Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Schools by Diane Ravitch

Solutions Start Here

  • Poverty is not an excuse. It is a harsh reality that will often overwhelm the best efforts. A program of testing and accountability does nothing to eliminate poverty or close achievement gaps. They essentially preserve the status quo. In the final part of this book, Diane offers solutions. I will list them here. If you are interested in rational, it will be easy to find in chapters 22 through 32.
  • 1. Provide good prenatal care for every pregnant women.
  • 2. Make high-quality early childhood education available to all children.
  • 3. Every school should have a full, balanced, and rich curriculum, including the arts, science, history, literature, civics, geography, foreign language, math, and physical education. This is what the parents in wealthy communities demand and get.
  • 4. Reduce class sizes to improve student achievement and behavior.
  • 5. Ban for-profit charter schools and charter chains and ensure that charter schools collaborate with public schools to support better education for all children.
  • 6. Provide the medical and social services that poor children need to keep up with their advantages peers.
  • 7. Eliminate high-stakes standardized testing and rely on assessments that allow students to demonstrate what they know and can do.
  • 8. Insist that teachers, principals, and superintendents be professional educators.
  • 9. Public schools should be controlled by elected school boards or by boards in large cities appointed for a set term by more than one elected official.
  • 10. Devise actionable strategies and specific goals to reduce racial segregation and poverty.
  • 11. Recognize that public education is a public responsibility, not a consumer good.

Afterword

  • Although you wouldn’t guess it looking at the reform movement, the private sector has no secret sauce for educating students who struggle to overcome the burdens of poverty. What we do get is an effort to rank and rate every child by their test scores, which are highly correlated with family income and education. As a result, it is doing damage to our public education system. Please join Diane and myself by raising your voice against this madness. At the end of this fine book you will find abundant data and references that support the claims in the book. You might find them useful as your join or continue the fight.
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