In a recent letter to the editor, Gen. Marc Cisneros wondered why private schools do better than public schools and suggested diverting public school funds to vouchers to send more students to private schools.
His thinking is in line with the severe criticism of public education that has been prominent in the media for the last two decades or so.
The television news analyst Chris Matthews, for example, always precedes the words "public schools" with the word "failed." There is even a forthcoming movie that celebrates the takeover of a public school by a group of parents and teachers under a parent empowerment law. One commentator said that she was happy that such manifestations of "school reform" have become cool.
The motivations of these critics are mixed. Some are doubtlessly sincere and others simply want to erode support for public schools to advance their own favored alternatives, usually school vouchers or charter schools.