Friday, March 15, 2013
Ravitch Exposes Reform Myths
To summarize, Ravitch used the latest educational research findings to point out that (1) vouchers have never improved education, and in the longest running voucher program in Milwaukee have actually resulted in substandard results (2) Charter schools generally perform worse than average pubic schools and are creating chaos in school systems all over the country (3) Closing schools in poor communities has become an epidemic that dislocates and damages the education of at risk students (4) Virtual charter schools are the worst performing schools in the country and are draining public school systems of vital funding while making their owners rich. (5) Evaluating teachers using student test scores is not educationally sound and is based on junk science. (6) Merit pay for teachers has never been proven to work in almost 100 years of testing. The most recent major research study of merit pay in Nashville where teachers were given extra pay of up to 12 thousand dollars to raise student scores showed absolutely no results when compared to a control group that got no merit pay.
Ravitch also disputed the current assumption by reformers and some news media that educational achievement has declined in our country. She gave statistics showing that American students on average perform much better than they did years ago. Ravitch pointed out however that high poverty students are struggling in this country just as they are in all other countries. The major problem for the US and particularly for Louisiana is that we have a much larger proportion of high poverty students than other industrialized countries. The reforms we have instituted will be more harmful than good for those at risk students she asserted.
All of the above so called reforms have been launched recently in Louisiana by the Jindal and White reform laws with the approval of BESE. Ravitch concluded by warning the overflow audience of educators and business leaders that Louisiana is on the wrong path in education reform and that if continued it will result in the destruction of our public school system!
After the Ravitch expose' of the Jindal and BESE reforms, a flustered Chas Roemer was left to claim that no matter what, parents in Louisiana deserved a "choice" about how their children should be educated. He tried to claim that there had been some successes in the New Orleans Recovery district but was called down by audience members who pointed out that Roemer was quoting erroneous and misleading data on the RSD.
Later Ravitch met in a town hall meeting with enthusiastic teachers where she encouraged teachers to take charge of their own destinies by getting involved in the legislative process and insisting that Louisiana legislators start listening to the real experts in eduction, the classroom teachers. She said that the initial undue influence of the wealthy power brokers who have bought our politicians can be reversed by the great potential people power of teachers, parents and friends they can claim as allies. But Ravitch warned that positive changes will not happen until large numbers of teachers realize that they must become politically active. That's why Ravitch and other teacher leaders are forming a national group to encourage the support of pro public education candidates for public office. It is called The network for Public Education, and you can join by going to the following website: http://www.networkforpubliceducation.org
That's also why you should sign up for my Defenders of Public Education data base. Just send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and give me your name, the names of your state senator and representative and your preferred email address. Soon I will start sending you emails describing important education issues before the legislature. You can then make contact with your legislators to ask that they support your position on these issues. Please make the commitment now to actively defend and promote effective education reform by signing up for the "Defenders" data base. It is free and confidential.
Posted by Michael Deshotels