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Diane Ravitch quotes (showing 1-30 of 44)

“Can teachers successfully educate children to think for themselves if teachers are not treated as professionals who think for themselves?”
Diane Ravitch, The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education
“Our schools will not improve if we continue to focus only on reading and mathematics while ignoring the other studies that are essential elements of a good education. Schools that expect nothing more of their students than mastery of basic skills will not produce graduates who are ready for college or the modern workplace.

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Our schools will not improve if we value only what tests measure. The tests we have now provide useful information about students' progress in reading and mathematics, but they cannot measure what matters most in education....What is tested may ultimately be less important that what is untested...

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Our schools will not improve if we continue to close neighborhood schools in the name of reform. Neighborhood schools are often the anchors of their communities, a steady presence that helps to cement the bond of community among neighbors.

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Our schools cannot improve if charter schools siphon away the most motivated students and their families in the poorest communities from the regular public schools.

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Our schools will not improve if we continue to drive away experienced principals and replace them with neophytes who have taken a leadership training course but have little or no experience as teachers.

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Our schools cannot be improved if we ignore the disadvantages associated with poverty that affect children's ability to learn. Children who have grown up in poverty need extra resources, including preschool and medical care.”
Diane Ravitch, The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education
“Congress and state legislatures should not tell teachers how to teach, any more than they should tell surgeons how to perform operations.”
Diane Ravitch, The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education
“Testing is not a substitute for curriculum and instruction. Good education cannot be achieved by a strategy of testing children, shaming educators, and closing schools.”
Diane Ravitch, The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education
“Going to school is not the same as going shopping. Parents should not be burdened with locating a suitable school for their child. They should be able to take their child to the neighborhood public school as a matter of course and expect that it has well-educated teachers and a sound educational program.”
Diane Ravitch, The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education
“One problem with test-based accountability, as currently defined and used, is that it removes all responsibility from students and their families for the students' academic performance. NCLB neglected to acknowledge that students share in the responsibility for their academic performance and that they are merely passive recipients of their teachers' influence.”
Diane Ravitch, The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education
“American Education has a long history of infatuation with fads and ill-considered ideas. The current obsession with making our schools work like a business may be the worst of them, for it threatens to destroy public education. Who will Stand up to the tycoons and politicians and tell them so?”
Diane Ravitch, The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education
“Unless the schools provide our children with a vision of human possibility that enlightens and empowers them with knowledge and taste, they will simply play their role in someone else's marketing schemes. Unless they understand deeply the sources of our democracy, they will take it for granted and fail to exercise their rights and responsibilities.”
Diane Ravitch
“What should we think of someone who never admits error, never entertains doubt but adheres unflinchingly to the same ideas all his life, regardless of new evidence? Doubt and skepticism are signs of rationality. When we are too certain of our opinions, we run the risk of ignoring any evidence that conflicts with our views. It is doubt that shows we are still thinking, still willing to reexamine hardened beliefs when confronted with new facts and new evidence.”
Diane Ravitch, The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education
“Will non-English-speaking students start speaking English because their teachers were fired? Will children come to school ready to learn because their teachers were fired?

It would be good if our nation's education leaders recognized that teachers are not solely responsible for student test scores. Other influences matter, including the students' effort, the family's encouragement, the effects of popular culture, and the influence of poverty. A blogger called "Mrs. Mimi" wrote the other day that we fire teachers because "we can't fire poverty." Since we can't fire poverty, we can't fire students, and we can't fire families, all that is left is to fire teachers.

