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Diane Ravitch And The ‘Error’ Of American School Reform

Education icon Diane Ravitch championed education reform from vouchers to charter schools.  Now she champions against all that.  Calls it a mistake.  We’ll ask why.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan walks with Winston Brooks, Albuquerque Public Schools superintendent, during a tour of Emerson Elementary in Albuquerque, N.M., on Monday, Sept. 9, 2013. (AP)

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan walks with Winston Brooks, Albuquerque Public Schools superintendent, during a tour of Emerson Elementary in Albuquerque, N.M., on Monday, Sept. 9, 2013. (AP)

For years, Diane Ravitch was a big voice in hard-nosed school reform.  Working under President George H. W. Bush and after, she wanted teacher accountability.  She wanted school choice.  She wanted charter schools.  In the years that followed, we got No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, the Common Core — and lots of charter schools.  But Diane Ravitch has jumped ship.  Reform has become an attack on public education itself, she now argues.  A Trojan horse for privatization.  And the real problem is poverty.  Up next On Point:  we’re testing Diane Ravitch on testing, public schools, and more.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Diane Ravitch, U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education in the administration of George H. W. Bush, author of “Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Schools” and “The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education,” historian of education and an educational policy analyst at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development. (@DianeRavitch)

Jessica Levin, education policy advisor in the Department of Education under Bill Clinton, independent education consultant and former Chief Knowledge Officer for the New Teacher Project.

From Tom’s Reading List

New York Times: Loud Voice Fighting Tide of New Trend in Education —  “Ms. Ravitch, 75, is in the full flower of yet another stage in her career: folk hero to the left and passionate scourge of pro-business reformers. She has come to doubt the whole project of school reform, saying it will solve little without addressing poverty and segregation. ‘We know what works,’ she writes. ‘What works are the opportunities that advantaged families provide for their children.'”

Detroit Free Press: Longer Michigan Waits on Common Core, Farther Behind We Get —  “The rigorous Core standards, developed by the National Governor’s Association and adopted by Michigan in 2010, were en route to implementation in 2014. Then state Rep. Tom McMillin, R-Rochester Hills, led a successful charge to strip funding for the standards from the state’s budget. (McMillin can’t stop obsessing about local control — a piece of choice hypocrisy when one considers that McMillin also wants to pass state legislation that would bar cities from adopting human rights ordinances. So much for local control?)”
The Atlantic: Did This Little Election Strike a Big Blow to Education Reform? — “The Bridgeport primaries were the latest front in the ongoing political war over American education. It’s a fight that has become intensely polarized, with reformers like Vallas and Michelle Rhee vilified by progressives and unions who see them as working to privatize public schools and undermine teacher unions. Vallas’s opponents say he has a record of closing schools, laying off teachers, privatizing school management, raiding pension funds, and funneling taxpayer dollars to for-profit education companies with dubious track records. Vallas says that in Bridgeport, he has not closed a single school, opened a single charter, or laid off a single teacher.”

Excerpt: “Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Schools” by Diane Ravitch

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