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Posted by on Wednesday, November 30th, 2011 at 7:00 am

Debating Diane Ravitch

Diane Ravitch is one of the biggest names in education, and because she is so popular with the press, education reformers who do not agree with her spend enormous amounts of time responding to her claims. She is most known for her inflexible stance against standardized testing and her firm belief that poverty is education’s biggest problem:

“If every child arrived in school well-nourished, healthy and ready to learn, from a family with a stable home and a steady income, many of our educational problems would be solved. And that would be a miracle.” (New York Times)

As I stated in a previous post, “poverty is not a barrier to a quality education. It is an obstacle that can be overcome. Our schools have made this “miracle” (as Diane says) come true.” She is extremely active on twitter, and I engaged her in a conversation about this topic. I told her about our schools and she replied:

DianeRavitch: @SchoolsThatCan do it at a district level before boasting. You say that I’ll health, poor nutrition, drugs, homelessness don’t matter?”

When I told her about the districts schools in our network, I lost her attention.

Apparently these were not always her beliefs.

Kevin Carey at the The New Republic has just published a detailed account of “What happened when the education world’s most prominent intellectual switched sides.” He calls her “The Dissenter.”

Whitney Tilson blogged about this piece on his website. “This article by Kevin Carey is the most insightful, thoughtful [article] about Ravitch I’ve ever read (and I think I’ve read them all).” Read more of Tilson’s response.

Both Kevin’s and Whitney’s pieces get pretty personal and even site a “vendetta against Joel Klein” as some of Ravitch’s motivation. If she’s ever confused you, you can now get a hefty scoop of analysis for her behavior.

Although these articles take great pains to address everything à la Ravitch, I think the best response to her claims is proving her wrong through results. I am proud to be part of a network involved in education reform through action. Thank you to all of our dedicated school leaders, teachers, and faculty members committed to providing quality educations to all students, no matter how much money their parents make.

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