Diane Ravitch reverses herself

Today Diane Ravitch appeared on npr and reversed her previous stands on education. This is huge because she was the darling of the conservatives, a highly respected scholar of education who backed their criticisms of public schools. On listservs she was quoted by conservatives in defense of their agenda and that was difficult to counter due to her reputation.

Now she says NCLB is a bust, focus on high stakes testing leads to cheating and a distortion of the data, unfairness demoralizes students and staff, and the agenda of the critics is to privatize education for their own purposes, either ideological or financial.

I only wish she had spoken more to the religious agenda. We already know that numbers of think tank denizens have investments in private companies out to take over whole school districts. But a big part of the motivation for this conservative agenda lies in sincere attempts to turn the country over to one religion. Yes, I know that’s laughable because once this has been accomplished, then each denomination and branch of denominations will fight for supremacy. In the meantime, however, they will have destroyed our education system.

The vehemence with which she rejected her earlier positions was remarkable. I want to get her book and I hope she reveals some of the machinations of the enemies of public education and I hope, too, that she tells us what she thinks of scholars like David Berliner who have established the excellence of our public schools where the children come form homes conducive to success in school: less stress, economic viability, personal security, cultural congruence with the school culture, and accessability.

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