Thompson: Rejecting School Competition - But Not Choice?
Nowhere in the interview, Diane Ravitch Rebukes Education Activists' "Reign of Error," did she rebuke anyone else for his or her beliefs. However, Ravitch assailed the idea that competition, which has turned education into "a consumer product rather than a social and a public responsibility," is worthy value system for public schools. She attacked "reformers" for imposing that corporate value system on schools.
I have supported choice because school improvement is a team effort and we need people with all types of beliefs to particpate. If believers in choice want their own children to attend charters driven by competition, that is their own business. They have no right to impose that value system on everyone else. More importantly, choice has damaged poor children of color left behind in neighborhood schools by creating even more intense concentrations of extreme poverty and trauma.
We all should learn from Ravitch and own up to the harm that the proliferation of choice did to traditional urban schools. We should welcome Reign of Error because it promotes the solutions that are necessary in the inner city.
"Reformers" should have listened to the cries of urban students pleading for respectful and nurturing learning cultures. Instead, they offered the stone of competition. As Ravitch explains, they mandated a way of keeping score, high-stakes testing, which has warped our schools and warped our educational values.-JT(@drjohnthompson) Image via.