Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Ravitch tackles fads, movements and reforms

Diane Ravitch started out as a supporter of President George W. Bush's No Child Left Behind Act. But she, like most teachers who have encountered the beast, now lumps it with the other "fads, movements and reforms" that distract us from real educational improvement.

In a USA Today article, education reporter Greg Toppo writes about Ravitch's conversion from a NCLB supporter to an extreme skeptic. And it's not just NCLB that raises Ravitch's hackles - the charter school movement, she says, is a "far cry" from the vision of the late AFT President Al Shanker, who saw the potential of charters as "laboratories of innovation within existing public schools."

As reported by Toppo, Ravitch says that charter schools "cherry-pick a neighborhood's best students and kick out under-performers, forcing surrounding public schools to teach a depleted talent pool."

Ravitch, whose blog is on EdLog's list of interesting links, has a new book on the market, The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice are Undermining Education. It promises to be a great read.

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