Thursday, October 16, 2008

Diane on the debate

Diane Ravitch on last night's Presidential debate – from

On the issue with which I am best informed--education--I thought that Senator McCain was pathetic. He claimed that vouchers were the answer to our nation's school problems, but the evidence does not support him, nor do practical politics. There are only three cities in the United States with public voucher programs--D.C., Cleveland, and Milwaukee. The results to date do not bear out Senator McCain's optimistic appraisal. Since vouchers are in fact not only unavailable but unconstitutional in most of the country, this is a false promise on the part of the candidate.

Senator Obama was right, in my estimation, in supporting a strengthening of early childhood education, but I was surprised to see his enthusiastic endorsement of charter schools and pay-for-performance. The evidence on both these initiatives is just as weak as for vouchers.

Neither candidate showed a deep understanding of the needs of our public schools.

Earlier, Diane had been asked by the NY Times what question she would ask of them – unfortunately, Bob Schaeffer did not take her advice.

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