Interview in US News & World Report with Diane Ravitch, former Assistant Secretary of Education under George W. Bush. Ms. Ravitch has gone from a conservative advocate of school choice, vouchers and high-stakes testing to being critical of same. Change of heart? Her book, The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice are Undermining Education, is reportedly a strong indictment of No Child Left Behind and other Bush-era policies she helped create.
In the interview, Ms. Ravitch answers the question, What should parents do to ensure that their children are getting the best education? She answers:
There are two different questions. One is what should parents do, and the other is what should policymakers do. If policy makers simply say, "It's every family for itself," we're going back to the early 19th century, before we had public education. Some people had private tutors, and some people sent their kids to religious schools, and some people got together and had little schools that they created. Then at a certain point, there was an awareness that the public had a responsibility to educate the children of the community. If we're doing a bad job of that, we really should develop public policy that looks to improving the quality of those schools and not just close them down and hand them over to private entrepreneurs. Because then we're creating a marketplace, and markets have failures. Markets do not succeed in providing equal opportunity. They succeed in creating winners and losers. We saw that in the [economic collapse] of the fall of 2008, and that could happen to our schools as well.
Interesting and sure to incite protests from pro-school marketplace folks. I have to admit, the winners vs losers point is a good one...because when there are losers they will be children, and that's not acceptable.
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