“The Myth of Charter Schools” by Diane Ravitch

Did I already post this?  I can’t find it in the archives, so I’m posting it now.  I think Ravitch makes some really good points in this article (you may only be able to access it if you have a subscription to NY Review of Books… or if you’re on a campus computer).  http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2010/nov/11/myth-charter-schools/

Anyway, Ravitch puts into words many of the objections that popped into my head while watching The Lottery, as well as adding many complicating details to the story (as if there is one story) of charter schools .

Some thoughts….

Her section at the beginning asserting that our public schools aren’t that bad seemed to ignore the fact that they are bad for some sectors of society.  I guess she made that up later by writing about the effect of poverty on achievement.

It surprises me that she doesn’t attack the underlying assumption that test scores are a good way to measure the success of schools.  She almost gets to it when she’s promoting a well-rounded curriculum.  What if our students were never at the top in content knowledge compared to other countries?  Labaree asserts that our schools have always been designed to train hustlers, not scholars.  Hustlers are the ones who run the world, and the scholars work under them.  Who needs test scores when we train students to work the system?

But again, it is clear to me that the system fails SOME students.  At a minimum all students should learn how to read at an intermediate level, learn basic mathematics, understand enough about their government and history to be active citizens, and be smart consumers of scientific information.


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