Thursday, March 7, 2013

Diane Ravitch coming to Charlotte

If you care about education,  chances are you have a strong opinion about Diane Ravitch.

She certainly has strong opinions about education.  And she'll be sharing them in Charlotte on March 20,  when UNC Charlotte brings her to town.  A community conversation with Ravitch is open to the public at no charge, from 4:30 to 5:15 p.m. in McKnight Auditorium, Cone Center, main campus. Register here to attend.  Later that evening she'll give the TIAA-CREF lecture for an invitation-only crowd that. It's titled "The Death and Life of the Great American School System," echoing the title of one of her best-known books.

 Ravitch is a professor, researcher, author and former official in the U.S. Department of Education, under President George H.W. Bush. She has emerged as one of the nation's most vocal critics of test-driven accountability,  the privatization of public education and the influence of philanthropists and foundations she dubs  "the Billionaire Boys' Club."

And at 74,  she has embraced digital communication and social media with zeal.  She tweets prolifically  (@DianeRavitch),  posts on her blog and contributes to many others.  So even if you miss her appearance,  chances are you can keep up with what she thinks of her visit to a city where all of her favorite issues are alive and vigorously debated.   


Anonymous said...

She speaks the truth

Anonymous said...

Unlike politicians who are too stubborn admit their faults, she has admits NCLB, a policy she helped craft during her time in the DOE under GWB, has caused great harm. She accurately describes the reason rich billionaires are investing in public education - to take public dollars for their own gain, not for the benefit of children. Keep in mind, these "philanthropists" and testing companies are tied at the hip which has led to more standardized testing.

Ettolrahc said...

She is only for public schools. No charters or competition.

I went to a meeting here in Charlotte several years ago where she droned on for close to two hours, and not once hit the subject we and the Teachers who were invited was touched. It was was all about her exploits and the like.

So enjoy your time, maybe they have given her a teleprompter.

Anonymous said...

What if students just refused to take their tests, or purposefully failed them? (like mine did a few years back when Peter I reigned in CMS)What if parents of younger students kept their children at home on those testing days?

Would those students not be allowed to move on to the next grade? How in the heck would the district deal with that scenario?

Could that "data" actually be used against teachers in their reviews?

Ettolrahc said...

Anon 8:27

Any idea why so many Jewish people worked so hard as the death camps, because so many refuse to die for a cause.

It has become worse in this country, no one fights the system anymore. It must the fault of the everyone else and not my group.

Anonymous said...


She doesn't oppose charters that are set up as they were originally intended - non-profit entities that were given flexibility to implement innovative programs. now they have evolved into profit schemes for investors. She welcomes competitive, but its not a competition if charters get to play but different rules

Anonymous said...

She - just like what she calls the "rich billionaires" - is just another interest group wanting to push an agenda.

Jeff Wise said...

To 10:13,

By stating what you did, you're part of an interest group pushing an agenda.

Everyone is part of an interest group. Everyone has an agenda to push.

Anonymous said...


NCLB was under Bush II, not Bush I.

NCLB was just an extension of the previous Elemetary and Secondary Education Act that went back as far as 1965.

Here are her thoughts on NCLB and other things:

Ravitch said that the charter school and testing reform movement was started by "right wing think tanks like the Heritage Foundation," for the purpose of destroying public education and teachers' unions. She reviewed the documentary Waiting for Superman, directed by Davis Guggenheim, as "propagandistic" (pro-charter schools and anti-public schools), studded with "myths" and at least one "flatly wrong" claim. Of Education Secretary Arne Duncan's Race to the Top program, Ravitch said in a 2011 interview it "is an extension of No Child Left Behind, all bad ideas." She concluded "We are destroying our education system, blowing it up by these stupid policies. And handing the schools in low-income neighborhoods over to private entrepreneurs does not, in itself, improve them. There's plenty of evidence by now that the kids in those schools do no better, and it's simply a way of avoiding their - the public responsibility to provide good education."

Anonymous said...

No matter where she stands, there's nothing like a feisty 74-year-old woman with an opinion. Sign me up!


Ettolrahc said...

What would we do with out those rich folks to hate in this country. Why we might have to actually look at our own actions in allowing the decay to happen while we chased after next new car or bigger house.

Wake up the problem is not outside our country or in one group, we are the problem.

Ettolrahc said...

Oh and if only someone could find the report from Harvard a couple of years ago about school choice and how astounding a difference it made in the lives of so many in challenged neighborhoods.

But sadly there was not enough time back them to waste on printing it in the observer as I begged them to do.

But they do have plenty of time for this mess and that singleton fellow.

Anonymous said...

It might because that Harvard study was flawed, but don't let that get in your way.

Anonymous said...

Anything coming out of Harvard should be suspect.


1 - Harvard Graduate School of Education - Studies Show School Choice Widens Inequality: Popular Among Parents, But Little Evidence that Children Learn More....

