The education reforms the U.S. has applied within the last decade have not only failed to remedy the existing educational lag in public schools, but have also brought the system to an apparent point of no return. The case in Chicago is representative of this, where about 50 schools were suddenly closed last May because of a deficit of millions of dollars in operating costs, causing multiple strikes and protests among citizens. Significantly, those mainly affected by the closings are children in Latin- and African-American neighborhoods who may now fall months behind in school.
The closings in Chicago — which represent 10 percent of all schools in the city — form part of a much larger phenomenon in the U.S. caused by education reforms similar to those recently applied in our own country — reforms with such a reductionist approach to teaching and academic evaluation that they are useless in eradicating learning gaps. These gaps are getting deeper and deeper in the U.S. education system and have created a certain business opportunity — charter schools. Students affected by the closures in Chicago will be reassigned to charter schools, which benefit from public resources but are run by private administrators, a clear example of the shameless, massive privatization of education in America.
With evidence of an education model that does not even work in its country of origin and goes against the whole idea of what public education is supposed to be, it seems incomprehensible to put the same practices into use here in our own country, where conditions of social inequality are even more accentuated than in America, and anger with state-run institutions, which are far weaker and more disorganized than those north of the Rio Bravo, could lead to an ungovernable society.
To take on the problems of the education system, we must abandon the economically predatory model of education still in use, work to balance out socioeconomic inequalities, introduce a new rationality and welfare to the economy and, above all, stop abandoning the education budget as the recent administration has done. The policies of government officials touch on none of these points and give society no reasons to expect any improvement in the education system. They constitute only a slick design to pass off the responsibility to private hands, a responsibility that, according to the constitution, belongs to the state.