Diane Ravitch Talks School Reform, the Chicago Strike, and the
Do you think there is a crisis in American education?
No. I think the crisis in American education is that there is a concerted effort to destroy it. That is a crisis—that’s a genuine crisis. Is there a crisis of academic achievement? No.
First of all, the test scores are the highest they’ve ever been in history on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, which is a no-stakes test. The scores of white kids, black kids, Hispanic kids, and Asian kids are the highest ever in history. What you hear from Bill Gates and [former chancellor of Washington, D.C., public schools] Michelle Rhee and all the others is we’re in a period of decline, all the schools are obsolete, the test scores are flat. Nonsense. They have been going up steadily for 40 years and they are the highest they’ve been in history.
Number two, the graduation rates today are the highest in history. Number three, the dropout rates are the lowest in history.
Is there a crisis in American education? Yes: We have all these Wall Street-funded foundation people running around saying we have to get rid of public education and saying all these phony things about our schools.
But it's not just Wall Street, right? Both Democrats and Republicans have advocated more testing and more charter schools as key methods of improving public schools. In fact, education seems like one of the few areas where political party isn't a useful indicator of a politician's position. How do you see the political landscape for public schools?
The agenda of reform today is actually the traditional Republican agenda. The Republicans have been saying now since probably the 1960s that what’s needed is testing, accountability, choice, and competition. That is the conventional, traditional GOP agenda.
Democrats have said since the 1960s that what’s needed is resources, equality of opportunity, and equity. The Democratic agenda got lost. The Democrats are now embracing a Republican agenda. So when you say that there’s not a partisan divide, it’s because Obama and Duncan have embraced the GOP agenda. The GOP agenda is exactly the same as it was 40 years ago.
Read the entire piece.http://prospect.org/article/diane-ravitch-talks-school-reform-chicago-strike-and-testing-vampire