Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Diane Ravitch rocks the NEA convention!

For more on Diane's rock star appearance and award at the National Education Association conference in New Orleans, see here; a transcript of her full speech is here. Video with clips below. Excerpt:

“Public education is the backbone of this democracy, and we cannot turn it over to privateers....The current so-called reform movement is pushing bad ideas. No high-performing nation in the world is privatizing its schools, closing its schools, and inflicting high-stakes testing on every subject on its children. The current reform movement wants to end tenure and seniority, to weaken the teaching profession, to silence teachers’ unions, to privatize large sectors of public education. Don’t let it happen!

....Do not support any political figure who opposes public education. Stand up to the attacks on public education. Don’t give them half a loaf, because they will be back the next day for another slice, and the day after that for another slice.
Don’t compromise. Stand up for teachers. Stand up public education, and say “No mas, no mas."


Anonymous said...

Go Diane! Diane in 2012!

hobohemianlibrarian said...

I was a teacher at John C. Fremont HS in Los Angeles. We just went through the demeaning farce of reconstitution. The result, most of the great teachers chose not to reapply, students are being taught by lots of newbies, subs, and teachers who don't want to teach at an inner city school with lots of second language learners. After 15 years at the school, I was heartbroken to leave the wonderful students at Fremont. We were making progress and that has been thrown away rather than built upon. I fear for the few excellent teachers who stayed behind. Theirs is the heavier burden. They must try to educate students while battling administrators whose only interest is to game the system to look better on paper.

Anonymous said...

Diane is the most critical thinker on education in the U.S. If citizens truly care about the value of a good public education, they would be wise to heed her wise words and fight against privatizing or corporatizing public education. She is not wrong when she says s good public education is the foundation of our democracy.

Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree with her more. Unfortunately, the current trend is party the result of efforts Diane pushed forth over the last decade at least. Hopefully, it will be possible for her to undo the damage she has done to public education. I'm glad she finally saw the light.

Anonymous said...

Well, what's going on now is a VERY TWISTED version of Diane's ideas. Her sense of a Charter School was a program specifically for the highest-needs students that would support (try out experimental methods) and unburden the traditional public schools. What happening now is a cruel joke made at the expense of that idea. Her core values and basic ideas of how to support and improve schools (leadership, mission, breadth, meaning) have never really changed.

Anonymous said...


But I'm so thoroughly disgusted with this country's pathetic handling of education for decades on end. The fundamental problem is and has been a lack of respect and interest in primary and secondary education, especially in regard to the public schools, which brings in all sorts of issues of race, politics, and bureaucracy. However, I think there has almost always existed a generalized suspicion and disrespect for education in this country of pioneers and prodigies and dreams. It was probably warranted. Long ago education was all about memorization. Learn a dead language, and you're an educated fella, a scholar. Well, the nature of the 'attention' ('abuse') that education is receiving now belies these deep-rooted dispositions. The people in power don't really learn, and the public remains ignorant about one of the most important factors in the lives of their children and their children's children. It literally takes a court order to make people think twice, but then they still don't know how to think properly. Ultimately, though, the truth does come out, because even the most twisted and muddled arguments wind up touching on it as they are forced to comply with facets of reality over time, unless things take on Kool-Aid-induced spiritual proportions. Then all bets are off. People aren't really that stupid or naïve, though; that's just greed and hubris, which, again, eventually fades with exposure to the elements of reality.

Kay Winters said...

At last Diane has seen the light. As a former teacher and now children's book author, I am appalled by the focus on the "Race to the Top" -- the sanctification of test scores and ignorance of the reality of our public school system which is being promoted by our current Secretary of Education.

When I was a teacher, the focus was on teaching students to become lifelong learners. Loving to learn. Valuing books, ideas, multiple points of view, becoming involved with subject matter.

Yes, we tested. Achievement tests were given every year and appropriate actions taken.

But today the focus is not on learning. It's not on becoming involved with subject matter. It's on passing the test. Getting the "right answer." The numbers.

History is being ignored -- to our peril. It's not on the test.

Art and music and even gym are being threatened and eliminated, as well as recess, in many schools. It's not on the test.
School librarians are being let go and replaced with volunteers.

In many districts, teachers are being paid on the basis of "their scores" and criticized if they object. become lifelong learners?
America has always been known for the ability of her citizens to think outside the box. An over-focus on testing denies the importance of multiple possibilities. And I believe this emphasis will have serious long-range consequences as our students grow up always looking for "the right answer."

I speak at conferences and do school visits all over the country to share my books, and I have yet to visit one single affluent or Title I school where the teachers, administrators and parents believe that our current direction in education, beginning with No Child Left Behind and continuing with "Race to the Top," is doing anything but leaving learning behind.

Kay Winters
Bucks County Pa