I tuned into the National Assessment of Education Progress’s “webinar” announcing the latest history results mostly because I wanted to hear educational historian Diane Ravitch’s comments.
For years I’ve admired Ms. Ravitch’s trenchant critiques of American education for years; more recently I’ve puzzled over her assault on testing and educational choice. Much of what she has to say still resonates with me, especially her continued insistence that students master content as well as process. But I no longer find her arguments internally consistent. I’m dismayed, too, that she has become such a staunch defender of the public school status quo.
Ms. Ravitch’s webinar comments reminded me both of why I’ve so enjoyed her work, and why I no longer find her entirely persuasive.
But before I talk about this – and in the interests of full disclosure – I wanted to post a link to my review of her most recent book, The Death and Life of the Great American School System. This appeared last summer in the magazine First Things.