Maybe it's not working: Former No Child advocate turns critic
Diane Ravitch used to say the things that teachers don't like to hear about school reform. She once suggested we should thank George W. Bush for putting so much attention on children through the accountability measures of No Child Left Behind.
Today, she's singing quite a different tune. She impressed some Florida teacher union leaders so much with her turnabout, as reported on NPR, that they sent the Gradebook the link with a message that essentially said, Now that's what we're talking about.
In it, Ravitch trashed the testing system that has taken over public schools and called for a new direction:
"The basic strategy is measuring and punishing," Ravitch said of No Child Left Behind. "And it turns out as a result of putting so much emphasis on the test scores, there's a lot of cheating going on, there's a lot of gaming the system. Instead of raising standards it's actually lowered standards because many states have 'dumbed down' their tests or changed the scoring of their tests to say that more kids are passing than actually are."
Check out the story and excerpts from the first chapter of her new book, The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education. We'd love to hear what you think, especially with Florida on the brink of receiving Race to the Top funds that seem to further embed testing into the culture.