepreneurs, consisting of both nonprofit and for-profit organizations. For the reformers, according to Ravitch, Albert Shanker's idea that charter schools would collaborate with the public schools was obsolete. In the new era, the watchword for charters was competition, not collaboration.

In my opinion, I think American charter schools and public schools in Nigeria are in this same category. It is because public schools in Nigeria are in the hands of entrepreneurs, just like charters schools are in the hands of American business gurus to make profits. I think it is a big mistake to think that charter schools are actual public schools. They are not. The real public schools are run and fund by the government. And the schools are not run for profits as charter schools and Nigerian public schools are being operated.

Furthermore, according to Ravitch, the most unexpected supporter of corporate reform was President Barack Obama. For her, educators enthusiastically supported Obama, expecting that he would eliminate the noxious policies of President Bush's No Child Left Behind. She observes that the people wrongly assumed that the Obama administration would adopt policies that responded to the needs of children rather than concentrating on testing and accountability. But unfortunately, the President introduced a worse reform called Race to the Top. Ravitch claims that there was very little difference between Race to the Top and No Child Left Behind. For her, it is because the Obama program preserved testing, accountability, and choice at the center of the federal agenda. According to Ravitch, Race to the Top was even more punitive than No Child Left Behind. Obama's program insist that states evaluate teachers in relation to the best scores of their students, which made standardized testing even more important than it was under No Child Left Behind program.

For Ravitch, the solutions to American public school system are not corporate reforms; the policies clearly cause more problems in education than providing solutions as the reformers claim. I am in support of the recommendations given by Ravitch, she states that in order to solve the problem of failures in the public schools, American children need prekindergarten classes that teach them how to socialize with others. For her, teachers should write their own tests and standardized tests only for diagnostic purposes. She claims that classes should be small enough ideally fewer than twenty so that students get the individual attention they need from their teacher. She further proposes that teachers should be well-educated and well-prepared for their profession.

Standardized Testing in American Schools

Concerning corporate reforms and standardized tests that tag along with the policies, Apple (2006) has some contributions to make into the discussion. He identifies No Child Left Behind program as a corporate reform. Apple states that No Child Left Behind was passed by the Congress in 2001 and signed by President Bush in January 2002. According to him, NCLB defines its success and failures based on the scores on standardized achievement tests.

In order to support his point of argument, Apple quoted from Leaving Children Behind written by Valenzuela (2005). Valenzuela claims that the dramatic educational improvement attributed to Texas's system of accountability is questionable. For him, the state's methodology of collecting and reporting educational data, including the critically important high stakes test scores, hide as much as they reveal. I think the author has sound knowledge of what he is talking about because he provides evidences to support his claim. Valenzuela states that when the focus is shifted to Texas students' performance on nationwide tests such as the American College Test (ACT) and the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) 1, or when sky-rocketing dropout and projected retention rates are factored in, the State's educational improvement looks like a mirage. I believe this is embarrassing and ridiculous. This deceptive way of inflating scores is generally practiced in Nigeria and The Gambia. The standardized tests in these West African countries are high-stakes for students, not for their teachers. Students who score good test results get promoted to the next grade, and a student who scores poor test result is asked to repeat the class until he gets the pass marks. Based on this information, students try all means to get promoted to the next grade. Some of them cheat during the examinations; some bribe their teachers with money to inflate their scores.

Obviously, the scores are inflated for different reasons; in the U.S., the scores are inflated to show that adequate learning took place in the classroom, and teachers are afraid of being fired for the students' poor performance. While in The Gambia and Nigeria, teachers inflate the scores because they want to favor their students. The poor test performance of students has nothing to do with the teachers' salaries. Actually, the West African teachers in both public and private schools enjoy autonomy regarding with their teaching contracts; no threats whatsoever from their employers for students' poor academic performance. I believe the American teachers in the olden days enjoyed such autonomy; unfortunately, the educational reformers of nowadays have thrown away such teachers' autonomy in the K-12 public education system.

