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Diane Ravitch Sends a Very Important Message to Boston Voters

September 1, 2013

Former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education Dr. Diane Ravitch has a message that every Bostonian must read and pass along. Dr. Ravitch has been called the leading education expert of all time, and she’s about to release a book that is sure to confirm that. Reign of Error chronicles the peril Ravitch first warned America about in Death and Life of the Great American School System.

Enough of America didn’t get her message then, and she’ll be repeating it again in Reign of Error, only this time it’s sure to sound the alarm. Boston needs to listen to her, and with the Mayoral Race upon us, that need is urgent. Let’s work together to see this City lead the nation in the right direction before it really is too late.

We’ve already got years of destruction to clean up in the schools as a result of not listening to Dr. Ravitch the first time. Everyone should at least take the time to see what she has to say, and see for themselves. America can’t afford for us to not, most especially, our children.

Please share this very important message from the person who devotes her life to the endless fight against Corporate Reform’s concerted effort to destroy the public schools:

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Dear Friends in Boston,

The mayoral election may be a turning point for Boston.

 I urge you to support a candidate who pledges to strengthen public schools in Boston.
Nationally, there is a powerful movement underway to privatize public education.
Don’t let that happen in Boston.
Public schools were founded in Massachusetts. They were your state’s gift to our democracy.
Horace Mann’s legacy belongs to all of America.
Please do not let special interest groups, rightwing ideologues, and others who seek to dismantle public education take charge of your city’s education policy.
The public schools serve the overwhelming majority of children in Boston, in Massachusetts, and across the nation.
I urge you to cast your vote for the candidate who is committed to making public education better and stronger, to the candidate who will ensure that teachers and principals in public schools get the respect they deserve for the noble work they have dedicated themselves to.
Massachusetts now leads the nation in education, as judged by federal testing.
Support your public schools. Keep them public. Keep them as the cornerstone of our democracy.
Diane Ravitch

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From The American Prospect’s interview with Diane Ravitch:

“Barack Obama says all the right things and does all the wrong things. He says he’s against teaching to the test, but every part of Race to the Top [a major initiative from the U.S. Department of Education that allowed states to compete for funds by assigning points for which parts a reform agenda they already had in place or would implement] relies on teaching to the test. He says we want to reward the best teachers. How do you know who the best teachers are? They’re the ones whose students get the highest test scores. You’re encouraging people to teach to the test, and you’re encouraging narrowing of the curriculum and you’re encouraging cheating.”

“The fundamental thing to understand about testing is that all these tests are normed on a bell curve. And the bell curve by its very nature has a bottom half and a top half. You can never close the gap between the bottom half and the top half. It is impossible. The top half is populated overwhelmingly by children from affluent homes. The bottom half is populated overwhelmingly by children of poverty. So you have chosen to use the one instrument that reinforces inequity and made that the state policy. So the way to drive the stake through the heart of the vampire is for a district to say, as an entire district, “We’re not giving the test this year.” And if 100 districts say this, if 200 districts say it, that sends a pretty powerful message to the legislature. That we’re trying to find a better way to be held accountable, be accountable to our parents, be accountable to our students, and to figure out a better way to educate kids so they actually have an education instead of a test score.”  

Boston needs to elect the Mayor who will say those last words, and he will start a national revolution. You can read the rest of the interview here (don’t forget to click the link for part 2).

For more information, Dr. Ravitch keeps the most up to date information on the issues in her blog, dianeravitch.net.


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