Diane Ravitch
“What matters most is for the school, the district, and the state to be able to say that more students have reached "proficiency." This sort of fraud ignores the students' interests while promoting the interests of adults who take credit for nonexistent improvements.”
Diane Ravitch, The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education
“Without knowledge and understanding, one tends to become a passive spectator rather than an active participant in the great decisions of our time.”
Diane Ravitch, The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education
“There is something fundamentally antidemocratic about relinquishing control of the public education policy agenda to private foundations run by society's wealthiest people; when the wealthiest of these foundations are joined in common purpose, they represent an unusually powerful force that is beyond the reach of democratic institutions.”
Diane Ravitch, The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education
“The foundations demand that public schools and teachers be held accountable for performance, but they themselves are accountable to no one. If their plans fail, no sanctions are levied against them. They are bastions of unaccountability.”
Diane Ravitch, The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education
“The person who knows ‘how’ will always have a job. The person who knows ‘why’ will always be his boss.”
Diane Ravitch
“If we continue on the present course, with big foundations and the federal government investing heavily in opening more charter schools, the result is predictable. Charter schools in urban centers will enroll the motivated children of the poor, while the regular public schools will become schools of last resort for those who never applied or were rejected.”
Diane Ravitch, The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education
“Anyone who truly cares about children must be repelled by the insistence on ranking them, rating them, and labeling them. Whatever the tests measure is not the sum and substance of any child. The tests do not measure character, spirit, heart, soul, potential. When overused and misused, when attached to high stakes, the tests stifle the very creativity and ingenuity that our society needs most. Creativity and ingenuity stubbornly resist standardization. Tests should be used sparingly to help students and teachers, not to allocate rewards and punishments and not to label children and adults by their scores.”
Diane Ravitch, Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America's Public Schools
“Privatizing our public schools makes as much sense as privatizing the fire department or or the police department”
Diane Ravitch
“Sometimes, the most brilliant and intelligent minds do not shine in standardized tests because they do not have standardized minds.”
Diane Ravitch
“Critics may find this hard to believe, but students in American public schools today are studying and mastering far more difficult topics in science and mathematics than their peers forty or fifty years ago. People who doubt this should review the textbooks in common use then and now or look at the tests then and now.”
Diane Ravitch, Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America's Public Schools
“A historian tries to understand what happened, why it happened, what was the context, who did what, and what assumptions led them to act as they did. A historian customarily displays a certain diffidence about trying to influence events, knowing that unanticipated developments often lead to unintended consequences.”
Diane Ravitch, The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education
“A democratic society must seek to give every young person, whether native-born or newcomer, the knowledge and skills to succeed as an adult. In a political system that relies on the participation of informed citizens, everyone should, at a minimum, learn to speak, read and write a common language. Those who would sustain our democratic life must understand its history. Tailoring children's education to the color of their skin, their national origins, or their presumed ethnicity is in some fundamental sense contrary to our nation's founding ideals of democracy, equality and opportunity.”
Diane Ravitch, Brookings Papers on Education Policy: 2002
“We will continue to chase rainbows unless we recognize that they are rainbows and there is no pot of gold at the end of them.”
Diane Ravitch
“Social scientists generally agree that students’ families (especially family income, which determines advantages and opportunity) have an even bigger impact on student performance than their school or teachers.”
Diane Ravitch, Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America's Public Schools
“NAEP data show beyond question that test scores in reading and math have improved for almost every group of students over the past two decades; slowly and steadily in the case of reading, dramatically in the case of mathematics. Students know more and can do more in these two basic skills subjects now than they could twenty or forty years ago... So the next time you hear someone say that the system is "broken," that American students aren't as well educated as they used to be, that our schools are failing, tell that person the facts.”
Diane Ravitch, Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America's Public Schools
“In Hollywood films and television documentaries, the battle lines are clearly drawn. Traditional public schools are bad; their supporters are apologists for the unions. Those who advocate for charter schools, virtual schooling, and “school choice” are reformers; their supporters insist they are championing the rights of minorities. They say they are leaders of the civil rights movement of our day. It is a compelling narrative, one that gives us easy villains and ready-made solutions. It appeals to values Americans have traditionally cherished—choice, freedom, optimism, and a latent distrust of government. There is only one problem with this narrative. It is wrong.”
Diane Ravitch, Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America's Public Schools
“If charter schools are not more successful on average than the public schools they replace, what is accomplished by demolishing public education? What is the rationale for authorizing for-profit charters or charter management organizations with high-paid executives, since their profits and high salaries are paid by taxpayers' dollars?”
Diane Ravitch, Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America's Public Schools
“According to its Web site, Parent Revolution “invented” the idea of the “parent trigger” and persuaded the state senator Gloria Romero to include it in her education reform legislation. If 51 percent of the parents in a low-performing school sign a petition, the law says, the parents may take control of the school, its staff, and its budget, fire some or all of the staff, or turn the school over to a charter management”
Diane Ravitch, Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America's Public Schools

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