In Nigerian and Gambian educational systems, when a student is caught cheating during the state examination, and he or she is 18 years old or above, the student is imprisoned for 10 years if found guilty in the court of law. If the student is a minor, his or her examination paper will be cancelled, and will be asked to repeat that grade as punishment. Any teacher caught in this shameful act of inflating scores risks the punishment of being fired and imprisoned for 21 years. Oh yes! Cheating and inflation of scores are taken serious in West African countries. Likewise, if culprits of scores inflation are punished in Africa, then their counterparts in the U.S. should be punished too. So I would like to suggest that all educational officials that were involved in the Texas' "miracle" should be prosecuted. They misled the public by giving incorrect data concerning the Test Scores. According to Apple, the State's irresponsible action made many children to be left behind, especially our poorest children and children of color. Apple claims that Texas State "creatively" finds ways of excluding thousands of students from taking the actual tests. Surprisingly, Apple exclaims that the evaluation community is aware of the problems associated with high stakes testing and with using tests inappropriately. I wonder aloud why U.S. Department of Education continues to support Texas manipulated results, and even goes to the extent of recommending and imposing it on other schools. This is quite unacceptable, and very destructive to the U.S. public education system.

Conclusively, according to Wayne Au (2015), despite the ubiquity and hegemony of high-stakes, standardized testing is an education policy today, it is important to understand that there has always been significant resistance. Despite all these resistances from all sections of the society, Au observes that the testing juggernaut speeds ahead, but the writer comforts us by claiming that there is one thing that should give us hope. He affirms that the failures of the No Child Left Behind era are clear, the price of conceding to the requirements of Race to the Top is being questioned, and the popular pushback against the Common Core Standards (along with the impending threat of national testing that those standards bring) have all come together to shift the commonsense consciousness of many parents, teachers, and students.

Considering appropriate solution for the inflation of test scores in the U.S. educational system, I think I would like to explore Valenzuela's workable alternatives approach to solve the problem of manipulating test scores. According to him, the approach suggests that standardized tests in literacy and numeracy are given, but their use is limited and complemented by a wide array of other information student exhibitions, portfolios, products, and performance tasks. That sounds plausible and realistic to me.

Democratic Schools in the U.S.

Beane and Apple (2007) state that democratic schools, like democracy itself, do not happen by chance. According to them, the schools result from explicit attempts by educators to put in place arrangements and opportunities that will bring democracy to life. The authors observe that these arrangements and opportunities involve two lines of work. For them, one is to create democratic structures and process by which life in the school is carried out. The other is to create a curriculum that will give young people democratic experiences. Concerning the creation of democratic structures in the school, Beane and Apple state that in a democratic school it is true that all of those directly involved in the school, including young people, have the right to participate in the process of decision making. For them, for this reason, democratic schools are marked by widespread participation in issues of governance and policy making. According to the authors, committees, councils, and other school-wide decision-making groups include not only professional educators but also young people, their parents, and other members of the school community.

According to Beane and Apple, in classrooms, young people and teacher engage in collaborative planning, reaching decisions that respond to the concerns, aspirations, and interests of both. For the authors, this kind of democratic planning at both the school and the classroom levels, is not the "engineering of consent" toward predetermined decisions that has too often created the illusion of democracy, but a genuine attempt to honor the right of people to participate in making decisions that affect their lives. Beane and Apple observe that this set of commitments has been demonstrated to work in powerful ways in the United States and some other developed countries.

Beane and Apple further state that in all the necessary structural arrangements, and in the policy decisions that support them, people in democratic schools persistently emphasize structural equity. For them, while initial access to educational opportunities is understood to be a necessary aspect of democratic schools, access alone is not considered sufficient for their realization. The authors observe that, in an authentically democratic community, all young people are also considered to have the right of access to all programs in the school and to the outcomes the school values.

