Check out this interview in The American Prospect with Diane Ravitch, according to whom the only "crisis in American education is that there is a concerted effort to destroy it." "That," she says, is "a genuine crisis. Is there a crisis of academic achievement? No."
So much of what Ravitch argues resonates with Laura Clawson's recent blogging here on the state of play in the war on teachers. And no wonder, given Ravitch's importance as a leader in the resistance movement. (See Corey Robin's bouquet of links to Ravitch at the end of Robin's recent piece on snobbery against teachers, to which Miss Laura linked yesterday.)
A bit more after the orange cloud of meritocratic gas.
Here's another sample from the Prospect's Diane Ravitch interview:
If you were running for office, what would your education platform look like? What would be the two or three things to build a campaign around?
It would be to recognize, first of all, that public education is an essential institution in our democracy and that if you privatize public education you’re stabbing democracy in the heart. That’s number one: Protect public education. And then if you’re concerned about closing the achievement gap, you do something serious about reducing poverty. Because poverty is the single biggest cause of the achievement gaps. If you’re looking to raise test scores, you would be focused on making health clinics available to children in poor neighborhoods. And you would have prenatal care for every woman who becomes pregnant. Those are the things that would increase test scores.
If you want to fix public education, then you have to do something about the lives that children lead.