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Education – Diane Ravitch

| Blog | October 15, 2013


What’s Wrong With Our Education System

Diane Ravitch is Research Professor of Education at New York University and a historian of education.

She blogs at dianeravitch.net, a site which has had nearly 3.5 million page views in less than a year.

From 1991 to 1993, she was Assistant Secretary of Education and Counselor to Secretary of Education Lamar Alexander in the administration of President George H.W. Bush. She was responsible for the Office of Educational Research and Improvement in the U.S. Department of Education. As Assistant Secretary, she led the federal effort to promote the creation of voluntary state and national academic standards.

From 1997 to 2004, she was a member of the National Assessment Governing Board, which oversees the National Assessment of Educational Progress, the federal testing program. She was appointed by the Clinton administration’s Secretary of Education Richard Riley in 1997 and reappointed by him in 2001. From 1995 until 2005, she held the Brown Chair in Education Studies at the Brookings Institution and edited Brookings Papers on Education Policy. Before entering government service, she was Adjunct Professor of History and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University.

As former assistant secretary of education, she spent years advocating for an overhaul of the American education system. She supported the No Child Left Behind Act, the charter school movement and standardized testing.

But Ravitch recently — and very publicly — changed her mind. She looked at the data and decided that the kinds of changes she’d supported weren’t working. Now she’s a prominent critic of things like charter schools and school choice — and she’s particularly opposed to privatizing schools.

rein of error

Her new book, Reign of Error, lambastes the idea of replacing public schools with for-profit institutions. She tells NPR’s Steve Inskeep, “When people pay taxes for schools, they don’t think they’re paying off investors. They think they’re paying for smaller class sizes and better teachers.”


Diane Ravitch on the future of public education in the United States


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Get Congress Out of the Classroom

DESPITE the rosy claims of the Bush administration, the No Child Left Behind Act of 2002 is fundamentally flawed. The latest national tests, released last week, show that academic gains since 2003 have been modest, less even than those posted in the years before the law was put in place. In eighth-grade reading, there have been no gains at all since 1998.

Diane Ravitch, the education historian who built her intellectual reputation battling progressive educators and served in the first Bush administration’s Education Department, is in the final stages of an astonishing, slow-motion about-face on almost every stand she once took on American schooling.
read the full op-ed here

The Nation, Why I Changed My Mind 

Bringing “choice” and “accountability” to the education system sounded good on paper, but in reality, that effort has failed.

Conversation: Diane Ravitch
“We’re lying to our kids,” says professor and former charter school advocate and supporter of No Child Left Behind Diane Ravitch. High-stakes testing and punishing teachers for low-scoring kids is failing, according to her research; moreover, charter schools are only successful, when they are, because they can select the best students from the failing districts in which they are located.

Dan Rather Reports: No Easy Answers, “Diane Ravitch”
Dan Rather Reports, Tuesdays at 8pm ET. On the heels of “A National Disgrace,” our two-hour special presentation on the crisis in the Detroit Public Schools, this week’s program focuses on several of the most important and controversial aspects of education reform including testing, the role of teachers unions, merit pay, charter schools, school leadership, and the so-called “privatization of public education. We feature interviews with some of the country’s biggest names in education: Dr. Andres Alonso, CEO of the Baltimore City Public Schools, who has been lauded as one of the most progressive — and successful — big-city superintendents in the country; Jon Schnur, founder of New Leaders for New Schools and one of the architects of Presidents Obama’s “Race To The Top” program; Dr. Pedro Noguera, an urban sociologist and professor of education at New York University, whose scholarship examines the ways in which schools are influenced by poverty; and Diane Ravitch, former US Assistant Secretary of Education and best-selling author of more than a dozen books about public education.

Diane Ravitch Interview on No Child Left Behind
Author and education historian Diane Ravitch supported the No Child Left Behind Act in 2001. She recently spoke at EPI about why she now believes the policy poses a threat to public education. 

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