In this timely interdisciplinary volume, William Watkins has brought together leading scholars and activists to address some of the most urgent issues facing public education. What is underneath and behind the language of choice, efficiency, and improvement in current neoliberal discourse? How will urban and poor populations be affected? Will privatization lead to increased stratification in our schools? How can public education not only be saved but re-imagined? In accessible language, renowned contributors explore and critique corporate school reform to both inform and serve as an organizing tool for teachers, parents, students, and citizens committed to genuine public education.


Book Features:



A comprehensive critique of how corporate power is disrupting universal public education.
An illumination of how corporate school reform threatens unions, racial progress, and democracy.
An illustration of how private wealth forges public policy.
A case study of the public school system in New Orleans.

Contributors: Pauline Lipman • Kennneth Saltman • Alfie Kohn • Jack Gerson • Malila N. Robinson • Catherine A. Lugg • William H. Watkins • Ann G. Winfield • Kristen L. Buras


William H. Watkins is a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago and author of The White Architects of Black Education.


“As The Assault on Public Education makes so very clear. . . we are witnessing the growth of a destructive set of policies in education and the larger society. This book provides us with a set of articulate analyses of what the future will likely hold if we do not engage in the hard and committed labor of countering these dangerous tendencies today.” 

—From the Foreword by Michael W. Apple, University of Wisconsin–Madison


The Assault on Public Education is a powerful assemblage of scholars, practitioners, and activists who are willing to stand up to the entrenched interests arrayed against public education as we know it. This is a must read for thinking citizen scholars.” 

Gloria Ladson-Billings, University of Wisconsin-Madison


“Today is a pivotal moment for America and its schools. Teachers and others who envision schools that enhance democratic life will find critical theoretical and practical guidance in this book. Use it.” 

Daniel Perlstein, Graduate School of Education, University of California, Berkeley


“Watkins has produced an important and timely work—a much-needed corrective to the dumbing-down of educational policy discourse. The essays here offer a very real challenge to those who have confounded market-based policy with school reform and the well-being of children with the well-being of corporations.” 

Charles Payne, University of Chicago