Thursday, April 18, 2013

Diane Ravitch at NSBA conference: Public schools facing ‘unprecedented assault’

"Public education is under attack. Local school boards are under attack. Local governance is under attack.

That was the blunt message delivered by Diane Ravitch at the closing General Session of National School Board's Association (NSBA) annual conference in San Diego.

A nationally recognized education researcher and author,Ravitch has become a fierce critic of many of the education reform models that, in the past decade, have been advocated by misguided state and federal policymakers, as well by wealthy ideologues. And she shared her criticisms and concerns with conference attendees. 

Diane Ravitch at National School Boards Association
“What I’m going to try to do today,’ she said, “is arm you with the facts you need to help you defend your public schools from an unprecedented assault.”

The repeated attacks on public education today—and the so-called reform proposals being touted as solutions—are both inaccurate and deceptive, Ravitch argued.

These people who call themselves reformers, who say our public education system is obsolete, that it’s failing, that it’s broken … they’re wrong,” she said. “Our schools are not failing. Our system of public education is not broken.’

“Let me tell you what’s the problem—our federal education policy is broken,” she added. Federal education policy is hurting our public schools. Federal education policy has abandoned the historic principles of federalism and is imposing mandates that are bad for children.”

The truth about public education and many of today’s reform ideas will be laid out in her upcoming book, Reign of Error: The Hoax of Privatization and the Danger to America’s Public Schools, she said.

The truth, she said, is something you don’t see on the evening news or in the daily newspapers. In reality, test scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) are the highest in history. High school graduation rates are the highest in history. The nation’s dropout rates are the lowest in history."