PBS is in the midst of airing a three-part documentary, much to the displeasure of Diane Ravitch, a strong proponent of public school education. Ms. Ravitch claims that PBS’s airing of School Inc. “must be public television’s effort to curry favor with the Trump administration … It is ironic and sad that public television would lend credibility to an attack on public education.”
Neil McCluskey, director of the Cato Institute’s Center for Educational Freedom explains the folly of Ms. Ravitch’s objections.
Of course, public schooling is intentionally controlled by those with the most political power, so if one worries about PBS currying favor with Trump, one ought to be sleepless over the far more immense threats to freedom and equality under the law with government-run schools. There is, however, no meaningful evidence that PBS gives preference to libertarian or conservative programming. I would guess, if anything, such views are underrepresented. And if government is going to fund PBS, shouldn’t all viewpoints get an airing?
Cato explains School Inc. as a personal journey with Andrew Coulson, exploring the challenge to replicate educational excellence. “Why doesn’t education use innovation to grow like a successful business? School Inc. – A Personal Journey with Andrew Coulson, follows the late Andrew Coulson, series creator/writer/host and Cato Institute senior fellow, as he sets out on a worldwide personal quest for an answer to this question. Throughout the three-part, three-hour series, Coulson examines the role of innovation, the universal search for educational excellence and – for better or worse – the application of the profit motive.”