Thursday, May 6, 2010

Speaking truth to power

The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining EducationDiane Ravitch is an educational traditionalist. That hasn't changed. She still doesn't fancy herself as a progressive educator. Nor is she a fan of small schools. So why do I like her so much? With the very survival of public education hanging in the balance, Ravitch has emerged as a powerful voice on the most important issues of the day. She's become a loud, clear active force against the ownership society policies of Duncan and Bloomberg. She's speaking truth to power about testing, mass teacher firings, and school closings. Plus, she's pro-teacher and for their rights to bargain collectively. Progressive or traditionalist, how can you not like that?

In today's NYT, Richard Bernstein writes:
Ms. Ravitch’s basic idea is that the education bureaucrats, the politicians, and the heads of a group of fabulously wealthy foundations have cleaved to the latest fads and theories, most of which can be subsumed under the business model of public education. (Letters from America)
As for small schools:
Ms. Ravitch found that they have produced little in the way of measurable results. Often, as in the case of the Gates Foundation’s creation of small high schools to replace large, big-city high schools, they have brought about the opposite of what they intended. 
I'll even give her another amen on that last point.


  1. Yes, amen Diane. It's hard to argue pedagogy when the schoolhouse is burning.

  2. I just finished the book. It's excellent. She's right. Totally convincing.



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