Thursday, January 27, 2011

Diane Ravitch On Fixing The Countrys Broken Education System - Bing Videos

 It is always helpful to listen to a variety of points of view. That is certainly the case in the current volatile debate on education reform.  Here, celebrated education historian Diane Ravitch is interviewed by Andrea Mitchell on the overall subject of education reform.

Now, you must remember, Diane Ravitch was for No Child Left Behind before now being against it. I am OK with positions evolving over time as circumstances change. However, I am also much more cautious about the new position.

Listen to this interview and how Dr. Ravitch, who is obviously highly skilled at communicating (and debating), now frames the conversation.  Obama's plan is characterized as "close, fire, punish." You mean there is no middle ground here?

Also, there seems to be a defense of poor performing schools based on the fact that they often serve poor children. I call that the "Poverty Defense."

Here is what I see happening. First, I am not against teachers. I am, however, for students. This debate ,in my opinion, depends on what perspective or through what lens you are filtering expected education outputs.

If you focus on student "outputs" (how well a student can read or do math), then it will obviously mean looking at all of the "inputs" (teachers, principals, curriculum) as a way of examining the means for improving "outputs."

Of course, the other way of looking at "outputs" is to accept no responsibility for them or otherwise blame parents, poverty and stupid reformers.

I also want to make it clear that I don't feel Dr. Ravitch or teachers overall are uncaring about students and the impact an education or lack thereof has on their lives. To the contrary, I happen to believe they care deeply.

I also believe that what is commonly called a "special interest" or perhaps more correctly called "self-preservation" is at play here.. Teachers probably do feel under seize, but my advice would be to hang in there and lets all agree that unless and until "outputs" improve to acceptable levels, the climate is not and should not change. Only ACCEPTABLE RESULTS should change the conversation or the tension.  

Click on the link below to view the interview.Your comments are of course welcome.

Diane Ravitch On Fixing The Countrys Broken Education System - Bing Videos

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