For this reason, according to Beane and Apple, those in democratic schools seek to assure that the schools include no institutional barriers to young people. Citing Oakes 2005, the authors claim that in order to make this ideology reality, every effort is made to eliminate tracking, biased testing, and other arrangements that so often deny such access on grounds of race, gender, and socioeconomic class.

Unfortunately, this kind of commitments does not work in schools in West African countries. In Nigeria, only the school administrator and teachers make important decisions that affect every life in the school. The same attitude is found in The Gambia schools. The Nigerian and Gambian teachers believe that their K-12 students are not matured to make any sensible contributions to the school decision making. Moreover, the parents of the students are not invited when decision is to be made; the teachers believe that the parents are ignorant of the significance of the matter in discussion, even when the decision directly affects them and their children who are the students at the school.

This attitude is not only limited to K-12 schools in West African countries, it is also practiced in their colleges. At best, at the college level, the teachers and administrators set the scene as "engineering of consent" toward predetermined decisions. Any contribution made during the meeting where the college students are invited is treated as immature and inconsequential. Most often, the college students are not invited to the school decision meetings, and their opinion is never solicited for; the decision is made by the school authorities and the students are expected to abide by it. Students' protest and resistance against a school decision is frown at by the society, and any student caught in such act may be suspended or rusticated from the school.

Considering a democratic curriculum as the second necessary resource needed in democratic schools, Beane and Apple state that since democracy involves the informed consent of people, a democratic curriculum emphasizes access to a wide range of information and the right of those of varied opinion to have their viewpoints heard. The authors observe that educators in a democratic society have an obligation to help young people seek out a range of ideas and to voice their own. The authors further describe a democratic curriculum as learning resource that seeks to move beyond the "selective tradition" of knowledge and meanings endorsed by the dominant culture, toward a wider range of views and voices. Emphatically, Beane and Apple state that in a democratic society, no one individual or interest group can claim sole ownership of possible knowledge and meaning.

The authors further observe that since democracy involves the informed consent of people, a democratic curriculum emphasizes access to a wide range of information and the right of those of varied opinion to have their viewpoints heard. For Beane and Apple, educators in a democratic society have an obligation to help young people seek out a range of ideas and to voice their own. Furthermore, according to the authors, teachers have a right to have their voices heard in creating the curriculum, especially which intended for the particular young people they work with. For them, even the casual of observers cannot help but notice that this right has been seriously eroded over the past several decades as curriculum decisions and even specific curriculum plans have been centralized in state and district offices of education.

According to them, citing Beane 2005, a democratic curriculum included not only what adults think is important, but also the questions and concerns that young people have about themselves and their world. Moreover, the authors claim that a democratic curriculum invites young people to shed the passive role of knowledge consumers and assume the active role of "meaning makers." For them, the curriculum recognizes that people acquire knowledge by both studying external resources and engaging in complex activities that require them to construct their own knowledge.

Likewise, Barbara L. Brodhagen (2007), describes a democratic school as a school that involves students in all aspects of classroom life, including curriculum planning. She claims that the ideal curriculum for a democratic school is integrative curriculum. According to her, the curriculum provides the theoretical framework that involves students planning their learning with their teachers, and teaching their hobbies and interests to one another. For her, integrative curriculum, planning with students, cooperative learning, team teaching all were part of what she thinks would help bring about successful teaching and learning experiences for teachers and students, including students labelled learning disabled. In other words, the curriculum preserves democratic school practices that emphasize equity for all students rather than special groupings, programs, and classes for a privileged few.

I think I want to agree with Beane and Apple's views on democratic schools, and Barbara's postulation of integrative curriculum as an ideal curriculum in a democratic school. Considering the democratic structures and democratic curriculum as important resources in democratic schools, I think students will be able to learn in a conducive atmosphere. It is not only students that benefit from this, it will surely have a great and positive impact in the society at large. Most unfortunately again, this idea of involving students in construction of the school curriculum does not happen in Africa. Only teachers have right to draw curriculum for students; the African teachers believe that students have no idea of what they should be taught. Secondly, the teachers believe curriculum is their sole duty as authorities over their students, so if the students are now invited to sit together with their teachers drawing up the curriculum for the next academic year, they believe that, in doing so, they have lost their authorities over the students. For them, this can even lead to disrespect attitudes from the students towards the teachers; and they want none of it.

