by David Safier
Talking Points Memo's regular Book Club feature has a piece by Diane Ravitch: Stop Doing The Wrong Things In Education. It's a short adaptation of the basic concepts in her new book, Reign of Error. She begins by discussing the conservative "education reform" narrative which has been taken up by most of the media — our schools are failing, so we need more choice (charters and vouchers) and a stronger standards/testing regimen. But, according to Ravitch,
There is only one problem with this narrative.
It is wrong.
Public education is not broken. It is not failing or declining. The diagnosis is wrong, and the solutions of the corporate reformers are wrong. Our urban schools are in trouble because of concentrated poverty and racial segregation. But public education as such is not “broken.”
On the cable TV show, Education: The Rest of the Story, I discussed Ravitch's interesting biography — from moderately progressive educator to advocate for the "education reform" agenda to strongly progressive educator — and some of the ideas outlined in her book. It's a reasonably good summary of Ravitch and her ideas.