Monday, March 5, 2012

Ravitch in Lafayette: Education gimmicks don't work

The Louisiana School Boards Association got a good dose of Diane Ravitch at their convention in Lafayette last week. As reported here by Mike Hasten in the Lafayette Advertiser, Ravitch told the gathered school board members that school reform gimmicks like vouchers, charter schools and high-stakes testing "don't work."

Ravitch is a veteran educator, established researcher and former official in both the George W. Bush and Obama education departments. Once a supporter of those education options, she has come to believe that they are unworkable fads or, worse, tricks aimed at privatizing education and funneling public funds into corporate coffers.

She obviously touched a nerve with Louisiana's new State Superintendent of Education, the relatively inexperienced John White.

His response to her comments - "It's an insult to talk about educators and parents as though they were corporate pawns" - misses the point. Nobody's accusing parents and educators of being corporate pawns. It could be said that those who promote vouchers and other forms of privatization are corporate shills, however.

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