Diane Ravitch, famous educator, turns againt No Child Left Behind, charter schools, teaching to the test and other threats facing the integrity of the public school system: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/03/education/03ravitch.html?em
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In the NY Times article, Arthur E. Levine said of Diane Ravitch: “Now for her to suddenly conclude that she’s been all wrong is extraordinary — and not very helpful.”
While it may seem disruptive and backwards for an influential education policy expert to change stances, I can’t imagine anything more useful and appropriate. Actually, it’s essential that experts, especially influential ones, appear to the public and their colleagues as independent, thinking beings capable of adapting their perspectives to current information and experiences. All too often, people in powerful political positions seem to mindlessly persevere with dogmatic devotion to movements that have lost both logic and relevance. How inspiring and encouraging then to see the opposite: a person once mired in the No Child nonsense listens to research and changes her mind. If there is any hope for systemic change, people from “the other side,” whatever side that may be, absolutely must be alive and present enough to change themselves. Plus, a turnabout is good publicity. If a once-major proponent of standardization admits she was wrong, it creates a valuable space for questions and possibilities. It also paves the way for other experts and policy makers to start afresh.
Wow Shannon, I didn’t catch that quote from the article. You’re right on, it’s terrible to think that influential people can’t change their minds upon viewing results. So much for the scientific method, right? Hearing Ravitch interviewed convinced me that her beliefs were sincere, and that she has no less conviction about her views now then before. The trouble is at least in part with Senator Kerry’s unfortunate “I was for it before I was against it” (actually completely logical in its context), which has made changing minds a “gotcha” game rather than an evolution of principle.