Larry Rosenstock and Adria Steinberg (2007), and respectively Director and Academic Coordinator of the Rindge School of Technical Arts in Cambridge, Massachusetts, describe Rindge School of Technical Arts which was opened in 1888 as the first public vocational high school in Massachusetts, and the second in the United States. The authors claim that the school was built with funds provided by a local industrialist named Frederick Rindge. According to Resenstock and Steinberg and by citing Carnoy and Levin 1985, 94; they claim that Frederick Rindge acted out of a democratic impulse, yet helped create a mechanism for the "sorting of students by their evident and probable destinies." For the authors, the groundwork for Rindge's generous bequest had been laid fifty years earlier in Massachusetts, when the State Board of Education, led by Horace Mann, argued that the Common Schools system should be expanded to bring together in the schools children from all backgrounds.

Moreover, Resenstock and Steinberg believe that the goal of CityWorks projects, a course of study at the Rindge School of Technical Arts, is to help students understand their community and its needs, and ultimately to see themselves as people who can affect that community and create new opportunities for themselves and others who live or work there. The authors observe that at CityWorks, teachers work in the autonomous isolation of their shops or classrooms; so, students suffer from low expectations and minimal or diluted academics. According to Resenstock and Steinberg, and citing Rosenstock 1991, this system, unchanged since its original design for the industrial and revolution over a hundred years ago, is based on the outdated and undemocratic premise that fifteen-year-olds of lower-income families should predict their adult occupation.

Interestingly, Resenstock and Steinberg note that in choosing CityWorks, we rejected the purely consumerist notion of democracy so prevalent in American high schools today, which is that schools offering the most options in courses and shops are best even if these offerings are shallow and force students into a track. According to the authors, their goal was to move toward a more participatory model where teachers work together toward the collective interests of the students and the school; where students are engaged, active participants in their learning and in their community; and where parents and community members have real roles in the school's programs. I think this is what we call a democratic school.

In West African countries, especially Nigeria and Gambia, students in vocational schools are believed to be stupid students that did not do well academically in the regular schools, so they were dumped in vocational schools to learn some handiworks that will create little income for them when they graduate from the school. I know that this idea is wrong, and I know that some students desire to be in vocational schools not because they are stupid, but to acquire knowledge and skills in their dreamed occupation.

Moreover, in West Africa, when such students graduate from vocational schools, they hardly find any company to employ them. Majority of the companies in Nigeria and Gambia prefer to hire college graduates that studied the same course that vocational student studied. This is frustrating!

Deborah Meier and Paul Schwarz (2007), observe that, faced with the chilling effects of bureaucratic overregulation many secondary school educators have attempted to create space for more progressive, democratic, learner-centered schools. They further note that, within the public system, these have included both complete alternative schools and schools-within-schools that share resources within a larger comprehensive secondary school. The authors claim that in either case, these are almost always smaller than traditional schools and thus better able to overcome the impersonal anonymity of large schools and create more democratic learning communities.

The authors, who also are co-directors, describe perhaps the best-known alternative school in the United States, Central Park East Secondary School in New York City. They claim that it is important to note that in addition to the "habits of mind, work, and heart" outlined in their essay, Central Park East Secondary School also prepares students for a system of rigorous statewide examinations in various subjects. According to Meier and Schwarz, the fundamental aim of Central Park East Secondary School is to teach students to use their minds well, to prepare them for a well-lived life that is productive, socially useful, and personally satisfying. For them, the school's academic program stresses intellectual achievement and emphasizes the mastery of a limited number of centrally important subjects. The authors further claim that this program goes hand in hand with an approach that emphasizes learning how to learn, how to reason, and how to investigate complex issues that require collaboration and personal responsibility.

