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Thompson: Rejecting School Competition - But Not Choice?

ReignDiane Ravitch told NPR's Steve Inskeep that she doesn't believe in school choice.  She believes all students deserve an excellent education.

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.   


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Why is it that it has taken so long for people to understand this? Anyway, I have yet to see any policy implemented that will curtail choice. Just the opposite. So we know this yet we plod on..

I agree with Diane, why wouldn't a teacher or someone who truly cares about the students want them to have an excellent education . But maybe adding competition to the public schools is'nt a good idea . It will impose on the students freedom. Everychild is different and competing is'nt important to all of them. "a consumer product rather that a social and a public responsibility." Students, teachers, and the school system as a whole will feel threatened. Only the people who aggree with competition should be allowed to do so. Their should be more choice in schools today. If poor colored children are being left behind then who cares about the colored child? who is going to stand up for them and their wrong doings. Urban schools need more people like Ms.Ravitch who acctually cares about the students education and wellbeing . If their is no voice , noone to speak up then, how can we expect a change ?

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