2 - A new Harvard study suggests another good reason to expand school choice: Reduced crime rates. High-risk male students who won a public school choice lottery in North Carolina committed about 50 percent less crime than their peers who lost, according to the research by David J. Deming, an assistant professor in the Harvard Graduate School of Education.....

Okay, which Harvard study do you want to believe?


Ettolrahc said...

Yes we need to just pick the one we believe in first and not look at the real one on school choice which was co authored by so many other well established schools.

So why not just keep on doing the great job we have going at CMS and keep fighting any competition, so the lives of so many have been and are being ruined.

Oh and I bet most of you would hate to hear about CPCC. Why close to ninety percent of the CMS Grads have to have some type of REMEDIAL courses to even get into Community College.

Sorry but go back to you coven folks and stir the pot some more, and see if the bat wings make things better in schools.

Jeff Wise said...


So you're saying Harvard put out fake studies? And the only real one is the one you believe in? The pot and the kettle are calling your name.

School choice may possibly be a part of a solution, but it is not *the* solution. Educational success is not some Henry Ford type assembly line where one size fits all.

Every student learns differently. Always been that way, always will be. School choice means nothing in that equation. Teaching to the student does.

Anonymous said...

When you hear the phrase "Recent studies suggest..." check to see who sponsored the study. Chances are Gates, Broad and the Walton family are behind it. They have a pro-charter, privatization agenda and they are clever at funding studies that promote that agenda. Furthermore, they can advance their views through their partners in the corporate-owned media. They use their money to buy school board elections in favor of candidates that want to advance charter schools (e.g. Los Angeles). All you have to do is follow the money to see if educational research is legit.

Anonymous said...

I agree that students learn differently. I also wholeheartedly agree that education shouldn't be a one-size-fits-all endeavor. The problem is, we expect students to all test the same.

So which is it? If teachers are expected to teach to "multiple intelligences", shouldn't testing companies design tests in multiple ways? Or, is it possible that it's nearly impossible for one human being to teach one math concept to 25 different students 8 different ways? I think good teachers try to mix it up but there's a limit. The G scale on an alto saxophone is a G scale. How many ways can a band teacher teach the fingering of the G scale on a flute or an alto saxophone (which are nearly identical - right)?

On the subject of Harvard; TFA originated here. I believe the head of Harvard's education department acknowledged that TFA may be perpetuating the very things it is trying to solve which sort of supports the argument that the best brain power and billionaire foundations in the world aren't close to coming up with a solution either. In fact, all the "experts" may be making things worse. I hate to be Debbie Downer, but I don't think a limo ride, an Executive Club membership, a few highly paid Teacher Leaders, and 2,000 free lime-green laptops are going to make one iota of longterm difference at ProjectLIFT. For the benefit of students subjected to this latest experiment, I hope I'm proven wrong.

Did I mention how much I loved the story about Windsor Park Elementary? Go Windsor Park!

What's going on at Albemarle?


Anonymous said...

I'm clueless what's up in Stanly County but there appears to be a great appreciation of Chemistry up at Lake Norman. Seems that even parent tutorials are involved.

Ettolrahc said...

Jeff Wise: Sorry but I was in Space last night with my new laser gun wiping out worm holes which might cause interference with my internet connection.

But my point before was that anyone can come on here and say anything, and most of the time that is what I do.

Why bother with the truth to help kids, when you can cause a ruckus and keep things just the way they are at CMS.

Or just ignore the reports which help competition for schools, and show just how things can improve even if the CMS system itself embraced them.

Oh sorry, my wife, the Princess, is about to become the Queen of Montrolbia and we need to get to the coronation.

Just google it you can find so much about how things should stay the same as it would offend say one group or even one person.

Ettolrahc said...

Oh and if you want anything posted in the observer go to those three people the Observer uses for all the comments.

The lady from over at Shamrock.
The guy who was at CMS and now heads that support CMS at all cost but with non profit corporate dollars

And we all know the third.

Jeff Wise said...

Alicia and Ettolrahc,

All good points and when we're dealing with such large populations doesn't it seem like there's always going to be such issues.

As a society we see the big picture and want every student on task and at grade level, nothing wrong with that, but isn't it one of those goals that will never really be reached?

So the question that popped up this morning is if all those goofy lime green laptops at LIFT schools change the life of 1 student and help them escape poverty and become the Steve Jobs, is that worth the effort?

Or is success only measured in large amounts?

Just curious.

Anonymous said...

The lime-green laptops were donated privately so I'd have to say "yes" if they change one life. I'd have to say "no" if the laptops were paid for by CMS and the overall impact was statistically insignificant. The laptops were originally designed for children in third world countries. I didn't know west Charlotte was third world. I also question the practice of providing everything for free in high-poverty areas. Is this the best way to promote self-sufficiency? I don't know? Poor and non-English speaking kids at Windsor Park Elementary are making consistent gains with minimal bells and whistles.


Ettolrahc said...

Success is really only measured by two groups of people.

Those who want to use it as a boasting point, or those of us who want to leave it as a milestone that incites the best in others.