It’s a gross understatement to say that Diane Ravitch is a lightning rod for politicians, teachers, and education reformers. Once a marshal of former President George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind education law, she later rejected NCLB and the reform model it energized, saying it was completely wrong.
Charter school and education reform advocates say that Ravitch is nothing more than a post-liberal hack whose main agenda is to defend unions and to protect incompetent teachers.
But Ravitch is hardly an excuse-maker for teachers and unions. She does, however, anger many by pointing to the country’s often less-than-lucid understanding of concentrated poverty and institutional racism. And she dares to challenge the market approach to solving it.
Salon’s Sara Scribner interviews
Ravitch about her new book: “Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Schools.” It’s a good read and Ravitch talks about Teach for America’s teachers, education reform leader Michelle Rhee, and the new curriculum called Common Core.
Mostly what Ravitch describes is a government and business partnership that’s pulling apart public education in urban centers without addressing the sources of failure in those communities: poverty.