The Beginning of the Post-Reform Era

Date: April 20, 2010

Dr. Diane Ravitch added velocity to the nation’s move to a post-reform era in her March 9 Wall Street Journal editorial Why I Changed My Mind About School Reform. For one of the nation’s most visible education pundits and former champion of market-based reforms to castigate America’s present course is game-changing.

Based on her recently published book, The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education, Ravitch withdraws her support for many of the accountability measures she helped build as an assistant secretary in the USDOE and later encouraged as a think-tanker.

While I (along with every school administrator in the country) agree with her condemnation of high-stakes testing as a nightmare, Ravitch’s opinion that our present course [is] “creating a private sector that will undermine public education without improving it” cannot go unchallenged. I believe the private sector can supplement the public education system without supplanting it, and offer the success of the students in our Ombudsman program as food for thought.

For more than 35 years, Ombudsman has worked within the public education system, operating under public school rules, at the will of its public school partners to improve the well-being of more than 125,000 public high school students.

In general, Ms. Ravitch is spot-on in many of her conclusions, and I hope that her essay helps usher in a post-reform era, where common sense and local control can regain the high ground. Ombudsman looks forward to continuing to partner with school systems in the new and better days ahead.

Categories: Alternative Education, News
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