Moreover, according to Meier and Schwarz, the final high school diploma from CPESS is not based on time spent in class or Carnegie units, but on each student's clear demonstration of achievement through the presentation of fourteen portfolios to a graduation committee. The authors further state that the school's values include high expectations, trust, a sense of personal decency, and respect for diversity. For them, the school is open to all students and expects a lot from each student.

According to Meier and Schwarz, the school is guided by the principles of the Coalition of Essential Schools, a national organization of high schools directed by Ted Sizer. The authors describe the Coalition's principles which include: First, Less is more: It is more important to know some things well than to know many things superficially. Second, Personalization: Although the course of study is unified and universal, teaching and learning are personalized. No teacher is responsible for teaching more than eighty students (forty at CPESS) or advising more than fifteen. Third, Goal Setting: High standards are set for all students. Students must clearly exhibit mastery of their school work. Fourth, Student as Worker: CPESS teachers "coach" students, encouraging them to find answers and, in effect, to teach themselves. Thus, students discover answers and solutions and learn by doing rather than by simply repeating what textbooks (or teachers) say.

For Meier and Schwarz, if the primary public responsibility and justification for tax supported schooling is raising a generation of fellow citizens, then the school of necessity must be a place where students learn the habits of mind, work, and heart that lie at the core of such a democracy. I believe strongly that all these principles being practiced at CPESS are ideal to implement in a democratic school.

Actually, I admire the hard work and zeal that both teachers and students in CPESS put together to raise a generation of fellow citizens. I do not think of any school in Nigeria or Gambia that does what CPESS does with their students. But I believe if African educators are ready to be democratic in approaching the learning and teaching in their schools, this kind of CPESS success can be achieved.

Considering the equitable opportunities that students in American public schools are enjoying, I think there should be no cause for anyone to claim that there is no equity in the U.S. public education. All students in the K-12 U.S. public schools do not pay tuition fees, the standardized testing given to them does not affect their promotion to the next grade, every student in the public schools has right to contribute to the welfare and development of his studies in a democratic set up. All these benefits elude their counterparts in West African public schools.

References

Apple, M.W. & Beane, J.A. (2007). Democratic Schools: Lesson in Powerful Education.
Heinemann: Portsmouth, NH.

Apple, M. W. (2006). Educating the "Right" Way: Markets, Standards, God, and Inequality. (2nd Edition). New York: Routledge.

Apple, M. W. & Beane, J. A. (2007). Democratic Schools: Lesson in Powerful Education. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Au, Wayne (2015). Picower, B. & Mayorga, E. (Eds.) (2015). What's Race Got to Do with it? How Current School Reform Policy Maintains Racial and Economic Inequality. New York: Peter Lang.

Brodhagen, L.Barbara. (2007). Apple, M.W. & Beane, J.A. (2007). Democratic Schools: Lesson in Powerful Education. Heinemann: Portsmouth, NH.

Meier, Deborah and Schwarz, Paul (2007). Apple, M.W. & Beane, J.A. (2007). Democratic Schools: Lesson in Powerful Education. Heinemann: Portsmouth, NH.

Picower, B. & Mayorga, E. (Eds.) (2015). What's Race Got to Do with it?: How Current School Reform Policy Maintains Racial and Economic Inequality. New York: Peter Lang.

Ravitch, D. (2013). Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America's Public Schools. New York: Knopf.

Rosenstock, Larry and Steinberg, Adria (2007). Apple, M.W. & Beane, J.A. (2007). Democratic Schools: Lesson in Powerful Education. Heinemann: Portsmouth, NH.

Valenzuela, Angela (2005). "Accountability and the Privatization Agenda." In Leaving Children Behind: How "Texas-style" Accountability Fails Latino Youth, ed. Angela Valenzuela, 1-32. State University of New York Press: Albany.

Adekunle Lawal is a Christian writer and educator. He lives in Everett, Washington. His website link is http://www.faithwriters.com/member-profile.php?id=64535

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