Education historian Diane Ravitch talks to Lauren Streib about how education reform has become a cover for privatization.
In 1991, Diane Ravitch was appointed an assistant secretary of Education by President George H.W. Bush, becoming a leader in the education-reform movement for the next decade, when she championed the No Child Left Behind Act that was signed into law by George W. Bush in 2002. But when NCLB failed to produce the results she had hoped for and assessment tests began dominating policy, Ravitch made a 180-degree turn, and she has spent the last half-decade fighting an apostate’s battle. She has become one of the most vocal supporters of public education, thanks to her many books on education history and her influential blog, where she crusades against the rise of charter schools, vouchers, privatization in education, and standardized testing. Her latest book, Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America's Public Schools, argues that the American school system is not broken, and that the reform movement will destroy our schools. She also outlines a plan for improvement, including prenatal care for mothers, early education that stresses creativity, balanced curriculums, and more resources for schools. We spoke to the leading opponent of reform about the role of charter schools, which cities are doing things right, and her Twitter proficiency.
In Reign of Error, you call the education of the poor and minority students a scandal. Do you think more Americans should be scandalized by the discrepancy in American educational system?